The aid sent to Syria's earthquake victims by Iran and its proxy in Lebanon, Hizbullah, has been highly selective, according to some observers.
They said the aid serves to support Iran's overall objective -- to benefit financially and militarily from the war-torn country -- and that it is more of a propaganda campaign than a humanitarian initiative.
Following the deadly February 6 quakes, Hizbullah on February 12 dispatched a convoy of 25 trucks containing humanitarian aid to Latakia province, a stronghold of the family of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The aid was sent to this area as part of Hizbullah's "Rahma" (Compassion) aid campaign to provide relief to the Syrian people in coping with the catastrophe.
But Hizbullah sent no aid to the hard-hit opposition-held areas.
"This is the moment of support, the moment of assistance," senior Hizbullah official Hashem Safieddine told reporters in Beirut.
Regime areas come first
"When a humanitarian disaster occurs, the international community acts in full sympathy, just as it is doing in response to the catastrophe in Türkiye and Syria," former Lebanese MP Misbah al-Ahdab told Al-Mashareq.
Iran and Hizbullah showed favouritism with their aid for the areas controlled by the regime and its allies, he said.
They acted based on the continuous co-operation they have with the Syrian regime, not on the humanitarian needs caused by the earthquake, he added.
Hizbullah and Iran "are working based on their interests to keep al-Assad's regime in power, which explains why they are providing aid only to regime areas", al-Ahdab said.
A Hizbullah official told Lebanon's Al-Modon news outlet that the Iran-backed party does not recognise the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act of 2019 (Caesar Act), which is designed to hold al-Assad to account for war crimes against the people of Syria.
"We are disregarding the Caesar Act in front of everyone's eyes to help the brotherly Syrian people," the official said.
But this statement is meaningless, al-Ahdab said, as the United States suspended the Caesar Act sanctions for 180 days to allow the delivery of aid to all areas affected by the earthquake.
The Iranian regime and Hizbullah do not care about the suffering of Syrians, particularly of those who oppose their policies and ideology, Lebanese Centre for Research and Consulting director Hassan Qutb said.
"Iran and Hizbullah overlooked the Syrian regime's role in destroying Syrian cities and villages, displacing people, and destroying the infrastructure, including hospitals, which no longer exist to deal with the repercussions of the earthquake," he noted.
Iran and Hizbullah's highly publicised rush to help quake-stricken Syrians "is a propaganda campaign" rather than a "humanitarian initiative", said journalist and Assembly for Sovereignty movement co-ordinator Naufal Daou.
Iran and Hizbullah have not sent any assistance to affected Syrians in opposition areas, he told Al-Mashareq, as they have contributed to the destruction of those areas, especially Aleppo and northern Syria, and to the killing of their residents.
The earthquake revealed that what truly matters to Iran and its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is achieving military, political or material gains, said Iranian affairs analyst Fathi al-Sayed.
According to al-Sayed, who works for the Middle East Centre for Regional and Strategic Studies, the IRGC has exposed its inability to take any real steps to help the Syrian people.
"The IRGC acted as if nothing was happening, did not mobilise any elements to help affected people, and did not help volunteers remove the rubble to save those trapped under it," he said.
Iran's affiliates in Syria are "mere mercenaries fighting for money", he added.
The IRGC also has stolen the aid money meant for the public in natural disasters that have occurred in Iran, he said.
Mazen Zaki, director of the new media department at the Ibn Al-Walid Centre for Field Studies and Research, said the amount of Iranian aid sent to earthquake victims was exaggerated when announced in Syrian and Iranian state media.
The aid is "quite meagre", he said, adding that this not surprising as it shows Tehran is unable to provide more assistance because of the stifling corruption-beset economic crisis it is going through.