On Tuesday, Dr. Jiwan Mustafa, co-chair of Health Board of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria, said that relations with the Syrian government to cope with coronavirus are “non-existent” so far. “There is no response from Damascus yet, and there is no cooperation in this regard,” he added.
Dr. Mustafa said that they asked the World Health Organization (WHO) to open channels of communication with the Syrian government to at least sterilize government centers, “but we have not received any response from Damascus.”
Concerning hiding the number of those affected with coronavirus by the Syrian government, Dr. Mustafa said that they do not have confirmed information about this matter, other than the information circulated in the media.
In a related context, Dr. Mustafa said that during the past few days, the Autonomous Administration demanded the WHO to provide it with medicines for cancer patients in its regions, especially for those who cannot travel to Damascus due to the closure of the crossings and the airport, but this has not been done so far either.
In a speech at a meeting of the United Nations Security Council on Monday, UN Special Envoy to Syria Geir Pedersen said that Syria would not be able to deter a coronavirus outbreak, calling on all parties to cease fighting.
“There is a great danger that Syria will not be able to deter the epidemic due to the displacement and difficult conditions in a number of IDP camps,” he added.
Pedersen pointed out that the administration in some Syrian regions is weak or does not exist at all, noting that the armed conflict, which lasted for years, destroyed the healthcare system.
In the areas of the Autonomous Administration, there are only 28 beds in the intensive care units (ICU) within all hospitals, and there are only two doctors who have been trained on how to deal with respiratory devices, which “will lead to a humanitarian disaster with the spread of the virus in light of the available capabilities,” according to a report by the International Rescue Committee (IRC).
However, the UN organizations and agencies deal only with the Syrian government in Damascus directly, which deprives the Autonomous Administration regions of various assistance.
Last Saturday, the Platform of Civil Society Institutions in northeastern Syria called on the WHO and relevant international organizations to provide support to the region to tackle the outbreak of coronavirus.
The platform, which includes dozens of civil organizations in northeastern Syria, launched a signature campaign and a call for solidarity with the efforts of the international bodies aimed at reducing the spread of coronavirus.
World Health Organization and relevant international organizations have called for the provision of COVID-19 detectors and the establishment of appropriate quarantine centers.