Zalin (Qamishli), ܒܝܬ ܙܠܝ̈ܢ – As the global COVID-19 pandemic spreads further over the world it harms the people in war and conflict zones most. In those regions there is a shortage of almost everything, especially medical facilities and medicines. In the Democratic Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (DAA) many people have been internally displaced since the Turkish invasion of the region. Border crossings are opened on an off and the regions water supply is being weaponized by the warring parties in Syria.
Aid organizations have much difficulty in getting aid into the region. As if the peoples in Syria have not had enough misery and sorrow to deal with in the past nine years of Syrian war. Syriac Medical Doctor Firat Maqdesi Elias in Zalin (Qamishli) already in October 2019 said to Voice of America that,
“Any further crisis will destroy us. What do NGOs and the U.N. give us? They give us zero.”
In Syria and its north-eastern DAA the country-wide and regional measures against the spread of the pandemic are hard on the citizens. The DAA’s health authorities last week appealed to the UN for immediate medical and sterilization supplies to the region. In Zalin (Qamishli) hospitals face severe shortages of sterilizers and medication to counter the spread of COVID-19. Medical doctors point to the urgent need for such materials and medication.
Dr. Firat Maqdesi Elias, who heads the al-Salam Hospital in Zalin, this week made a new urgent appeal to the UN World Health Organization (WHO) to provide aid to hospitals in the region to counter any outbreak of the coronavirus. In a statement to North Press Agency Dr. Firat Maqdesi Elias said:
“The war now is between medical staff and the coronavirus. The area has highly qualified medical staff, but it lacks equipment to face this epidemic. A doctor cannot face any medical problem without advanced equipment and devices, especially for coronavirus, which is known for its rapid spread and attack on the respiratory and immune systems.”
In related context, UN special envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen this week said in a Security Council Briefing on the situation in Syria;:
“We have arrived at another critical point in the Syrian conflict. After terrible violence, an uneasy calm prevails on the ground – and now, Syrians face a new potentially devastating threat in COVID-19… COVID-19 is an enormous threat to Syrians, and it demands a complete shift in mind-set from all, now… We need the kind of sustained period of calm that a nationwide ceasefire would ensure because we need cooperation to take place across the front-lines that riddle Syria’s territory – and this is needed not tomorrow, but now.”
“The Secretary-General appealed to warring parties throughout the world for an immediate ceasefire to enable the human family to tackle COVID-19. Further to this, I have made a specific appeal for a complete, immediate nationwide ceasefire throughout Syria to enable an all-out-effort to counter COVID-19, which is a grave danger to all Syrians. This is both a humanitarian and a political imperative.”