SYRIA: Lack of coronavirus coordination between Autonomous Administration and Damascus putting people’s lives at risk

NORTH AND EAST SYRIA – Since 23 March, the Democratic Autonomous Administration (DAA) in North and East Syria has taken several precautionary measures to fight the outbreak of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 epidemic, the most significant of which being a region-wide lockdown. However, the areas under the control of the Syrian government in Damascus have not instituted such serious measures, especially in the city of Hasakah, where many shops and clubs remained open.

Residents living near areas ruled by the regime complain about the chaos in the “governments’ security squares”, as members of the Syrian security forces moved about without being subjected to necessary medical screening.

“We hope for coordination between the [DAA] and the Syrian government whose members must be subjected to the necessary tests, otherwise, a disaster will take place,” said a resident of Hasakah to Hawar News Agency (ANHA). “The shops are open all the time in the Syrian government regions.”

Yesterday, the Syrian government made exceptions to its decree banning unnecessary travel between governorates and cities, allowing travel on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Flights between Damascus and Zalin (Qamishli) have also been allowed, an exception to the otherwise grounding of domestic air travel throughout the country. Moreover, several days ago, regime officials recently allowed dozens of passengers arriving in Zalin from Damascus to freely leave the airport without being tested or quarantined in exchange for bribes.

This recklessness, argue DAA officials, has endangered the lives of the region’s citizens.

To date, there have been 33 confirmed coronavirus cases in Syria according to the statements of the Syrian Ministry of Health. However, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) stated that the actual number of infected cases far exceeds the number declared and that the number of actual confirmed infected cases exceeds 70 cases.

The first reported death from COVID-19 in DAA administered areas was recorded today.