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Syria regime quarantines entire eastern village over coronavirus outbreak Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Syria regime quarantines entire eastern village over coronavirus outbreak

Deir az-Zour is a stronghold of pro-Assad Iranian militias [Getty]

Date of publication: 30 March, 2020

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A village in Deir az-Zour has been quarantined due to the coronavirus.
A Syrian village in the country's east has been put under lockdown due to a suspected outbreak of the coronavirus in the area, activists have reported.

The town of Duwair, in Deir az-Zour province, has been completely cut off from the rest of Syria, after an elderly couple were found to have the coronavirus, monitoring site DeirEzzor24 reported on Monday.

Regime security forces sealed off entry and exit points to the town and imposed a media blackout about the reported coronavirus cases, the monitoring site said.

These two cases were not recorded in the official coronavirus tally of nine, which includes one death, the site added.

Activists have alleged that the regime is covering up an outbreak of the virus in the east, where Iranian militias have a strong presence.

Iran has one of the highest death tolls in the world due to the global coronavirus pandemic, which includes a number of Iranian Revolutionary Guards' Corps (IRGC) officers, who are active in Syria.

Omar Abu Layla, director of DeirEzzor24, said that the eastern Syrian province has been particularly hard hit by the virus due to the transit of Iranian fighters between Iran, Iraq and Syria.

"There is an unprecedented secrecy among the Assad regime about the number of cases of the disease in Deir az-Zour and this frightens civilians even in the (Kurdish and Arab tribal-controlled) areas east of the Euphrates," Abu Layla told The New Arab.

"The people in Deir az-Zour are in a state of fear and know that the Iranian militias are the ones who brought it there, especially as they are moving with ease between Iran, Iraq and Syria."

Syria recorded its first official case of the coronavirus on 22 March, who had reportedly entered Damascus via Lebanon.

Since then, Syria has recorded eight more cases with the first Covid-19 related death reported on Sunday.

The Syrian regime has enacted tought measures to deal with the crisis, including night-time curfews and cutting inter-city transport.

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