Syrian opposition ‘government’ declares Al-Bab ‘disaster area’ amid coronavirus
The Syrian Interim Government, which operates in opposition-held areas of Syria has declared the city of Al-Bab in the north-west of the country to be a “disaster area” after a dramatic rise in coronavirus infections.
The Syrian regime announced on Sunday that three people have died due to the coronavirus in regime controlled areas of Syria, while the Kurdish Autonomous Administration in northeastern Syria said that two people had died in areas under its control.
The Syrian Interim Government’s Health Minister, Maram Al-Sheikh, said on Twitter that 460 people had been infected in Al-Bab so far. The city and its environs have a population of 400,000, who include refugees from elsewhere in Syria.
It is controlled by Turkish-allied Syrian militias.
Al-Maram added that the city “needs the efforts of good people” to cope with the coronavirus pandemic due to “a severe weakness” in the city’s healthcare capacities.
Much of Syria’s healthcare infrastructure has been destroyed in the country’s conflict, which began in 2011, and the regime and its ally Russia have carried out a systematic bombing campaign against medical facilities, killing many medical staff and forcing others to flee.
Three humanitarian workers involved in coronavirus relief efforts were injured in a deadly blast in Al-Bab last week, which killed 19 people.
Dr. Amany Qaddour, a regional director of Syria Relief and Development, told The New Arab last week, “These brutal attacks only make the [coronavirus] response even more challenging.”
15 new cases were recorded in Al-Bab on Sunday, and medical organizations have called for the city to be closed off.