Three humanitarian workers injured in Syria's Al-Bab blast
Three humanitarian workers involved in anti-coronavirus efforts were injured in a lorry bomb blast in Al-Bab city, northwest Syria, on Tuesday, which an NGO said could further impede work in containing the deadly disease.
Syria Relief & Development, a non-profit humanitarian organisation, said the injured were part of a Covid-19 referral system, including a driver who is in a critical condition.
"It's so critical to direct our efforts toward Covid-19, and the tragedy is these brutal attacks only make the response even more challenging," Amany Qaddour, Regional Director of Syria Relief & Development (SRD), told The New Arab.
"Instead of communities and aid workers being protected from the threats of this invisible and invasive pandemic, they are forced to face another type of threat in the form of indiscriminate attacks on civilians."
The massive explosion killed at least 19 people, including five children, according to the Syrian Network for Human Rights, a UK-based monitor.
It was the second deadly attack to take place in Al-Bab over the past three days, after a checkpoint blast on Sunday killed two people.
It is not clear who carried out Tuesday's lorry bomb blast. While no group has claimed the attack, Turkish media said that investigators suspect Kurdish militants were responsible.
There are major concerns about the spread of Covid-19 in the region, which medical experts fear could lead to mass outbreaks, and deaths, in densely-populated Idlib and Aleppo camps.
Hospitals and clinics are experiencing shortages of staff and equipment, following years of airstrikes and shelling by Russian and regime forces.
An alarming World Vision report published last week noted that almost 100 new cases of Covid-19 are being reported daily in northwest Syria.
Al-Bab was re-captured by Syrian rebels in a Turkish-backed offensive against the Islamic State group in 2017.
It now forms part of a Turkish-Syrian opposition-controlled buffer zone, running along Syria's northwest border region.