Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
News, March 2020
Calm in Syria, the UN Urges Cease-Fire to Suppress COVID-19, as Healthcare Facilities Have Been Destroyed or Degraded
March 24, 2020
UN urges Syria cease-fire to suppress COVID-19
UN special envoy for Syria appeals for immediate cease-fire as only way to suppress coronavirus in war-stricken country
The UN special envoy for Syria on Tuesday appealed for a "complete, immediate nationwide" cease-fire in Syria to enable all-out efforts to suppress the novel coronavirus in the war-torn country.
Geir Pedersen, in a statement on Monday from Geneva, acknowledged a call last week from UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for warring parties throughout the world to immediately halt all fighting to enable the "human family" to tackle its common enemy -- COVID-19.
"Today, I am appealing specifically for a complete, immediate nationwide ceasefire throughout Syria to enable an all-out-effort to suppress COVID-19 in Syria," said Pedersen.
He warned that Syrians were acutely vulnerable to the novel coronavirus, as healthcare facilities "have been destroyed or are degraded" due to conflict now in its ninth year.
"There is a shortage of key medical equipment and health professionals," he said, adding that many internally displaced people and refugees, as well as detainees and abductees, were living in hazardous conditions.
"I have real concerns for the impact on Syrian women, who are already at the forefront of existing health and community support systems," said Pedersen.
"This common threat knows no boundaries. It does not discriminate," he warned, adding: "It does not care whether you live in areas controlled by the Syrian government or other areas."
The way to confront danger is for Syria's "long-suffering people" to have a sustained period of calm throughout the country, respected by all parties.
"Recent cease-fire agreements have de-escalated violence in northeast and northwest Syria, and this is welcome," noted Pedersen, saying that these remained fragile and that renewed violence could erupt at any moment.
On March 5, Turkey and Russia agreed on a cease-fire to halt fighting in northeastern Syria.
"This would have dire implications for Syria and for the global response to COVID-19 at large."
For that reason, a long-called-for nationwide cease-fire is needed now more than ever, Pedersen said, citing UN Security Council Resolution 2254.
"It must be respected by all parties," he added.
On Nov. 29, the second round of Syria talks ended with failure to get an agenda by the regime and opposition groups.
Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011 when the regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests.
Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed, and more than 10 million others displaced, according to UN officials.
The virus that emerged in Wuhan, China, last December has spread to at least 169 countries and territories.
According to Johns Hopkins University's Coronavirus Resource Center, more than 396,000 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed worldwide, with over 17,250 deaths and over 103,000 recovered.
Turkish forces sustain human and material losses after entering a mine field south of Idlib
Syrian Observatory sources have confirmed the injury of two Turkish soldiers and damage of a military vehicle, after they had entered a mine field on frontline between factions positions and regime-held areas in Sfuhen town and the southern countryside of Idlib.
On the other hand, SOHR sources have reported that Turkish vehicles carrying logistical supplies arrived in the Turkish observation post in regime-held areas in Shir Maghar, west of Hama.
Iranian-backed militias boost their positions and deploy in areas captured in the “de-escalation zone” before recent ceasefire
Reliable sources have informed the Syrian Observatory that Iranian-backed militias boosted their positions nearby Saraqeb city in the eastern countryside of Idlib, the vicinity of Kafr Nubl city in south Idlib countryside and other positions in Jabal Al-Zawiyah.
According to SOHR sources, the Iranian-backed “313th” forces, which contain Syrian and non-Syrian fighters, are deployed in the vicity of Kafr Nubl. While in the vicinity of Saraqeb, the so-called “Al-Radawn forces”, which are fully affiliated to the Lebanese Hezbollah, are deployed with other Iraqi militias loyal to Iran.
On the other hand, Iranian militias boosted their positions nearby Jabal Shashaboo, north-west of Hama where the Iranian-backed militias of “Foug Al-Nabi Al-Akram forces” have been deployed.
Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) loyal militias brought in military reinforcement of Syrian and non-Syrian soldiers as well as heavy weapons to Al-Eis area in the southern countryside of Aleppo, fortifying their positions there. These militias have been also deployed in some new positions around the area.
Furthermore, Iraqi militias loyal to Iran brought in large military reinforcement of heavy gears and soldiers to their positions in Jabal Azzan in the southern countryside of Aleppo. They were also stationed in new positions. The Iranian militias’ training camps are concentrated recently in Hama military airbase, the area of “47th Brigade” in the southern countryside of Hama where the largest camp and the headquarters of IRGC operation room is located, the vicinity of Hama – Mahrada road, Tizin village in north-west Hama countryside, and Al-Shiha area in the northern countryside of Hama.
***Share the link of this article with your facebook friends
Fair Use Notice
This site contains copyrighted material the
use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright
owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance
understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic,
democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this
constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for
in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C.
Section 107, the material on this site is
distributed without profit to those
who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information
for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml.
If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of
your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the
Opinions expressed in various sections are the sole responsibility of their authors and they may not represent Al-Jazeerah & ccun.org.
email@example.com & firstname.lastname@example.org