The Syrian Opposition Coalition’s Department of Foreign Relations held two separate virtual meetings with the Belgian envoy Marc Otte, the Danish envoy Ivan Nielsen, and the Norwegian envoy Knut Lein to brief them on the development in the health conditions and the plan to prevent an outbreak of the coronavirus. The Department called on the envoys to help with the efforts to urge the World Health Organization to help expedite the implementation of the plan and meet the needs of the plan. Both sides also discussed the latest political developments in Syria.
The meetings came as part of the emergency response plan to prevent an outbreak of the coronavirus in Syria, especially in the liberated areas. The plan was developed with the help of the World Health Organization.
In view of WHO’s delay in meeting the needs to effectively implement the plan, the SOC is communicating with the United Nations and friendly states to press for expediting the steps necessary for the arrival of medical equipment to complete the implementation of the plan. The Ministry of Health in the Syrian Interim Government and the Assistance Coordination Unit (ACU) are following the implementation of the plan.
Participants in the meetings included SIG’s Minister of Health Dr. Maram Al-Sheikh, and ACU’s Head Muhammad Hasnou.
Al-Sheikh gave on overview of the health situation in the liberated areas and the Ministry’s continued testing of the suspected cases through its directorates. He indicated that the Ministry is conducting ten tests in one shift only due to the availability of only one functioning laboratory. ACU trained more technicians, which allowed the Ministry to increase work shifts and perform a larger number of tests.
For his part, ACU’s Head Hasnou talked about the Unit’s work in providing assistance, especially the testing equipment as well as the urgent, necessary needs for prevention and hygiene equipment.
Co-chairman of the Constitutional Committee, Hadi Al-Bahra, stressed the gravity of the situation in the event of an outbreak of the virus in the liberated areas. He criticized WHO’s double standards in dealing with the various regions in Syria as he stressed the need to give priority to the liberated areas in view of the overpopulation in these areas, the sprawling IDP camps, the impossibility of isolation, and the lack of health services due to the systematic attacks on medical facilities over the past years.
Participants in the meeting also focused on the need to expedite the work of the World Health Organization in implementing the plan and for close coordination with the Ministry of Health and health directorates in the liberated areas.
They called for stepping up humanitarian and relief aid, especially potable water, hygiene equipment, and food aid in light of the dire economic conditions resulting from the coronavirus crisis.
SOC’s Vice-president Dima Moussa called for continued pressure on the regime directly or through its backers to force it to release detainees in its prisons. She warned of the spread of the virus in detention centers and prisons, which will put the lives of detainees at serious risk in view of the absence of health care, preventive steps, and poor hygiene in the overcrowded cells.
Moussa stressed that the Assad regime is trying to exploit the coronavirus crisis to ensure the lifting of economic sanctions imposed on it. She made it clear that the sanctions targeted the economic sector associated with military operations and the violation of human rights while sparing the medical sector and humanitarian aid. She underscored that the SOC and the international community are keen on ensuring that this aid reaches all Syrians without distinction.
Moreover, SOC noted the success of the efforts of the UN Special Envoy to Syria to draw up an agenda for the next rounds of talks by the Constitutional Committee. They stressed that the representatives of the Syrian Negotiations Commission in the Committee are ready to resume the talks as soon as possible. They also stressed the importance of continuing to exert pressure the regime to engage in the political process and reach an inclusive political solution through the full implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2254 and the Geneva Communique of 2012. (Source: SOC’s Media Department)