The Syrian Opposition Coalition’s (SOC) Department of Foreign Relations, in coordination with the Ministry of Health of the Syrian Interim Government and the Assistance Coordination Unit (ACU), held two separate meetings via video links with Erika Ferrer, Head of the EU Middle East Division, and the UN Special Envoy to Syria Geir Pedersen.
The meeting brought together the SOC’s Vice-President Dima Moussa, Coordinator of the Department of Foreign Relations Abdulahad Astepho, Co-chair of the Constitutional Committee Hadi Al-Bahra, Minister of Health, Maram Al-Sheikh, and ACU Head, Muhammad Hassnou.
Al-Sheikh talked about the health situation in the liberated areas and the Ministry’s continued running of tests of the suspected cases. He also talked about the ministry’s work to implement the plan agreed on with the World Health Organization.
ACU’s Head, Muhammad Hassnou gave an overview of the Unit’s work to secure the needs of the Ministry of Health and other sectors to stem the coronavirus and prevent its spread in the liberated areas.
For his part, Hadi Al-Bahra criticized the performance of the World Health Organization and its inconsistent response as it distributed aid related to the plan to confront the Covid-19 pandemic in the regime-held areas but delayed the delivery of aid to the liberated areas. He noted that the Assad regime continues to conceal the real numbers of cases in the areas under its control.
Al-Bahra pointed out that the number of civilians living in the regime-held areas is equal to those living in the liberated areas. He added that medical facilities in the liberated areas were subjected to violent attacks by the Assad regime and its backers that led to the destruction of the majority of these facilities.
Participants in the meeting underscored the need to ratchet up pressure on the regime directly or through its backers in order to force it to release detainees, especially as the conditions in detention centers risk a rapid spread of the coronavirus in the overcrowded prisons which lack healthcare.
Tabled for discussion was also the issue of economic sanctions on the regime. The SOC emphasized that these sanctions target the economic sector while sparing the medical sector and humanitarian aid as it stressed the importance of ensuring that humanitarian and medical aid reach all Syrians to confront the pandemic.
Participants stressed the importance of continued pressure on the Assad regime to force it to engage in the political process and allow the Constitutional Committee to 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)