Civilians in Idlib struggle, ceasefire called to prepare for COVID-19

Syrian protests in front of a Turkish military vehicle Syrian protests in front of a Turkish military vehicle AFP

 13 April 2020

Access to electricity, water, and education has been stunted due to ongoing conflict, healthcare facilities demolished

The UN has called for a total ceasefire in Syria in order to combat COVID-19. Turkey and Russia agreed to a ceasefire earlier this month after nearly 1 million Syrians fled to the Turkish border. The agreement has been successful so far, but few Syrians have homes to return to, and those who do do not feel safe enough to do so. 

10,000 civilians have become the main victims of the Syrian regime and its Russian allies. The war and consequent sanctions have devastated Syria’s economy, leaving electricity, even for those in the middle class, out of reach. Access to water has also been stunted and schools and medical facilities have been shut down due to frequent bombs and airstrikes. 

"We are all suffering from lack of water, electricity — from a dangerous life," Etad Hadithi, a native of Idbib, told National Public Radio (NPR). Hadithi is a divorced mother of two. 

The conflict in Syria has displaced an estimated 12 million people over the course of almost 10 years; 6 million have fled the country, while the other half have fled to other areas internally. The population of Idlib, a town located in northwestern Syria, has nearly doubled over the course of the war as it has become the last urban area actively opposing President Bashar Assad's regime. This growth in population, as well as the destruction of many of the nation's healthcare facilities leaves people in Syria acutely vulnerable to the coronavirus pandemic.

"To confront this danger, the long-suffering Syrian people desperately need a sustained period of calm throughout the country respected by all parties," Geir Pederson, United Nations Special Envoy said in a statement. 


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Author: Teagan Foti; Editor: Noelle Musolino

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