Skip to main content

Syria's Kurdish-led region decries lack of international support in COVID-19 fight

Syria's northeast is left with little outside assistance to fight the coronavirus pandemic and requires much more international support.
Women hold stacks of bread as they walk along an empty street, as restrictions are imposed as measure to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Qamishli, Syria March 23, 2020. REUTERS/Rodi Said - RC2VPF9DRWOE

The Kurdish-led autonomous administration in northeast Syria has formally confirmed the area’s first death from the coronavirus while also taking aim at the cynical nature of the United Nations’ modus operandi, which prioritizes relations with national governments — sometimes at the expense of human lives.

In an April 17 statement, the health authority of the autonomous administration said a 53-year-old man had died in Qamishli National Hospital of COVID-19. But the fact that he had perished as a result of the global pandemic was news to the administration. A sample collected from the man was sent to Damascus on March 29. But it wasn’t until April 16 that local authorities in the northeast learned that he had tested positive for COVID-19. “Not by the World Health Organization, not by the Syrian government. We were [rather] informed of this by a [nongovernmental organization (NGO)] that operates in our region,” an official from the autonomous administration, speaking not for attribution, told Al-Monitor. “Can you imagine?” added the official.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.