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First barrel bombs, now coronavirus: doctors in Syria's Idlib hit hard by outbreak

Doctors working in already short-staffed hospitals are struggling with a flare-up of new cases in the country's last rebel stronghold.
A Syrian doctor, on her own initiative, instructs children how to properly wear a mask during the novel coronavirus pandemic crisis, in the displacement camp of Janid near the town of Dana, east of the Turkish-Syrian border in the northwestern Idlib province, on July 26, 2020. (Photo by Ibrahim YASOUF / AFP) (Photo by IBRAHIM YASOUF/AFP via Getty Images)

Nasser al-Mefleh, a pediatric surgeon in Idlib province, knows the risks that come with working as a health care provider in northwest Syria where hospitals like his are favorite targets of the regime’s warplanes. COVID-19, he says, is just the latest hazard.

Mefleh tested positive for the coronavirus July 10 after several days of flu-like symptoms. He believes he contracted the virus during his shift at Bab al-Hawa hospital near the border with Turkey in northern Syria.

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