‘Wash Our Hands? Some People Can’t Wash Their Kids for a Week’ (New York Times)
“Syrian doctors believe the virus has already swept into the camps, with deaths and illness that bear the hallmarks of the outbreak. But the international response has been slow to nonexistent, according to more than a dozen experts and Syrian medical professionals.”
Doctors in northwest Syria brace for ‘devastating’ coronavirus (Al-Monitor)
"Although no cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the country, health care workers reached by Al-Monitor on WhatsApp are gearing up for what they say is a likely catastrophe in war-torn Idlib province, the last swath of the country still in the hands of the opposition after nine years of war.”
With Cease-Fire in Place, Syrians Return for Belongings, but Not to Stay (New York Times)
“A few of the hundreds of thousands displaced by the fighting are trickling back. But few, if any, say they believe the quiet will last.”
Rocket attack in northwest Syria kills two Turkish soldiers (Al Jazeera English)
“The attack comes two weeks after Turkey and Russia - which support opposing sides in the Syrian conflict - agreed to a cease-fire in Idlib, halting a three-month air and ground campaign by the Syrian government in the rebel-held province.”
Trump asks Syrian government to ‘work with us’ to free journalist who disappeared (Washington Post)
"In a glimmer of hope for an American taken hostage in Syria more than seven years ago, President Trump said Thursday he is “working very hard with Syria” to free Austin Tice, a freelance journalist from Texas.
‘We’re doing the best we can,’ Trump said of Tice at a news briefing on the coronavirus pandemic. ‘So Syria, please work with us. And we would appreciate your letting him out. If you think about what we’ve done, we’ve gotten rid of the ISIS caliphate in Syria. We’ve done a lot for Syria. . . . So it would be very much appreciated if they would let Austin Tice out. Immediately.’
Syria’s Detainees Left Even More Vulnerable to Coronavirus (Human Rights Watch)
"The Syrian government maintains that there have been no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Syria thus far. But its neighbors have all reported cases and it is clear how catastrophic even one case in Syria’s overcrowded prisons would be.
The rest of the world is taking extensive precautionary measures to prevent the virus from spreading. The Syrian government itself announced a number of actions designed to be pre-emptive, but of course, those measures do not reach the most vulnerable.
This is why it falls to humanitarian organizations and United Nations agencies to urgently press for access to formal and informal detention facilities, to provide detainees with life-saving assistance. The Syrian government certainly won’t.