Geir Pedersen, the UN envoy to Syria, called for an immediate ceasefire to counter the coronavirus, appealing to the international community to assist Syrians in all regions to fight the virus.
Given large scale population movements, dangerously cramped conditions in multiple camps for the internally displaced, informal settlements, and places of detention, he voiced concern that “Syria is at high risk of being unable to contain the pandemic”.
Moreover, weak or absent governance, a hollowed-out health system, and shortages of health professionals, medical equipment and supplies, only add to the crisis, Pedersen said, in a briefing to the United Nations Security Council on television.
Mr. Pedersen expressed his readiness to work with the Syrian Government, the opposition, all relevant players on the ground, and key countries with influence, to support a scaling-up of action in a bid to ensure the ceasefire holds.
“It will not be easy, and there are no guarantees”, he said, “but the Syrian people desperately need everyone to focus on their welfare now”.
He closed with the hope that if key players engage with UN appeals, everyone can “work urgently in a common effort”.
“This, in turn, would definitely help in the effort on the political track to implement Security Council resolution 2254”, which calls for a ceasefire and political settlement in Syria”.
“I am convinced this is the only way forward”, he concluded.