MSF flies coronavirus supplies to Syria via Iraq as UN halts pandemic funding

MSF flies coronavirus supplies to Syria via Iraq as UN halts pandemic funding
Two planes filled with coronavirus supplies landed in Iraq and will make their way to northeast Syria despite cuts in funding from the United Nations.
2 min read
14 May, 2020
Syria is battling coronavirus [Getty]

In the past week, two charter planes have been flown to Iraq, bringing tonnes of essential medical supplies to Medecins sans Frontiere staff in support of coronavirus response in northeast Syria.

Two flights landed in Erbil International Airport, Iraq, which were then shipped across the border to MSF staff following a 14 days quarantine period in Erbil.

“We are detailed to have shipped much needed supplies and personnel into the region.

“This will allow us to continue essential medical services and continue our support in the Covid-19 response in northeast Syria.

“We are very grateful for the facilitation and permissions from the Iraqi Kurdistan authorities,” MSF said in a statement.

MSF has been working in the region to respond to the Covid-19 outbreak in Al Hassakeh Governate and Al Hol camp.

To date, there have been five confirmed cases coronavirus patients with one fatality recorded in northeast Syria.

This comes as the United Nations decided to halt funding for pandemic relief in the region.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has been pressured by Russia to instruct UN relief agencies to stop funding programs by private charities transporting health services across the Iraqi border, Foreign Policy reports.

The United Nations informed the agencies a number of weeks ago that they could fund private charities working in opposition-controlled northeastern Syria as long as they were registered with the Syrian government in Damascus, Foreign Policy revealed.

This blow to funding comes amid concerns from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and aid agencies that coronavirus will have a "catastrophic impact" on the region's 2 million inhabitants.

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