On Monday, the United Nations envoy to Syria, Geir Pedersen, called for an immediate ceasefire in Syria to fight Corona, and appealed to the international community to assist Syrians in all regions to fight the virus.
“Syria is at great risk to its ability to confront the virus, due to the massive population movements and serious overcrowding in camps for the displaced, places of detention, and weak or absent management in some areas,” Pedersen added, in a briefing to the UN Security Council via a television circuit.
He reiterated the calls of the United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, for an immediate and complete ceasefire throughout Syria.
He continued: “We need a sustainable period of calm that will be provided by a ceasefire; for cooperation to take place across all the interconnected lines of contact on all of Syria‘s territory. We need that now, not tomorrow.”
He stated that “Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, on March 5, reached an additional protocol for the memorandum of understanding on stabilizing the situation in the de-escalation zone in Idlib, northwestern Syria.”
And he added, “The two presidents agreed to stop all military operations on all contact lines inside the de-escalation zone in Idlib. Indeed, there has been a noticeable decrease in violence, especially air strikes and operations on the ground … Nevertheless, sporadic incidents from all sides continue.”
He added, “The two presidents also agreed to establish a security corridor along the international road M4, and to conduct joint Russian-Turkish patrols. The first and second patrols were conducted on March 15 and 23, but they did not include the entire region stipulated in the agreement, and there are clearly challenges Facing the creation of this security corridor. “
Pedersen appealed to all concerned parties “not to make the cessation of hostilities in northwestern Syria dependent on the implementation of this aspect of the agreement.”
He warned that “the threat of renewed violence still exists in northeast and northwestern Syria, and if that happens, the dangers facing civilians will multiply due to the epidemic. The virus will spread like wildfire, with catastrophic humanitarian, social and economic repercussions for the Syrian people.”
He appealed to the international community to “do what is necessary for all Syrians in all regions of Syria to obtain the equipment and resources necessary to fight the virus and treat patients.”
As of Monday evening, the Syrian regime had recorded 10 cases of the virus, one of whom had died.
“The Corona outbreak prevents the Syrians from being invited to meet in Geneva today (as part of efforts for a political solution),” Pedersen said.
He continued: “After lengthy consultations, The Co-Chair nominated by the Syrian Government and the co-chair nominated by the Syrian (Opposition) Negotiating Body agreed to the following agenda: The mandate of the Constitutional Committee, the reference standards, and the basic elements of the committee’s internal regulations, and a discussion of national foundations and principles.”