05/19/2020, 10.37
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WHO, Syrian minister: unjust US and EU sanctions hinder fight against Covid-19

At the annual assembly, Nizar Yazigi attacks the "inhuman blockade" imposed by the West on the Arab country. In addition to paralyzing economic and social life, sanctions have affected health care and he calls for removal. But Washington is ready to pass a law with even harsher targeted sanctions Assad and the government even harder.

Damascus (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The "coercive and unjust" western sanctions are hitting the country's health and territorial medicine, engaged in the hard fight to contain the new coronavirus pandemic and for this reason they must be removed. During the videoconference meeting of the member states of the World Health Organization (WHO), the Syrian health minister said yesterday that the nation has already been battered by nine years of conflict and could risk collapse.

“The economic sanctions which are coercive and unfair have been impeding the capacities of many essential services, in particular healthcare services,” Health Minister Nizar Yazigi told a virtual WHO annual assembly, referring to European Union and U.S. sanctions. “We call once more on the removal of these measures so we can ensure the health and safety of our citizens,” he added, calling the sanctions an “inhumane blockade”.

Christian personalities have appealed that the sanctions be lifted, to alleviate the suffering of the population. From the Maronite archbishop of Damascus who speaks of the country in an "abyss", to the apostolic vicar of Aleppo according to whom they are a "crime" that "suffocates the population", passing through a Christian doctor who considers them an "obstacle "in the fight against Covid -19” criticism multiplies. These voices also include Pope Francis himself, who in the Easter message asked that "international sanctions be loosened [...]", while not explicitly mentioning Syria and Iran.

Unlike many other Middle Eastern nations, including Iran and Turkey, Syria has so far not experienced a spike in new coronavirus infections. However, according to experts, the data is seriously underestimated. Official estimates speak of 58 infections and three official victims.

The appeal launched yesterday by the Syrian health minister to WHO seems destined to fall on deaf ears, especially overseas. In fact, in the next few weeks Washington is preparing to implement the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act, an even more punitive law that sanctions the Syrian government and President Bashar al-Assad himself for the (alleged) crimes against the Syrian people. The new norm is expected to come into effect in June and will affect anyone who will helps or collaborates with the leadership of the Arab country.

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