COVID-19: Bracing for a perfect storm in Idlib, Syria

People observe social distancing measures while waiting for a consultation at MSF’s mobile clinic, in an IDP camp in Northwest Syria.
Syria 2020 © Omar Haj Kadour/MSF
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As the war in Syria enters its tenth year, Idlib is currently the area most affected by the ongoing conflict. Intense bombing and shelling in the northwestern region of the country have uprooted almost one million people in the last four months, many of them now crowded along the Turkish border. Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) teams have adapted regular medical activities in Idlib province so that we can continue to help displaced people while also guarding against the threat of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. In this video, Cristian Reynders, MSF project coordinator for northwestern Syria, warns that medical humanitarian aid can only be part of the solution: “Everything that is recommended today … to slow down the spread of the virus cannot be implemented in Idlib. How do you ask people to stay at home? Where is their home?” MSF is calling on Turkish authorities to facilitate the urgent transit of essential supplies and access for staff into northwestern Syria to scale up in the face of this new emergency.