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People join SDF due to curfew in Northeastern Syria; UNICEF warns of poverty danger on millions of children due to COVID-19

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Editing: Jaffar Al-aga |
TranslationEditor: Glory Jabr |
Translation: Muhammad Ghaith

Syria - SMART

The number of people joining the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) increased as the Kurdish Autonomous Administration extended the ongoing precautionary curfew for ten days to face coronavirus (COVID-19) in Northeastern Syria. Syrian government forces’ members received bribes from those who violated the curfew, neglecting international and regional warnings against the pandemic.

Autonomous Administration extends curfew in Northeastern Syria:

On Tuesday, the Kurdish Autonomous Administration extended the precautionary curfew imposed in the Autonomous Administration-controlled areas, Northeastern Syria, for additional ten days to face (COVIID-19).

The Autonomous Administration issued a statement saying that they decided to extend the curfew for ten days starting from April 22, 2020.

The statement added that the administration will allow pharmacies, groceries, butcheries, stalls, and vendors to work all over the curfew. The administration will allow exchanging money shops to open on Fridays and Tuesdays.

The decision allows workers of construction projects and industrial shops to work all over the curfew. The decision allows the farmers and workers to move under the condition that the number of workers does not exceed ten per truck. The decision forced work lords to provide medical face masks and gloves for the workers.

The number of people joining the SDF increased due to the ongoing precautionary curfew in the al-Raqqa governorate, Northeastern Syria.

Adel Joudi, official of the SDF’s Self-Defense Office stated to SMART that they received more than 450 recruitment applications by males and females over the last 20 days. Joudi noted that it is a large number compared to numbers before the curfew. 

Joudi added that the percentage of females reached 20 percent. Joudi said that the number of applicants is still increasing with the curfew against COVID-19. 

Civil Defense sterilizes 6,000 locations, Northern Syria. 

The Syrian Civil Defense has sterilized 6,463 locations in Northern Syria since the start of the sterilization campaign against COVID-19 on March 18, until April 18, 2020. 

The Civil Defense issued a statement saying that they sterilized displaced people’s camps for fear of the outbreak of COVID-19 in the overpopulated camps. About 2.5 million people live in 1,259 camps, including 250 random ones.

The statement added that the campaign included sterilizing 1,876 mosques, 1,323 schools, 501 medical centers, and 1,788 other locations such as  key infrastructure facilities and markets in Northwestern Syria.

75 teams from the Civil Defense in Aleppo, Idlib, Hama, and Latakia participated in the sterilization campaign. The teams received training on sterilizing against COVID-19.   

Syrian government forces members receive bribes from civilians: 

Residents of the Syrian government-controlled city of Aleppo, Northern Syria, complained that the Syrian government forces members receive bribes from civilians in return for not imposing fines on them for violating the curfew decision that the Syrian government imposed to face COVID-19.  

The residents reported to SMART that the Syrian government imposed fines on those who violate the curfew. The residents added that the fine reaches 50,000 Syrian pounds on men and 25,000 on women. 

The residents added that the Syrian government forces members accept bribes from civilians in return for not fining them. The residents noted that traffic policemen accept 2,000 or 5,000 SYP bribes in return for exempting violators from paying the fine. 

The residents added that quarantine affected their economic conditions due to suspended work, high prices of materials, and recession. The residents noted that they are forced to buy most of their needs from large malls despite high prices due to the lack of goods in mini shops.

Poverty threatens more children:

The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) warned that poverty threatens millions of childrens in the Middle East and North Africa due to precautionary procedures against COVID-19. 

Ted Chaiban, UNICEF regional director in the Middle East and North Africa, said in a statement issued in Amman on Monday, “The combination of lack or inadequate basic services, years of conflict in several parts of the region, poverty, deprivation and now COVID-19 are hitting vulnerable children the most, making their hard lives simply unbearable.” 

Ted added, “children were nearly half of an estimated eight million people who will be hurt by the loss of about 1.7 million jobs this year as a result of businesses closing, salaries being suspended and other effects of lockdowns in the region.”

“About 110 million children are now at home and not in schools in the region.” Ted said, adding, “It is evident that the pandemic is affecting children firsthand. Many families in the region are already becoming poorer due to the loss of jobs especially the daily-paid.”

Syria’s neighboring countries register 250 new cases of COVID-19:

The Turkish Health Ministry registered 123 new deaths from COVID-19, bringing the total of deaths to 2,140. 

The ministry issued a statement saying that they registered 4,674 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total of infected people to 90,980. The ministry noted that 1,454 infected people recovered, bringing the total of people who recovered to 13,980. 

On Monday, the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated to media outlets that Turkey plans a curfew campaign this weekend in a way that does not hinder food, medical, and agricultural productions. Erdogan noted that the curfew will start in 31 states for four days starting from April 23, 2020.

The Iranian News Agency quoted Kianoush Jahanpour, the spokesperson for Iran's Health Ministry as saying that the total of new cases of COVID-19 reached 1,297 over the past 24 hours. Jahanpour added that the total of infected people increased to 84,802, including 3,357 critical cases.

The Iraqi Health Ministry issued a statement saying that laboratories registered 35 new cases of COVID-19, 112 of them in al-Rusafa, 12 in al-Basra, eight in al-Muthanna, one in each of al-Najaf, al-Karkh, and Dhi-Qar.  

The statement added that the ministry did not register any deaths. 34 infected people recovered, bringing the total of infected people to 1,574, including 82 deaths and 1,043 cases of recovery. 

A source from the Jordanian Health Ministry reported to SMART that the ministry did not register any case of COVID-19 in Jordan on Monday, rather it registered eight cases of truck drivers coming through the border. The source added that three of the drivers are Jordanians and five foreigners.    

The source added that the total of infected people in Jordan reached 425. Six infected people recovered, bringing the total of people who recovered to 283. 

On Dec. 31, 2019, the novel coronavirus COVID-19 spread in the Chinese city of Wuhan. The virus has infected more than 2.5 million people until April 21, 2020  in more than 210 countries, about 172,000 of them died, and 660,000 recovered, according to the (Worldometer).

According to the latest statistics, death toll due to the virus around the world reached about 6.9 percent of recorded cases, while recoveries reached 26.3.

COVID-19 is an infectious disease, caused by SARS-CoV-2, that spreads from person-to-person and by respiratory droplets. These droplets fall on surrounding surfaces, so other people could be infected when they touch these surfaces by touching their eyes, noses, or mouths. People could be infected if they inhale droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes, so it is important to keep a one-meter distance (three feet) away from infected people.

Infection symptoms include body aches, blocked nose, sore throat, cough, and fever. The symptoms begin as mild and develop gradually. Some people become infected without showing any symptoms and without feeling ill. About 80% of infected people recover from the disease without any special treatment.