ANALYSIS: The real coronavirus disaster in Iran and Syria

Assad insists no coronavirus cases in Syria despite reports of major outbreak, hundreds of deaths.

Yochanan Visser ,

Bashar Al-Assad
Bashar Al-Assad
Reuters

With all eyes in Israel on the government’s attempts to contain the COVID-19 or Corona virus something extremely worrying is taken place in this regard in both Syria and Iran.

In Syria, dictator Bashar al-Assad is insisting no Corona cases have been discovered but reports by foreign media indicate otherwise.

Al-Jazeera, for example, reported that there are concerns of “a catastrophic outbreak” in Syria after Pakistan reported that some of its citizens returned from Syria infected with the virus.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, furthermore, reported Corona outbreaks in Tartous, Damascus, Homs and Latakia provinces.

“There are cases and deaths in Latakia but the state would not acknowledge," Al Jazeerah reported quoting a Syrian aid worker who lives in Latakia.

A Syrian physician living in Latakia confirmed the local hospitals were treating COVID-19 patients and then made the shocking statement that the hospitals don’t have any test-kits for determining the illness.

This also explains why the World Health Organization doesn’t receive governmental reports on the Syrian Corona outbreak.

Local Syrian media in the eastern Syrian province Deir ez-Zur, furthermore, reported that a number of non-Syrian citizens (Iranians and Iraqis) have been hospitalized after being falling ill due to the COVID-19 virus.

As a result of the spreading virus in eastern Syria the Israeli military reported a decrease in the activities of pro-Iranian militia in eastern Syria.

IDF Spokesperson Brig.-Gen. Hidai Zilberman reported on Monday that “there are enemy countries that have been hit much stronger than us by corona and therefore their activities have decreased,” in a reference to Syria and Iran.

A Syrian doctor in Damascus reported a case of Corona in a hospital in the Syrian capital and was promptly arrested by the regime after which he recanted his initial report.

Dr. Zaher Sahloul a Syrian physician living in the United States says that there are at least 2,470 Corona patients in Syria resulting in a staggering 427 deaths another indication the real number of infected Syrians is much higher than thought since the global death toll is less than three percent of all cases.

Sahloul compared the number of infected people (460) and deaths in the United Kingdom (6) to that in Syria and said that a death toll of 17.25 percent indicates a major outbreak.

Pundits point to the fact that the pro-Assad coalition has been bombing many hospitals to deprive rebels of medical care and suggest that Assad is deliberately denying the Corona outbreak to hurt the opposition’s ability to hold out against the advancing regime forces.

This is especially the case in the northwestern Idlib province where the population is predominantly Sunni Muslim and is at increased risk of getting infected by the disease due to the lack of medical services and hygiene.

Assad is in this respect copying the policy of the Iranian regime that is also lying about the scope of the Corona outbreak in Iran.

As of Sunday the regime of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reported 14,000 Corona cases and 724 deaths with 113 new victims in one day.

The Iranian opposition, however, puts the death toll at a staggering 5,500 an increase of 600 compared to the number it published on Sunday.

Among the deaths are a significant number of regime officials including the Iranian vice-president and two important advisers to Ayatollah Khamenei and a member of Iran’s religious assembly a body that advises on the appointment of a new Supreme Leader.

Iran has now declared unofficial martial law in the country and has deployed hundreds of thousands of members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps officially to contain the crisis and to test people on the Corona virus.

However Brig. Gen. Sholamreza Jalali the head of the Iranian Passive Defense Organisation, a regime body, admitted that the move is more related to the regime’s fear of another uprising this time over outrage of the handling of the Corona crisis.

“Beyond external threats, domestic threats such as riots, revolutions, coups, famines and pandemics can also endanger the security and stability of a state, causing its disintregration,” Jalali wrote on Twitter.

Iranian officials have been blunt over the regime’s failure to take appropriate measures to contain the crisis and especially criticized the authorities for not quarantining the city of Qom where the Corona outbreak began.

"We should have quarantined Qom from day one. ... This disease is not a joke, which is the way we are dealing with it... The economy and everything will be ruined; it is no joke. What would have happened if they shut down the country for 15 days? If we had done so on the first day, it would not have spread,” Massoud Pezeshkian an Iranian politician said.

CNN and the New York Times reported earlier, based on satellite images, that two large burial trenches recently dug at a cemetery outside Qom were discovered to bury corpses of Iranians who died of the Covid-19 virus.

The report about the burial trenches followed a report about piles of corpses in a morgue in Qom a holy city in Shiite Islam.




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