Russian envoy calls for lifting of sanctions against Syria amid coronavirus pandemic

Russian Ambassador to Damascus Aleksandr Yefimov has called for the lifting of sanctions against Syria, stressing that the restrictive measures obstruct the war-ravaged Arab country’s fight against the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“Even though the national health care system has been severely affected as a result of the war and unjust Western sanctions, Syria has successfully mobilized all its potentials and resources to fight COVID-19,” Yefimov said in an exclusive interview with the Arabic service of Russia’s Sputnik news agency.

He noted that Syrian authorities quickly took preventive medical and administrative measures after the new coronavirus hit the country, and praised the sustained efforts by the Damascus government to ensure social and economic stability in the country despite the bans and other restrictive measures.

Yefimov then pointed to the close cooperation between Russia and Syria in the fight against coronavirus, stating that the spread of COVID-19 is under control in the Arab country and Moscow is considering additional medical aids to Syrians if need be.

He underlined that Russia and several other countries have called for the complete and immediate lifting of unilateral Western sanctions on Syria, stating that such measures undermine the capabilities of affected states to fight the spread of coronavirus.

The total number of confirmed cases in Syria stands at 33, according to the figures released by the health ministry, which also reported five cases of recovery and two deaths.

On April 8, Syrian Ambassador to Russia Riad Haddad said in an interview with TASS news agency that Damascus had asked the Russian Health Ministry for aid in order to combat the spread of COVID-19.

“Syria has addressed the Russian Health Ministry with a request to provide [the Arab country with] coronavirus detection equipment, as well as protection suits, testing and observation equipment… in order to help the Syrian nation overcome the coronavirus,” Haddad said then.

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