On May 19, at 15:00, the Valdai Discussion Club held an online discussion, titled “Combating COVID-19 in Conflict: The Syrian Experience”.
The largest global problem since the beginning of 2020 – COVID-19 – has placed states in a particularly vulnerable position in the territories where violent military conflicts continue, including Syria.
In early May, Syrian President Bashar Assad said that in the event of a sharp increase in the number of those infected, it cannot be ruled out that the situation would give way to a real catastrophe. Currently, about 50 cases of coronavirus infection have been recorded in Syria. However, the situation is complicated by a significant number of economic sanctions. Some sanctioning countries have made humanitarian exemptions for Syria from their restrictive measures. They concern only narrow segments of the economy and do not represent fundamental changes for the country. Due to the restrictions caused by the epidemic, the country's economy has suffered serious losses. Now these restrictions are gradually being removed, but the question of what lies ahead for the country remains open.
How different is Syria’s experience with coronavirus from those of other countries in the region? How critical are the role of sanctions and the oil embargo in the ability of the government and civil society to fight the epidemic? Can COVID-19 be a reason for reconciliation among the warring parties? What can Russia, foreign countries and international organisations do to help Syria? The participants of the round table answered these and other questions.
Philip Spoerri, Head of Delegation in Syria, International Committee of the Red Cross;
Gennady Gatilov, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations Office and Other International Organisations in Geneva, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation;
Alexander Aksenyonok, Vice President of the Russian International Affairs Council, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation;
Ali al-Ahmed, Syrian politician and public figure;
Fabrizzio Carboni, ICRC Regional Director of Operations for Middle East and North Africa region.
Ivan Timofeev, Programme Director, Valdai Discussion Club
Working languages: Russian, English.