Europe facilitates giving Syria aid to combat Coronavirus and upholds sanctions

On Tuesday, the European Commission issued detailed guidance to member states and donor parties, explaining how to deliver aid related to Covid-19 to Syria, despite the sanctions imposed on that country.

This is the first directive of its kind that is supposed to help countries, non-governmental bodies and humanitarian workers to deliver aid to face the pandemic without violating the European sanctions imposed on the country since 2011.

The Commission hopes that the directions containing legal and practical details will help facilitate and expedite the delivery of medical equipment to help Syria cope with the epidemic.

The executive branch does not see any contradiction between continuing to impose sanctions on Syria, and the delivery of medical aid and equipment to it to confront Covid-19.

Commenting on these directives, the European Union’s High Representative for Security and Foreign Policy, Josep Borrell, stressed that sanctions should not stand in the way of delivering the equipment and materials needed to tackle Corona as a global epidemic.

He noted in a statement in this regard: “The sanctions imposed by Europe include humanitarian exceptions and respect international law, we must provide assistance in a timely manner to avoid any negative impact on civilians who pay the price of conflict”.

Nevertheless, Brussels continues to defend the sanctions imposed on Syria, considering that it is directed against specific people and aims to push towards peace in this country.

For its part, the Syrian authorities condemn these European sanctions, describing them as “unfair”, which prevents Damascus from working to address the Coronavirus epidemic in an optimal way.

It is noteworthy that the number of cases and deaths declared by the Coronavirus epidemic is still limited in Syria, despite differing accounts regarding the numbers between the government in Damascus and the opposition parties.