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The Legal Dimensions of the Syrian Government Measures in Fighting the Corona Pandemic

Executive Summary:

The Syrian government has taken various measures to fight the Corona (Covid-19) pandemic, including enforcing quarantine over people returning from abroad in non-suitable places. They did not stick to the necessary quarantine period in certain cases, they also made exceptions for people who had powerful connections, while prosecuting others for daring to protest the terrible quarantine conditions. 

The Syrian authorities also prevented hundreds of travelling citizens from returning home and left them stuck for days at the free zone (the dividing area between Syria and Lebanon) where they lived out in the open, and when some of them managed to enter Syria illegally through smuggling routes, the Syrian authorities purposefully hunted them down and arrested them

According to multiple testimonies from healthcare workers, the Syrian government did not adhere to providing personal protective equipment to the medical staff who are fighting the pandemic, which led to many deaths among doctors and patients.

In addition to that, the Syrian government did not enforce any restrictions of movement or mobility over the pro-government foreign militias, who exist within the country. The government did not even force them to commit to general protective measures. These militias continued to bring in members across the border from countries where the Covid-19 infection rates were high, such as Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon. At the same time, multiple news reports showed the continuous arrival of military support for the governmental forces towards the governorates of Daraa and Edlib. 

Although the Syrian government announced a night curfew in the areas under its control, from 6 p.m. until 6 a.m. and starting on the 25th of March to the 26th of May, the procedures set for the citizens to get their sustaining necessities, including bread and monthly provisions, like food coupons and gas has created big areas of crowding which facilitates the spread of infection, and that negates the purpose of the curfew in the first place.

Also, the government’s decisions were discriminatory in certain cases, as when the Ministry of Internal Affairs enforced the curfew to prevent the spread of Coronavirus, they set an exception in the 7th clause “to facilitate the passage of those carrying permits from the central leadership of The Arab Socialist Baʽath Party”, despite the elimination of Article 8 in the previous constitution which had established The Arab Socialist Baʽath Party as the “leading party in the society and the state,” for nearly 10 years. 

Information derived from Syria and neighbouring countries, who extracted their citizens out of Syria, shows that the Syrian government doesn’t announce the true statistics concerning the infection rates of the Corona pandemic (Covid-19), as it has been confirmed that many foreigners returning home from Syria were found to have the virus. The Syrian government did not follow the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO) to limit the spread of the pandemic, in addition to medical negligence of the infected and not providing them with sufficient healthcare. As of the end of July 2020, the Syrian government has registered the death of at least 43 people out of 780 positive cases of Coronavirus.

Full report is below: