The discovery of the first COVID-19 case in northwest Syria, the country’s last stronghold controlled by rebel groups fighting the country’s president, Bashar al Assad, has accelerated precautionary measures to prevent the rapid spread of the Virus in an environment in which humanitarian needs to date have been enormous due to the conflict and devaluation of the Syrian currency.
Around 2.6 million displaced people live in this region, which includes the province of Idlib and some areas of Aleppo, while 2.8 million people are already dependent on humanitarian aid to meet their basic needs for food and water, refuge and health and education.
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), “economic volatility continues to hamper resilience, which could potentially affect the total 4.1 million people you live in the northwest.”
Last year, the exchange rate of the Syrian pound against the dollar depreciated by 315 percent, and the local currency has only lost about half of its value since last May, when it reached more than 1,300 pounds per dollar to a high of 3,200 on August 8. June, which has now dropped to 2,300.