Syrian government ‘prepares for virus second wave’



a group of people standing next to a man in a suit and tie: Experts say limited testing capacity has hidden the scale of the crisis in Syria


© Reuters
Experts say limited testing capacity has hidden the scale of the crisis in Syria

The Syrian government has set up a temporary hospital for Covid-19 patients at a Damascus sports complex in preparation for what an official said was a possible second wave.

The facility at Al-Faiha Stadium will operate 120 beds for people requiring oxygen, but has capacity for 100 more.

The health ministry has reported 4,774 cases of Covid-19 and 228 deaths in government-held areas since March.

However, experts believe the actual figures are significantly higher.

Last month, researchers in the UK estimated that only a fraction of deaths due to Covid-19 in Damascus had been reported for various reasons, including limited testing capacity.

The UN warned that community transmission was widespread, as almost 90% of new cases could not be traced to a known source; infection rates among health workers were rising; and shortages of

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The Zero-Sum Game of Syrian Politics

On September 28, 1961, Syrian military officers led by Abdul Karim al-Nahlawi altered the course of Syrian and Arab history. With a military coup, they ended the political union between Egypt and Syria known as the United Arab Republic (UAR). Enacted in early 1958, the UAR had been the first step towards the ultimate Arab nationalist dream: the unification of Arab countries into a single state after Ottoman occupation and European colonial division. The 1961 coup ended that dream on a practical level; never again would anyone seriously attempt to unite two major Arab countries. The move also upended the political consensus that had governed Syria since the earliest days after independence in 1946: the desire to create a pan-Arab state. But one other aspect of this coup lives on in Syria to this day, reflected in the political maneuverings that followed the coup.

The coup’s success was short-lived,

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