you Believe the official Figures, the Coronavirus Syria has reached only very late, and there is widespread hardly. Only on 23. March, the Syrian health Minister, Nizar Yazigi, reported a first confirmed infection on Syrian soil. It was a young woman of 20 years was a short time before from abroad, he said.

victims were not yet known, but that changed quickly: On Friday of last week (27.03) died in the 70 or so kilometers from the Iraqi border town of Deir Ez-Zor is officially a Syrian girl the consequences of the infection. In the meantime, the speech is out of ten Infected and two Corona-related deaths in the country, but no one knows how reliable such Figures are.

the media report on other casualties

The woman from Deir Ez-Zor was apparently not the only Person who came there infected with the Virus. A report by the usually well-with Israeli military and intelligence sources networked newspaper “Jerusalem Post” that were infected in the past week alone, in Deir Ez-Zor, a total of six people. Four of them were Iraqis, two Iranians.

in Addition, according to the newspaper, have called for the epidemic, more deaths, and although under the present Iranian militias. The sheet based on local sources from Syria, but an official and independent confirmation, it is also for this purpose, and will probably never will.

Coronavirus in the Wake of the Iranian militia?

Deir-Ez-Zor is considered to be the first point of contact for the on the Iraq-Syria entering the country, Iranian militiamen. It is to be feared that you will bring the Coronavirus now””, so that Iran, as one of the world’s most affected countries, the Virus exports in the Wake of its military support for President Bashar al-Assad unintentionally to Syria?

It is currently too early to make statements about the possible impact of Iranian forces on the course of the Corona epidemic in Syria, says André Bank, Syria expert at the GIGA Institute of middle East studies in Hamburg, DW. “It is striking how much Iranian forces in recent weeks and months in the Region of Deir Ez-Zor in the North-East, have spread. This correlates but – at least so far – not obviously noticeable, increased Corona-Numbers in the Region,” says the German expert.

As in many countries, it is also completely unclear how strong the officially reported infection numbers and the actual number of infected people differ from each other. Similarly, little is know so far about the infection numbers in and around Damascus, says André Bank. “There, the two Shi’i shrines of Sayyida Zainab and Sayyida Ruqqaya, attracting those traditionally pilgrims from Iran and Iraq are.”

Assad’s dependence on Iran

First protection measures against the pandemic, the Syrian state news Agency SANA had at 20. March to be announced. Thereupon, Restaurants, cafes and Parks as well as mosques were closed. Five days later, the government imposed in the areas under its control for the time of six o’clock in the evening until six o’clock in the morning a curfew.

But the epidemic is not the Assad Regime just before the medical problems. It is also a difficult political challenge. Because in order to obtain his Power, President Bashar al-Assad in years, dependent in addition to Russia, the government of that country, from the Corona epidemic to Syria threatens to invade: Iran.

for More flight connections between Iran and Syria

media reports suggest that Tehran Infected registered, regardless of the pandemic in the country (according to the Johns Hopkins University: 50.460, 3160 Dead, Stand: 2.4.) Flight connections to Syria maintains. The former “Guardian”Journalist David Hearst managed website and news Agency “Middle East Eye” is called here specifically for the airline, Mahan air. “Middle East Eye” relies on statements from anonymous of Western, with the war in Syria is dealt diplomats. On Board such flights militiamen fighting in Syria on the side of the Assad regime, were therefore still.

Also of many Western middle-East correspondents as a source used by the Internet magazine “Al-Monitor” reported from a continuing flight traffic between the two countries. “These flights out of Tehran and Qom to supply the Syrian Regime with money, fighters and many other, which helps the Regime to stay in Power”, quoted by “Al-Monitor,” the political analyst Phillip Smyth from the “Washington Institute for Near East Policy”. Without this support, he says, could not start the Syrian Regime has no serious Offensive operations, and especially not to hold out.” Citing reports from local residents of the Region, the magazine also reports on the ongoing Iran-entry Japanese-funded militias on the Iraqi border post of Al-Bukamal.

Iran’s interests in Syria

So difficult for such reports to independently verify, is Due to the continuing presence and cooperation with militias from Iran, which is considered to be a highly dangerous Corona-risk area, you risk the Assad government, the weaknesses in the country’s efforts to combat the Virus. The support of Iran, Assad is not in vain.

In return for military support, Iran is the only military permanently in Syria present. Iranian business people are also involved in real estate development in Syria, particularly in the lucrative locations of the cities. The contracts were a kind of “repayment” of the Syrian government to Iran, says US political analyst Smyth, an expert on Shia-Islamist militias in the Region, “Al-Monitor”.

That Assad could get out on his own from this dependence and from the Iranian involvement in Syria – if he did at all -is questionable. Iran has invested a lot in the Syrian war: money, weapons, people, life. Assad is Tehran’s need for military support – and especially its ground forces – also to combat his political opponents. Conversely, it could also afford the Iranian Regime to retreat from Syria, because this would throw back the years deliberately built up Iranian influence in the Region as a whole massively.

author: Kersten Knipp

*The post “Syria: Corona-the danger of the ran” published by Deutsche Welle. Contact with the executives here.

Deutsche Welle