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Feature Stories

NEWS | April 13, 2020

Coalition delivers truckloads of supplies to combat COVID-19 in northeastern Syria

By Story by Spc. Christopher Estrada Special Operations Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve

SOUTHWEST ASIA –Amidst the growing threat of COVID-19, Coalition forces handed over hygiene and medical supplies to detention facilities across northeastern Syria during the week of April 13, 2020.

The supplies support the Syrian Democratic Forces’ (SDF) safety as they hold 10,000 Daesh detainees and protect the public.

Among a variety of supplies, handwashing stations with soap and water, disinfectant wipes, cloth face-covers and examination gloves were included.

Given the circumstances, staff at the detention facilities face an almost impossible task of applying precautionary measures to counter COVID-19. The supplies given to the SDF will help protect the guards at the facilities, who detain thousands of foreign terrorist fighters, which is one step of a larger plan to ensure guards and detainees are at a minimum risk of contracting the virus.

In addition to the supplies, SDF guards will receive further training in sanitation, infection prevention measures and the use of protective equipment in order to effectively protect themselves and mitigate the risk of the virus spreading through detention facilities in northeastern Syria.

Additionally, separating symptomatic individuals, frequently sanitizing detention spaces and preventing non-essential physical contact are also among the new procedures of the detention facilities.

“When we hand off any supplies or equipment to our partners, their capabilities to maintain security and keep populations safe and secure are strengthened,” said Lt. Col. Jennifer Smith, director of civil affairs for Special Operations Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve.

It is critical that the Coalition provides its partner forces with the necessary resources to improve their regional infrastructure that extends even beyond the threat of COVID-19. In an environment where Daesh will attempt to exploit any weaknesses in the detention facilities, the need to protect the overall population is paramount to preventing unrest within the area.

“Our partners in northeast Syria have their families and neighbors best interests in mind,” said Smith. “The Coalition’s coronavirus aid contribution will help them to stabilize the region through the pandemic.”

Despite COVID-19 and its impacts, the fight is not over. We remain committed to our partners to help ensure the enduring defeat of Daesh.

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