Covid-19: Tool of Conflict or Opportunity for Local Peace in Northwest Syria?
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Despite early mitigation measures and a proactive stance, opposition governance institutions used the Covid-19 crisis as a political tool at the expense of relief. The opposition Syrian Interim government in northern Aleppo and Salvation government in Idlib governorate competed to manage the Covid-file in opposition-held areas in an attempt to secure international recognition and gain legitimacy. The two opposition government bodies lobbied key partners of the international community in northwest Syria, such as the Idlib Health Directorate and the Syrian American Medical Society, to promote their own agenda. The Syrian Interim government played on its strong ties with Turkey to claim political legitimacy, access to medical supplies and distribution capacity. The Salvation government used a humanitarian argument, namely the high number of vulnerable communities hosted in Idlib governorate, most of them inside internally displaced persons (IDP) camps. Opposition governments are not trusted as key actors capable of handling Covid-19. Strained state-society relations and mistrust pre-existed the Covid-19 pandemic in northwest Syria. Indeed, governmental actors across Syria and their military arms are also key conflict actors, and their reputation was recurrently and generally damaged by their lack of governmental capabilities, latent corruption, and involvement in violent policies. More than half of the respondents interviewed put little to no trust in the Syrian Interim and Salvation governments.
CitationBeaujouan, J. (2021) 'Covid-19: Tool of Conflict or Opportunity for Local Peace in Northwest Syria?', Research Report, Edinburgh: Political Settlements Research Programme (PSRP)
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- Conflict