The United Nations on April 29 said that Syria desperately needs a ceasefire in order to enable its citizens to access equipment needed to fight the coronavirus outbreak. UN envoy for Syria, Geir O. Pedersen called for a ceasefire in the war-torn country via a video-teleconference. "We cannot afford hostilities which would surely lead to another surge in displaced vulnerable communities. We could not afford this scenario before the pandemic; the price could only be higher now," Gier told the Security Council.
According to reports, a bomb detonated in a crowded market on the country’s Turkish border in the north-western city of Afrin on April 28 killing 40 people. The governor of the neighbouring Turkish border province of Hatay said a fuel tanker rigged with a hand grenade exploded amidst the crowd. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the horrific incident and extended his "heartfelt condolences to the families of those who lost their lives."
The UN chief reiterated his call for a ceasefire in Syria in order to effectively combat the COVID-19 pandemic. The Regional Director of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Ted Chaiban said that 11 children were killed in the blast and many more were injured, adding that the death toll might be much higher than reported.
Meanwhile, the UN envoy told the Security Council that most parts of the country have been relatively quieter, pointing out that Russian-Turkish arrangements, including joint patrols, in the northwest, have made 'a positive difference on the ground' and that ceasefire arrangements between Moscow, Ankara, and Washington in the northeast also 'continue to broadly hold'. Geir also said that he is talking with all the stakeholders in the region to end the more than nine-year-old civil war.
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