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Collapse of Syrian Society Makes the Case for Ending the Use of Sanctions

May 1, 2021 (EIRNS)—The collapse of Syria, brought on by U.S. policy to include economic sanctions intended to prevent economic reconstruction of the country, the looting of oil and wheat from eastern Syria and the stirring up of Kurdish separatism, is becoming more evident every day. Three developments reported in the last 24 hours show why the U.S. policy of regime change and economic sanctions is genocide and must be replaced by an entirely different paradigm of policy making, one that defends the value of each and every human life.

First, official news agency SANA, citing local sources, reports that the U.S. military took 10 truck loads of wheat from silos in the al-Yaarubiya area of Syria to Iraq on April 30 and 32 on April 29. That’s 42 more trucks of wheat that won’t be available to feed hungry Syrians.

Secondly, the U.K. charity Save the Children reported that the suicide rate among young people in northwestern Syria has skyrocketed. It documented a total of 246 suicides and 1,748 attempts. The suicide rate has risen dramatically, jumping by 86% from the first three months of last year, reported Al-Monitor. Among those who attempted suicide, 18% were between the ages of 16 and 20.

The spike in suicides comes as the region faces an unprecedented economic crisis that’s left 12.4 million Syrians food insecure, according to United Nations estimates. In addition to the stress caused by food and fuel shortages, Save the Children reports that the region’s war-torn communities are also suffering from high rates of domestic violence, child marriage, broken relationships, and bullying. “This is a desperately alarming situation,” Sonia Khush, the organization’s Syria response director, said in a statement. “After ten years of conflict, we are now seeing children resorting to taking their own lives.”

Thirdly, Al-Monitor wrote in a separate report that the COVID-19 pandemic is out of control in northeastern Syria. The International Rescue Committee warned this week that new cases in the region “are reaching the highest levels seen to date,” even after the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria imposed a 10-day curfew on April 13 to stave off a new wave of the virus. The region has recorded a total of 15,546 cases, but 5,300 of them came just in the month of April.

In the past seven days, 46% of coronavirus tests have come back positive in the Kurdish-held enclave bordering Turkey and Iraq. IRC warned the autonomous administration’s only COVID-19 testing lab could soon close due to a shortage of RNA extraction kits. This likely means that the actual number of cases is many times higher and like in so many other places, there’s no medical capacity to deal with the crisis. “Currently, 83% of patients who receive invasive ventilation in the region are not surviving and we fear that things will only get worse,” said Misty Buswell, Policy and Advocacy Director for the IRC in the Middle East and North Africa. “The health system is struggling to cope, and the situation is deteriorating extremely rapidly,” Buswell said.

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