Local authorities say that cases of COVID-19 have increased alarmingly over the past month in Syria’s rebel-controlled northern region of Idlib.
Although cases of the virus had stabilized earlier this year, sometimes numbering fewer than 100 per day, local officials say contaminations have begun soaring again since mid-August.
On September 6, more than 1,500 new cases were recorded in one day across Idlib region, which borders Turkey and is home to more than three million people.
“We are witnessing a sudden and severe wave,” says Hossam Qara Mohammad, the doctor in charge of battling the pandemic for the ad hoc local administration.
The spike in COVID numbers comes roughly two weeks after Syrian refugees in Turkey were granted one-off permission to visit relatives in the Idlib enclave for the Eid al-Adha Muslim holiday a month ago.