dpa/GNA – Members of Syria’s opposition, on Tuesday questioned Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s coronavirus infection and said the announcement is a way to distract people from their economic woes.
A statement released by the presidency on Monday said that al-Assad and his wife Asma had tested positive for the coronavirus, but were in good health.
Al-Assad is “trying to gain the sympathy of the people,” Hadi al-Bahra, co-chair of the opposition Syrian Constitutional Committee, told dpa.
The aim is to “create a story that keeps people busy, instead of them talking about the harsh living conditions due to the bad economic situation and the corruption,” he added.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, citing sources close to decision makers in Syria, said the announcement was made to try “to distract people” amid economic collapse and extreme poverty.
Syrians have been facing economic hardship and lack of resources. The situation has been compounded by Western sanctions on the government, as well as the coronavirus pandemic.
Moscow, a close ally of al-Assad, would offer medical assistance to al-Assad and his wife if they were to request it.
“I have no doubt, in case such requests would be made, that President (Vladimir) Putin would consider them immediately,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said according to Interfax.
Syria has been in crisis since peaceful pro-democracy protests in March 2011 evolved into a full-blown war.