Syrian Government Vows To Deliver Polio Vaccinations To Children

“Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad vowed on Monday that the government will deliver polio vaccination to children after fresh reports of infections in Syria emerged last week,” Xinhua reports. “Mekdad told reporters that the government does not hinder humanitarian aid efforts to reach different places within the country, adding that some aid organizations reported it was the armed rebels who hindered aid efforts and robbed supply convoys,” the news service writes (11/5). “The outbreak was confirmed as a previously planned immunization campaign was being launched to vaccinate 1.6 million children against polio, measles, mumps and rubella, in both government-controlled and contested areas of Syria,” Reuters notes, adding, “[Mekdad] did not say how the government, fighting a 2-1/2-year-old war with rebels battling to topple President Bashar al-Assad, could guarantee delivery of supplies” (Evans, 11/4).

In related news, Minister of Social Affairs Kindah al-Shammat said “on Sunday that jihadis from Pakistan … who have come to the country to wage jihad are responsible for the outbreak of polio in the rebel-controlled north,” the Associated Press/CBS News reports. “Also Sunday, the leader of the main Western-backed opposition group, the Syrian National Coalition, called on aid and medical supplies to be allowed into blockaded parts of the embattled country, particularly where contagious diseases were spreading,” the news service writes (11/3).