A webinar hosted by Refugees International and Columbia University on Wednesday, April 8 featured Sinam Mohamad, Co-Chief of the US Mission of the Syrian Democratic Council, and Bayan Sami Rahman, the KRG Representative to the United States. In the webinar, the two top diplomats to the United States discussed coordination between the two regions, the Kurdish Regional Government in Iraq and North and East Syria, in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. A very dangerous situation exists in the densely-populated refugee camps and facilities throughout the AANES region of Syria and the KRG region of Iraq.

Mohamad discussed the AANES Health Commission’s response to Coronavirus, the tremendous threat to refugees due to the pandemic, the lack of health preparedness in the AANES region due to nine years of war and instability, the WHO’s dismissal of AANES requests for assistance, and the closing of the UN border crossing at Al-Yaroubia. Mohamad called for borders to be opened with the appropriate health screenings in effect, to ease the suffering of the people.

The webinar, titled “COVID-19: A New Threat to Kurds in Syria and Iraq and a Way Forward,” was broadcast to advocates and government officials working on refugee and Middle East issues all over the world.