UN Warns of Serious Cholera Threat in Syria

    Photo: Reuters

    The Facts

    • On Tues., the U.N. Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Syria, Imran Riza, expressed concern over an outbreak of cholera in the country, calling for urgent action to combat its spread.

    • More than 900 suspected cases have been reported and eight deaths were confirmed, with the outbreak being concentrated in the provinces of Aleppo and Deir al-Zour.

    The Spin

    Narrative A

    The WHO has been warning for years that contagious diseases are on the rise as a result of climate change. Climate-sensitive diseases like cholera will worsen as temperatures rise and extreme weather events increase in frequency. When these conditions collide in developing nations like Syria - which have little means to protect themselves - catastrophe can follow.

    Narrative B

    This cholera outbreak isn't related to climate change. It's a direct consequence of Turkey's seizing the Euphrates River's water as Ankara has turned Syria's water reserves into a swamp. By dropping the water level to a record low, Turkey has created the conditions for water contamination and now it's the Syrian people who are paying the price. This is a geopolitical issue.

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