Pakistan sent a plane-load of medical aid to the Syrian capital Damascus on Sunday, making it the largest shipment the country has received since the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis, according to Deputy Foreign Minister Dr Faisal Mikdad in a statement to Syrian state-run SANA news agency and reported by MEMO (Middle East Monitor). 

The aid arrived at Damascus International Airport and included medicines and medical equipment and supplies. The shipment was accompanied by a number of Pakistani officials who were received by Mikdad. The official thanked the leadership and people of Pakistan for supporting Syria not only during a difficult health crisis but in joint action against terrorism, the agency reported.

Current official statistics place the number of confirmed coronavirus cases at almost 6,000 with just over 300 reported deaths.

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Pakistani Ambassador to Damascus, Saeed Mohammed Khan, said that his country had agreed to send medical aid weighing 25 tonnes to help Syria’s health sector confront the pandemic. He noted that the aid includes personal protection materials and will be distributed to hospitals and the concerned authorities operating under the Ministry of Health.

Deputy Minister of Health, Ahmad Khleifawi, also stressed the importance of this aid to support Syria’s health sector which had suffered throughout the years of war and continues to be affected by foreign imposed sanctions that prevent the arrival of many medical materials and equipment. 

Despite efforts by some nations to isolate Syria diplomatically and pressure Pakistan to take a stance against Damascus, Islamabad has maintained relations with the Syrian Arab Republic and several citizens work and live there.

Last month, Pakistani and Syrian officials in Islamabad reportedly considered launching direct flights between the two countries.