Poisoned medicine in Rojava leaves four dead

A poisoned medicine caused the death of four civilians, including two children, and put nearly 12 people in critical condition in two cities of Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava).

HASAKA, Syrian Kurdistan (Kurdistan24) – On Monday, a poisoned medicine caused the death of four civilians, including two children, and put nearly 12 people in critical conditions in two cities of Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava).

The Kurdistan24 news team in Hasaka and Qamishlo have visited the public hospitals in both cities and gained initial information on the controversial medicine.

“The medicine known as ROZ-CEF is an antibiotic produced by a Turkish company, but it is imported to the Kurdish areas in northeastern Syria and distributed to most pharmacies illegally,” a source in the Hasaka Health Authority told Kurdistan24.

The source preferred to be unidentified until the health and security authorities release an official statement about the situation.

“ROZ-CEF is a good, well-known antibiotic, but the batch distributed recently is a counterfeit medicine which is sold in Hasaka and Qamishlo without health surveillance,” said the source.

In the public hospital of Aziziya in Hasaka city, Kurdistan24 learned that the said medicine is poisoned with light doses but packed in ROZ-CEF boxes and then sent to Rojava without being checked by the health and security authorities.

“There are 12 other people in critical situations because they used ROZ-CEF from the same poisoned or expired batch,” said a nurse in Aziziya hospital. She pointed out that many samples of the medicine were sent for testing, but results have not been received so far.

Ahmad Ali, a relative of one of the dead children, told Kurdistan24 that there should be tight security on the borders with Turkey because many smugglers import fake medicine to Rojava.

“We lost our child just because some traders and smugglers wanted to gain more money without caring about the lives of the civilians,” said Ali.     

Abdul Wahab, a pharmacist in Qamishlo, told Kurdistan24 that the medicine that caused the death of four people was expired. However, he revealed that the medicine was repacked and distributed with new dates of expiration that said 2018 instead.

“Before using any drug, there should be a sensitivity test, because some types of antibiotics have harmful effects, and may lead to death even if they are not expired,” Wahab said.

Up to the present moment, the concerned authorities in Hasaka and Qamishlo, including the health authority of both the Syrian government and the Rojava administration north of Syria, in addition to the Syrian Kurdish internal security (Asayish), could not be reached for comment.


Reporting by Hisham Arafat

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany and Ava Homa