Minister of Social Affairs Kindah al-Shammat said on Sunday that militants from Pakistan were to blame.
Al-Shammat added, “The virus originates in Pakistan and has been brought to Syria by the militants who come from Pakistan.”
Pakistan is one of three countries where polio remains endemic.
Al-Shammat said the government has launched an immunization campaign to “protect all children in Syria.”
However, the presence of different terrorist groups in the northern areas along Turkey border puts obstacles in the way of the vaccination campaign.
Last week, the United Nations health agency confirmed 10 polio cases in northeast Syria, the first confirmed outbreak of the disease in the country in 14 years, raising a risk of spreading across the region. The confirmed cases are among babies and toddlers, all under 2, who were “under-immunized,” according to the World Health Organization. The agency is awaiting lab results on another 12 cases showing polio symptoms.
Thousands of foreign terrorists have joined militants in the war against Syrian government.
The Syrian war has triggered a humanitarian crisis on a massive scale, driving nearly 7 million people from their homes and destroying a country that once offered subsidized health care, including immunizations.
Nearly all Syrian children were vaccinated against polio before the conflict began more than 2 1/2 years ago.
The polio virus, a highly contagious disease, usually infects children in unsanitary conditions through the consumption of food or liquid contaminated with feces. It attacks the nerves and can kill or paralyze, and can spread widely and unnoticed before it starts crippling children. The disease was last reported in Syria in 1999.