Syria: Situation Report 3: Recent Developments in Northwestern Syria (as of 24 May 2019) - Syrian Arab Republic

HIGHLIGHTS

• Ongoing conflict in northwest Syria continues to impact civilians, civilian infrastructure, and humanitarian service provision in the deescalation zone of northern Hama, southern Idleb governorates, and the countryside of Aleppo.

• More than 200,000 people were displaced between 1 and 16 May, while 20 health facilities, three IDP settlements, and one refugee camp were reportedly affected by hostilities. This number is in addition to those people displaced prior to that date. There are unconfirmed local reports that up to 25 schools have been affected since the beginning of May.

• The humanitarian response is ongoing with tens of thousands of people being provided food, protection, nutrition, health, shelter, education and WASH services, while critical gaps remain across sectors.

200,000 Individuals recently displaced

70,000 School-aged children are in need of education support

33,575 individuals already assisted with NFI

84,524 individuals to be assisted in the coming weeks

3,485 Children under five and pregnant and lactating women reached with preventative nutrition intervention

8,155 Individuals reached with protection services from 14 to 20 May 137,216 people reached with WASH assistance

SITUATION OVERVIEW

Ongoing violence and hostilities continue to exact a heavy toll on civilians and civilian infrastructure in northwestern Syria. In the space of a little more than two weeks, more than 200,000 people are reported to have fled the conflict to seek safety. From 1 to 16 May, the majority of the newly displaced (173,000 people) fled to northern and eastern Idleb Governorate, while some 28,000 people fled to northern and western Aleppo Governorate. An estimated 90,000 individuals are currently in camps or receptions centers, while about 110,000 people are living outside camps. This brings the total number of displacements from northern Hama and southern Idleb to 239,647 individuals between 1 April and 16 May.

Many of the people fleeing are moving to areas that are already densely populated, such as Dana sub-district in Idleb Governorate, which received more than half of the newly displaced individuals. A large influx of people moved into areas with high numbers of existing IDPs, creating a risk of overwhelming already overstretched services. While several communities are reportedly abandoned, some residents have stayed behind in areas affected by the conflict.

According to a recently conducted REACH rapid needs assessment, safety and security concerns severely restricted freedom of movement while damage to civilian infrastructure prevented access to essential services. This exacerbates the vulnerability of communities, making the provision of humanitarian assistance in these areas even more critical.

On May 22, the Government of Syria and the Russian Federation announced the opening of two corridors for civilians to exit the demilitarization zone in Idleb: One in Souran in Hama Governorate and another in Abul Al-Thohur in Idleb Governorate. The UN has not been party to any specific discussions on such efforts and reiterates that any such movement of civilians must comply with international humanitarian law and human rights standards, including people’s right to choose whether to stay or leave, and the destinations involved. The UN continues to remind all parties to the fighting of their obligations under international humanitarian law to ensure safe, unimpeded and sustained humanitarian access and to ensure the protection of civilians and civilian infrastructure. Local sources have not yet confirmed the opening of the crossings.

The latest violence compounds an already fragile humanitarian situation. In the de-escalation area of Idleb and neighboring areas alone, there are some 3 million people, including 1.3 million internally displaced, many of whom have already been displaced multiple times. As a result, their ability to cope is significantly compromised.

The potential longer-term impact on the civilian population may be compounded as the violence is occurring during the harvest season. Several fires, triggered by airstrikes and shelling, destroyed staple crops like wheat and barley in northern Hama and southern Idleb. As the hot summer weather sets in, more fires can occur, further disrupting normal food production cycles and potentially reducing food security for months to come.

Author / Source – UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

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