Syria: Flash update on recent events - 20 April 2017

Report
from UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Published on 20 Apr 2017

This update provides a summary of recent displacement, along with developments from the UNHCR co-led Sector/Clusters of Protection, Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) and Shelter/Non Food Items (SNFI).

KEY DISPLACEMENT STATISTICS (AS OF 11 APRIL 2017)

  • 787,640 displacements recorded by the CCCM Cluster since 1 February 2016 from affected areas of northern and southern Syria:

    • 772,248 displacements from affected areas of northern Syria, including Aleppo (484,279), Hama (123,657), Idleb (82,761), Ar-Raqqa (58,863), Homs (11,158), Al-Hassakeh (5,294), Deir-Ez-Zor (4,922), Lattakia (1,314) governorates, northern Syria. This includes around 46,900 new displacements recorded in April 2017 alone, with the majority from Hama Governorate (22,600) and Ar-Raqqa Governorate (16,300).

    • 15,392 displacements from affected areas of Damascus, Rural Damascus, Sweida and Dar’a, southwestern Syria.

CONTEXTUAL DEVELOPMENTS

  • On 15 April, a vehicle filled with explosives is reported to have hit a convoy carrying around 5,000 evacuees from the towns of Foah and Kefraya (Idleb Governorate) to Government-held areas. Media sources say that 126 people including at least 68 children were killed in the attack when the convoy reached Rasheedin, near Aleppo city, at a checkpoint where the handover of evacuees was due to take place. Evacuations were being carried out under a deal brokered by Iran and Qatar for the evacuation of residents from the besieged Four Towns – Foah and Kefraya, and Madaya and Zabadani (Rural Damascus). The United Nations was not involved in the agreement or evacuation process.

  • The UN Secretary-General and senior UN officials strongly condemned the attack. In a statement on 16 April, the UN said that humanitarian organizations, including the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) and UN partners, are providing assistance to the injured, and that the UN was ready to scale up support to evacuees.

  • Partners reported that on 17 April a fifth group of around 1,800 armed opposition fighters and their families were evacuated from the Al-Waer neighbourhood in Homs city to Jarablus (Aleppo Governorate).

  • As displacement from Ar-Raqqa Governorate increases, the UN reports that access and security constraints continue to be the main challenge to a sustained presence and partners’ ability to respond.

  • According to media reports, on 16 April the Syrian army regained the strategic town of Soran near Hama city in an assault backed by airstrikes. The advance by Syrian Government forces reportedly rolls back most of the territorial gains made by armed opposition groups, after a major offensive last month in northern Hama Governorate.