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20 Dec 2013 description

UNHCR releases data for first half 2013 showing sharp rise in forced displacement

UNHCR warned today in a report that 2013 was on track for some of the highest levels of forced displacement ever seen by the agency, due to unusually large numbers of new refugees and internally displaced people. The report said 5.9 million people were forced to flee their homes in the first six months of the year, compared with 7.6 million for all of 2012. The biggest producer of new displacement was Syria.

17 Dec 2013 description

In Syria, government military aircraft targeted rebel-held districts in the northern city of Aleppo, killing at least 15 people according to opposition activists. In parallel, Damascus announced that it had retaken control of the key Damascus – Homs supply highway after gaining ground in the battle for the strategic Qalamoun region. London and Washington decided to suspend all non-lethal assistance to the Syrian opposition fearing that military equipment may fall under the control of Islamic radical groups.

09 Dec 2013 description

Snapshot 3 - 10 December

In Syria, the conflict has been going on for over 1,000 days, and to date, the war has displaced 6.5 million people internally and forced 2.3 million to cross into neighbouring countries. Meanwhile, Washington indicated that it has been in talks with Islamist opposition factions non-linked to Al-Qaeda, in order to push for a negotiated settlement to the crisis.

05 Dec 2013 description

Updates on refugees and asylum seekers

02 Dec 2013 description

In Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that an estimated 126,000 people have died during the conflict, more than a third of them civilians. Meanwhile, Turkey and Iran, which support opposing sides within the crisis, jointly called for a ceasefire before the beginning of the peace talks, set for 22 January in Geneva.

25 Nov 2013 description

In Syria, government forces fully control the town of Qara after almost a week of heavy fighting which caused over 15,000 Syrian refugees to cross into Lebanon. Meanwhile, the UN stated that it has brokered an agreement allowing for the Government of Syria and opposition negotiators to meet for peace talks in Geneva on January 22. The opposition reaffirmed the conditions of its participation: the release of prisoners, humanitarian assistance for besieged towns, and the exclusion of President Assad from the new transitional government.

25 Nov 2013 description

In a country with neither a migration and asylum system nor a legitimate police force, migrants and asylum seekers in Libya are often marginalised, ill-treated and at risk of being arbitrarily detained. Melissa Phillips from the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) in Libya has spoken to the ECRE Weekly Bulletin about the lack of protection for refugees and migrants in Libya, why many see no choice but to take boats to reach a safe place and the impact of EU policies in the country.

11 Nov 2013 description

Snapshot 5 – 12 November

In Syria, the opposition agreed to participate in international peace talks in Geneva under the condition that President al-Assad is excluded from any transitional government, which constitutes a major obstacle to the initiation of the process as the Government stated it will not enter discussion if this demand is upheld. The peace dialogue has been repeatedly postponed and will not go ahead as planned in November. To date, the overall number of Syrian refugees is over 2.2 million and the number of people in need in the country stands at 9.3 million.

11 Nov 2013 description
report IRIN

JOHANNESBURG, 11 November 2013 (IRIN) - The shipwreck that claimed the lives of more than 350 mainly Eritrean asylum seekers off the Italian island of Lampedusa last month has focused Europe’s obsession with irregular migration on the area of the Mediterranean separating southern Italy and Malta from North Africa. But this treacherous stretch of sea represents only the final leg of a lengthy journey filled with hazards.

04 Nov 2013 description

Snapshot 29 October – 5 November

In Syria, the opposition remains divided over their participation to proposed peace talks in Geneva, with a decision being expected by 9 November. In Damascus, the Government repeated that it will not enter discussions if President al-Assad is forced to resign. While the overall number of Syrian refugees went over 2.2 million, revised estimates indicated that the number of people in need in Syria has increased from 6.8 million in April to 9.3 million in late October. An estimated 6.5 million are internally displaced.

28 Oct 2013 description

In Syria, fighting has intensified in October with the Government gaining control of strategic areas around Damascus and south of Aleppo. Meanwhile, while the number of Syrian refugees has reached almost 2.2 million people, parties to the conflict and international actors are increasingly focused on the Geneva II conference scheduled to take place in November after having been postponed several times.

22 Oct 2013 description

Snapshot 15 – 22 October

In Syria, conflict is of high intensity in Rural Damascus, Dar’a, Aleppo, Idleb, and Homs, and Damascus city has repeatedly been under fire from opposition mortar rounds. Clashes between rival opposition groups have spread, culminating in a bloody battle over the control of some northern Aleppo neighbourhoods. While Government forces have made gains in Rural Damascus, the opposition has won ground in Dar’a, with both sides renewing efforts to gain a firm upper hand before the proposed Geneva II peace talks in November.

15 Oct 2013 description

Snapshot 08 – 15 October

In Syria, heavy fighting is ongoing in Rural Damascus, Dar’a, Aleppo, Idleb and Homs, with government forces making gains in Rural Damascus while the opposition has won ground in Dar’a. Despite the call of al-Qaeda’s leader for opposition fighters to unite, inter-group fighting has escalated in Aleppo over control for neighbourhoods. Meanwhile, the Syrian National Council announced that it did not intend to participate in the proposed Geneva II peace talks.

08 Oct 2013 description

In Syria, heavy fighting along the border with Jordan in the southern province of Dar’a is on-going. After a week-long battle in Aleppo, the Government army regained control of the strategic town of Khanasser which is located on a key supply route between central Syria and Aleppo. Meanwhile, ground fighting is ongoing across Syria, with clashes extending to the previously relatively stable governorate of Tartous.

30 Sep 2013 description

In Syria, heavy fighting continues between the Government and opposition groups as well as infighting within the opposition. Against this background, the UN Security Council endorsed the Russia-US agreement on the elimination of Syria’s chemical stockpile. There are now over 2.1 million Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries. As of 27 September, heavy shelling is preventing an estimated 70,000 Syrian refugees from crossing into Jordan, leading them to face severe food insecurity as they remain stranded on the border.

19 Sep 2013 description

As the ICRC Water and Habitat Unit celebrates its 30th anniversary, we look back at some of the ICRCs most significant water, sanitation and shelter operations over the last three decades.

In 1859, four years before the ICRC was formed, our founder Henry Dunant made water one of his priorities as he struggled to help wounded soldiers after the Battle of Solferino. Thirty years ago, our awareness of the essential role of water, sanitation and habitat for the victims of conflict led us to create the Water and Habitat Unit, known as "WatHab."