Iraq + 2 more

Iraq Inter-Agency Operational Update – Syrian refugees in Iraq, May 2016

Situation Report
Originally published
View original



247,339 Syrian refugees


newly registered children provided psychosocial services

Increase in the number of Syrian refugee cases being reactivated.

persons are still waiting for decisions by resettlement countries following submission for resettlement in 2015

registered refugees lack a valid residency card in Erbil governorate (39% of the refugee population in Erbil Governorate).


USD 285,633,934
requested by agencies for the operation


  • Counter the fragile protection environment for children and women
  • Enhance livelihoods opportunities
  • Improve long term shelter options
  • Support education sector


  • A total of 2,665 Syrians arrived to KR-I during the reporting period, using Pheshkabour border crossing point (only 2 permitted entry as asylum seekers); bringing the total number of new-arrivals since January 2016 to date to 15,104 individuals. This represents an increase of 12% in the number of new arrivals as compared to the previous month. Nonetheless, it is a 53% decrease on the arrivals compared to period January to May 2015 (28,494)

  • A total of 512 individuals returned to Syria through the aforesaid border post (437 registered asylum-seekers and 75 unregistered Syrians). This represents a drop of 36% in the total number of returns as compared to the past month.

  • UNHCR jointly with the partners (ISHO and UIMS) has suspended all activities at Al Obaidi camp in Al-Qaim, Anbar province, from 1 May. The decision was made as the situation in the AL-Qaim has deteriorated to the point where partners’ staff would be at risk. The decision will be reconsidered after 3 months on the basis of security.

  • With the assistance of UNHCR, Payosas Sin Fronteras, the Spanish branch of Clowns without Borders, undertook a two week tour of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. The group performed 23 shows to almost 7000 spectators at locations across the Dohuk, Erbil and Sulaymaniyah governorates including refugee and IDP camps, public schools, community centers, orphanages, and institutes providing education to children with severe disabilities.


During May, the Humanitarian situation escalated as conflict intensified in many parts of the country. Unsolved budgetary disputes continue to affect relationships between the Central Government and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KR-I) while low oil prices negatively impact the local economy. Public servant salaries remain unpaid for months, while most of the public and many private projects are on hold due to the lack of funds in KR-I.

The political situation remains fragile in the rest of the country as the Iraqi Shi’a cleric maintain his call of complete reform of the current Cabinet with the proposed changes of all Ministers and key Departments to a Technocrat cabinet. The waves of demonstrations followed during the Friday prayers that led to increase the security level to a high alert in Baghdad.

In Falluja (Anbar Governorate), the population remained trapped by conflict and there is a lack of food, medicine and services. According to media reports militants have prevented civilians from leaving the city and are used as human shields.

North of Falluja, the Iraqi Government has been holding contingency planning meetings with the UN, humanitarian actors as the Iraqi security forces together with the Kurdish Peshmerga forces have beefed up operations toward the city of Mosul from Makhmur district south of Erbil, and is reportedly preparing for a Mosul offensive. With the frontlines moving forward several villages taken from militants, resulting in thousand Iraqis being displaced towards Debaga in Makhmur district (Erbil Governorate). With temperatures already reaching 40 Celsius, the situation remains dire for the displaced and local authorities have called for international support.