Syria

Collective Centres & COVID-19 Vulnerability: Al-Hasakeh, Syria (April 2020)

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Background

The past eight months have seen significant change in Al-Hasakeh governorate. In October 2019, military operations in the area around the Turkish border led to change in control of an area of approximately 4,000km2 encompassing Ras as Ain, Suluk and Tell Abiad. As a result, approximately 70,000 people are still displaced and two camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) were closed.1; 2 Clashes have continued and there is intermittent disruption to water and electricity supplies in Hasakeh governorate.3

In January 2020, the United Nations (UN) Cross Border Resolution for Syria expired. While the resolution was extended for six months, border crossings in northeast Syria (NES) lost authorisation, cutting off key routes for UN aid to enter NES.4

Economic conditions have deteriorated across Syria and the prices of basic goods are increasing. This is partly due to the instability and decline of the Syrian Pound (SYP) against the US Dollar as well as the escalation of conflict in northwest Syria in early 2020.5

From 12 March, measures to restrict the spread of COVID-19 have been in place in NES, including a curfew, movement restrictions, closure of schools and nonessential businesses and a ban on public gatherings. Those living in collective shelters are highlighted as a particular concern by the UN.6 There have been five confirmed COVID-19 cases and one death in NES as of 9 May.