Changing Dynamics and Fresh largescale Displacements
The first six months of 2015 has seen fresh fighting, changing dynamics and the massive displacement of over 1 million people, some multiple times, throughout Syria.
For example, in February and March fierce clashes in Tal Tamer, located 40 km west of Hassakeh city resulted in the displacement of nearly 15,000 people to Qamishly, Hassakeh city, Amuda, Derbasia and Ras Al Ein. In March, the takeover of Idlib city by NSAGs following fierce fighting, led to the displacement of approximately 230,000 people with many of these fleeing to surrounding rural areas and about 40,000 of these moving to neighboring governorates such as Hama, Tartous and Lattakia. Also in March, owing to fighting in the Busra Al Sham area of Daraa governorate, approximately 50,000 individuals were forced to flee their homes and seek safety in rural Daraa, Sweida, Rural Damascus and Damascus city.
In May, the city of Palmyra was seized by ISIS causing the displacement of around 10,000 people, many who fled to the Al Quaryiten area south east of Homs. In June 2015, ISIS advanced in the southern areas of Hassakeh City and armed clashes started with the GoS resulting in significant displacement of around 90,000 people to the eastern and northern neighborhoods of the city (Azizyeh, Saleyen and Msheraf), as well as to nearby villages north of the city. An additional 30,000 was estimated to have been displaced to the northern districts of Qamishly, Amuda, Ras Al Ain, Derbasia and Tal Tamer.
Throughout these displacements UNHCR and its partners have responded rapidly, identifying those most in need and prioritizing these for the distribution of CRIs such as blankets, mattresses, plastic sheeting, kitchen sets, hygiene sets and jerry cans. It also dispatched emergency tents for 11,000 people. In addition, UNHCR has led the protection response to these displacements by strengthening its own and its partner’s response capacity in Hassakeh, Homs,
Tartous, Hama, Lattakia and Rural Damascus, deploying additional protection staff to its Field Offices, liaising with local duty bearers and conducting assessment missions. It has also strengthened its permanent protection capacity in field areas affected by the conflict through the deployment of additional five international staff, including three protection officers, to its Field Offices in Aleppo, Homs, Qamishly and Sweida.
Despite the many challenges and the huge scope of the emergency UNHCR will continue to strive to respond to deliver assistance and protection to the vulnerable in Syria, regardless of where they may be.