Health Cluster Weekly Situation Report: Whole of Syria, Week 14 (30 March - 5 April 2018)

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General developments, political situation, and security situation

  • Nearly 130,000 people have left Eastern Ghouta following weeks of fighting. Of these, 83,000 went to eight collective shelters in Rural Damascus [though more than a third already left these shelters] and more than 47,000 combatants and their families were transported to north-western Syria since 14 March. The UN and partners are responding to the mounting humanitarian needs of those displaced with food, shelter, health and other assistance and protection services. However, needs remain immense. Humanitarian partners also continue to deliver humanitarian assistance through the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) to people in Ain Tarma, Saqba, Harasta and Hamouriah inside Eastern Ghouta.
  • It currently remains unclear how many individuals remain inside the areas of East Ghouta that have recently shifted control. Some estimates indicate that as many as 70-78,000 remain in Duma and 50,000 individuals might have stayed behind in other areas of East Ghouta.
  • Jayesh Al Islam accepted the evacuation from Duma to Jarablus town of Aleppo governorate, Meanwhile, Falyaq Al Rahman has accepted to be evacuated to Idlib governorate, with this agreement all East Ghouta will be cleared of AoGs.
  • The Russian defense ministry on Wednesday said that 3,000 rebel fighters and their families have been evacuated from Douma since Sunday toward Jarablus city in the north.
  • Syrian Government Seeks to Recapture Eastern Qalamoun Region. The Syrian government and its allies have called on rebel forces to leave a besieged pocket northeast of Damascus or accept state rule. The eastern Qalamoun region is located some 25 miles (40km) outside Damascus and is separate from the Eastern Ghouta suburbs of Damascus. The area includes a few towns and a stretch of desert territory.
  • The UN continues to be concerned for the safety and protection of civilians impacted by the on-going hostilities and reported restrictions of movement in Afrin. An estimated 137,000 people have been displaced to Tal Refaat and to the surrounding villages where fighting has recently intensified posing a serious protection risk for civilians in the area.
  • Negotiations for local agreements are reportedly also ongoing in northern rural Homs, where three separate negotiation committees have been formed for Al-Houla, Talbiseh and Ar-Rastan. While negotiations seem more progressed in the Ar-Rastan area, none of the three locations has yet reached a final agreement and artillery shelling on several areas of northern rural Homs continues to be reported. The OCHA sub-office in Homs currently estimates that as many as 100,000 individuals could be displaced towards the wider Homs area if local agreements were to be reached.
  • President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he was seriously considering pulling US troops out of Syria now that the socalled Islamic State is nearly defeated.

Key Health Issues

On 1 April WHO took part in the inter-agency assessment mission to Ar Raqqa city. During the mission the meeting with the Civil Council (Joint Executive Committee) was conducted. Ar Raqqa national hospital, Ar Raqqa maternity hospital and Seif-Ad-Dawla PHC center were visited. A separate side by discussion was held with the head of the health department of Ar Raqqa Civil Council. A separate report is prepared.

Marking the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action (4 April), the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF are calling for more action to respond to the devastating health consequences of explosive hazard contamination in Syria. A joint statement is released. Statement is issued by Panos Moumtzis, RHC for the Syria Crisis, on the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action.