Health Cluster Weekly Situation Report: Whole of Syria, Week 4 (19 - 25 January 2018)

Situation Report
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General developments & political & security situation

  • Russia's special envoy, Alexander Lavrentiev, announced the guarantor states had agreed on lists of participants in Sochi conference, to be held 30 January.

  • Syrian troops and allied militias captured a strategic airbase from militants in Idlib province.

  • Turkish troops and allied rebels escalated their attacks on a Kurdish enclave in northern Syria, marking the start of an operation to drive the YPG Kurdish militia from near Turkey’s border. Erdogan's regime forces committed new aggression against Syrian sovereignty yesterday, bombarding villages and towns in rural Aleppo and Al-Hassakeh.
    Syria strongly condemned the brutal Turkish aggression on Afrin.

  • The UN is deeply concerned by reports of fighting and military operations in Afrin District in northwest Syria near the Syria-Turkish border. There are 324,000 men, women and children, including 126,000 displaced in the district.
    Fighting has placed thousands of civilians in Afrin in northwestern Aleppo Governorate at risk of death and injury.
    Many of those living in the area have already been displaced, and are at risk of further displacement. Even before the recent escalation in violence, 60 per cent of the population in Afrin was assessed to be in need of humanitarian assistance.

  • The administration of the Bab al-Hawa crossing announced on 23 January the closure of the crossing from the Turkish side.

  • On 20 January the UN placed its cross-border shipments from Turkey temporarily on hold because of the security situation. The bulk of assistance for neighbouring Idleb Governorate passes through the crossings from Turkey (Bab al-Salam and Bab al-Hawa) [under UN Resolution 2165], providing much needed assistance to tens of thousands of newly displaced in that governorate. This has affected 123 truckloads of UN shipments, comprising food, shelter and health assistance that were planned for Syria this week.

  • The United States has not sufficiently addressed Turkish concerns over a Washington-led plan to establish a Kurdishled border security force in Syria, Ankara said, as the US has started training and recruiting personnel for a 30,000-strong security force that would be deployed along the borders of a region controlled by the US backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Syria.

  • Al-Hassakeh: Polio vaccination campaign, carried out last week by the Health Directorate, achieved its goal of reaching 241,000 children; in addition to vaccinating 7,000 children living in temporary residence centers for families displaced from Ar-Raqqa and Deir-ez-Zoir

  • The U.S. government’s aid chief, Mark Green, made an unannounced visit to Raqqa in Syria on 22 January. Without the approval of the Syrian government the US military cannot stay in the country, Russia’s Special Presidential Envoy to Syria Aleksandr Lavrentiev said.

  • The SAA military operation supported by airstrikes and artillery shelling against NSAGs positions in East Ghouta are expected to continue as no major cease-fire agreement has been reached yet.

  • At least 21 civilians have been killed by government airstrikes on and shelling of the besieged rebel-held suburbs east of the capital over the past 48 hours. Attacks over the weekend brought the total death toll in Eastern Ghouta to 219 civilians since the government escalated its offensive against the rebel enclave on December 29.

  • US blames Russia for Syria chemical weapons attacks. Russia has drafted a United Nations Security Council resolution on the establishment of a new structure to investigate chemical attacks in Syria.

  • The UN’s refugee agency has confirmed that at least 13 Syrians, including women and children, have lost their lives during a snowstorm while trying to flee their war-stricken country into neighboring Lebanon.

  • Reports were received that people in Duma and Harasta now permanently shelter in basements and underground shelters. Intensified shelling reportedly triggered internal displacement movement of some 15,000 individuals from locations in the eastern part of the besieged enclave (Harasta, Modira and the Al Marj area) towards other areas in the enclave.

  • Minister of Health revealed that 42 health centers affected by terrorism were rehabilitated, and 5 new centers were opened in rural Aleppo, Homs, Tartous and Rural Damascus … nationally produced medications now covered 90% of local market's need, and the Ministry's hospitals and health centers provided 40 million free medical services last year, at a cost exceeding 81 billion SYPs.