Humanitarian Situation Overview in Syria (HSOS): Northeast Syria, December 2021


Introduction and Methodology

HSOS is a monthly assessment that provides comprehensive, multi-sectoral information about the humanitarian conditions and priority needs inside Syria. This factsheet presents a thematic review based on the HSOS assessment of the priority needs and humanitarian assistance, economic conditions, living conditions, access to basic services, COVID-19 situation, and the security and protection situation in Northeast Syria (NES). Sector-specific indicator findings by location can be found on the HSOS dashboard.

The assessment is conducted using a key informant (KI) methodology at the community level. REACH enumerators are based inside Syria and interview three to five KIs per assessed location, either directly or remotely (via phone). KIs are chosen based on their communitylevel and sector-specific knowledge. This factsheet presents information gathered in 1,246 communities across Aleppo (225 communities), Ar-Raqqa (251 communities), Al-Hasakeh (685 communities), and Deir-ez-Zor (85 communities). Data was collected between 1-22 December 2021 from 4,987 KIs (19% female). Unless specified by an endnote, all indicators refer to the situation in the 30 days prior to data collection. Findings are indicative rather than representative, and should not be generalized across the population and region. Findings that are calculated based on a subset of the community are indicated by the following footnote, with each subset specified in the endnotes.

Key Highlights

In December, access to bread and other wheat products continued to deteriorate following low wheat harvests in the 2020/21 season. Deir-ez-Zor was particularly affected by higher bread prices with protests against this price increase being reported. Furthermore, access to fuel and medicinal products continued to decline.

  • Wheat production decreased by over 60% in 2021, causing wheat shortages and high wheat prices. Reasons for these shortages include irregular rainfalls and heatwaves in the 2020/21 cropping season as well as high prices and low availability of agricultural inputs, notably fertilisers, irrigation water, and fuel. Authorities in Northeast Syria raised prices of subsidised bread by 20% from 250 Syrian Pounds (SYP) to 300 SYP in early December. This price increase lead to protests in Deir-ez-Zor, where KIs in almost all assessed communities reported bread as a priority food need. The proportion of assessment communities where bread was reported as a priority food need was up from 74% for residents and 85% for internally displaced people (IDP) in November. However, cooking oil remained the priority food need according to KIs in 91% of assessed communities, followed by sugar (~80%), which saw prices at least double month-on-month in all governorates, according to REACH’s market monitoring.

  • High fuel prices continued to impede access to electricity according to KIs in 55% of assessed communities. This is a marked increase from 48% in November. The situation was reportedly worse in Deir-ez-Zor, where KIs in almost all communities noted the high fuel prices. The low availability of fuel has been an ongoing problem as the Northeast lacks refineries to process its crude oil.

  • COVID-19 restrictions eased as case numbers dropped; however, the healthcare system continued to struggle with a lack of medication. KIs in 32% of assessed communities reported that livelihood sectors were affected by COVID compared to 56% in November. Education and access to markets were reportedly not affected by COVID. This coincides with a nationwide decline in case numbers. However, the lack of COVID tests and testing facilities has likely led to an underreporting of cases. More generally, there have been medical supply issues that have affected the ability of healthcare facilities to work. Accordingly, KIs in 52% of communities reported that a lack of medicines or medical equipment was a barrier to healthcare access, similar to November.