Humanitarian conditions in northwest Syria further deteriorated after a ceasefire between the Government of Syria (GoS) and armed opposition groups collapsed in early August.h The resulting increase in levels of violence, including airstrikes, shelling, and the highest number of recorded barrel bomb incidents since the beginning of 2019, led to large-scale displacement.i In August alone, more than 130,000 people were displaced from northern Hama and southern Idleb governorates.g Following clashes, GoS forces gained control of several communities including Skik, Hbit, Abdin, Arbain, Zakat, Um Zaytuna and, eventually, Khan Shaykun. Due to ongoing fighting, these areas, as well as Kafr Zeita, Latmana and Latmin in northern Hama governorate were not accessible to humanitarian organisations, meaning civilians had no access to humanitarian assistance and services.j Most of the displaced were heading towards already densely populated areas of northern Idleb governorate, with Dana sub-district continuing to be the most common destination for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
Water insufficiency reportedly affects a third of communities across NWS KIs across NWS reported issues with access to sufficient water, where water access was reported as a top priority need, after healthcare, food security and livelihoods. KIs in 317 (34%) of 922 assessed communities reported that water was not sufficient to meet household needs. The water quality was furthermore called into question. KIs in 1 community reported that the water made people sick, and KIs in 11 communities reported that the water tasted or smelled bad. Water trucking was the primary source of drinking water reported throughout NWS, reported by KIs in 348 (38%) of 922 assessed communities. With the ongoing offensive in NWS, and the resulting damage to infrastructure, it is possible that water transport and truck movements will be hindered, further increasing water access needs.
Effects of ongoing offensive evident in decreased access to services and infrastructure in conflict-affected communities In the months following the escalation of the offensive in May, KIs in communities in NWS witnessed a deterioration of access to services. Communities in the conflict-affected areas* were reportedly especially affected in comparison to other communities in NWS. In terms of reported barriers to accessing health care, security concerns around travel to health facilities (38%) and entering or remaining in health facilities (36%) were reported most commonly in conflict-affected communities. Furthermore, in terms of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), KIs in half (50%) of assessed conflictaffected communities reported problems with latrines (in comparison to 40% of communities reporting this across all of NWS). Lack of gender-segregated latrines was also most commonly reported in conflict-affected communities in which latrine problems were reported (41%). KIs in conflict-affected areas also reported a less regular garbage collection in comparison to other communities in NWS, reporting it once a week (33%), and once every two weeks (27%). Lastly, in terms of access to education, KIs in only 15% of conflict-affected communities reported that all children accessed school. The route to education services being unsafe was the most common barrier reported in conflictaffected communities, with KIs in more than a third of such communities (35%) reporting the issue. Access to services in conflict-affected areas might further deteriorate if the offensive continues. *To gain insight into the effects of the increase in violence in NWS, the August 2019 factsheet includes additional analysis on 147 communities located in conflict-affected sub-districts. These sub-districts are: Madiq Castle, and Ziyara in Hama governorate, Zarbah in western Aleppo governorate, and Heish, Kafr Nobol, Ma’arrat An Nu’man, Jisr-Ash-Shugur, Badama, Abul Thohur, Khan Shaykun in Idleb governorate.