The present report is the sixty-seventh submitted pursuant to paragraph 17 of Security Council resolution 2139 (2014), paragraph 10 of resolution 2165 (2014), paragraph 5 of resolution 2191 (2014), paragraph 5 of resolution 2258 (2015), paragraph 5 of resolution 2332 (2016), paragraph 6 of resolution 2393 (2017), paragraph 12 of resolution 2401 (2018), paragraph 6 of resolution 2449 (2018), and paragraph 8 of resolution 2504 (2020), in the last of which the Council requested the Secretary-General to provide a report at least every 60 days, on the implementation of the resolutions by all parties to the conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic.
The information contained herein is based on data available to agencies of the United Nations system and obtained from the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic and other relevant sources. Data from agencies of the United Nations system regarding their humanitarian deliveries have been reported for April and May 2020.
II. Major developments
1 . The number of cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) announced by the Syrian authorities as at 31 May 2020 stood at 122. Another six cases were recorded by local authorities in the north-east of the Syrian Arab Republic, including one death. The economic impacts attributable to COVID-19 aggravated a sharply deteriorating economic situation.
2 . Steep price increases were recorded alongside reports of shortages in some basic goods, as the rate of decline in the value of the Syrian pound accelerated. In May, the Syrian pound reached its lowest point on record against the United States dollar. The World Food Programme (WFP) revised its estimate for the number of people considered as food insecure in the Syrian Arab Republic to 9.3 million people.
3 . The ceasefire in the Idlib de-escalation area largely continued to hold, albeit with frequent reports of relatively small-scale violations. Civilian return movements continued but remained limited, with some 780,000 of the nearly 1 million people displaced in the north-west between December 2019 and early March 2020 still displaced. Incidents of mutual shelling and attacks using improvised explosive devices around Afrin and Bab resulted in civilian casualties, including children. An attack in a crowded market in Afrin on 28 April killed at least 46 people, of whom at least 31 were civilians, and injured 53 other people.
4 . Humanitarian assistance continued throughout the Syrian Arab Republic, including the distribution of food assistance by WFP to 4.5 million people in April and 4.5 million people in May. COVID-19 preparedness and response efforts included support by the World Health Organization (WHO) for the gradual expansion of testing capacities. Support also continued for COVID-19 infection prevention and control, from risk communication and community engagement to isolation centres.
5 . The humanitarian cross-border operation continued at record levels to respond to the acute needs of millions of civilians in the north-west of the country. The highest total number of United Nations humanitarian aid truck crossings per month since the establishment of the cross-border mechanism in 2014 was recorded in May 2020, with 1,781 trucks crossing into the country from Turkey.
6 . WHO dispatched an overland delivery of medical supplies to the north-east from Ladhiqiyah, in two consignments. That was the first overland delivery of WHO supplies to the north-east of the country since May 2018. Deliveries also continued by air. Despite increasing quantities of assistance reaching the north-east, medical supplies from those deliveries did not reach the majority of medical facilities that had previously depended on the cross-border delivery of supplies. Non-governmental organizations operating in the north-east reported stock-outs of some essential supplies, including some emergency medicines and anaesthetics.
7 . At Rukban, a commercial delivery of five trucks in May generated limited improvement in the availability of basic commodities. Access to medical services, hygiene supplies and other basic items remained extremely limited. Between 25 March and 31 May, 282 individuals departed Rukban, including 20 individuals needing medical care and who received appropriate support.