The present report is the seventieth 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), and paragraph 3 of resolution 2533 (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 the months of October and November 2020.
II. Major developments
The number of confirmed coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases continued to rise sharply, amid continued reports of widespread shortages in personal protective equipment. While testing capacity increased in some areas, overall testing capacity remained inadequate, making the extent of the outbreak in the country difficult to discern.
The economic crisis continued to deepen humanitarian needs across the country, with new surges in bread and fuel prices of particular concern. Subsidized bread and fuel prices doubled over the reporting period and the price of a standard reference food basket in October was higher than at any point since price monitoring by the World Food Programme (WFP) began in the Syrian Arab Republic in 2013.
The onset of winter weather brought rainfall and flooding that damaged hundreds of tents in displacement sites in Idlib Governorate and western Aleppo Governorate. As weather conditions deteriorate, concern is high for more than 2.2 million internally displaced persons across the country who lack adequate shelter, as well as for other vulnerable communities, including those living in elevated areas, and those who lack basics such as fuel for heating, blankets, warm clothes and shoes.
In the north-west, the ceasefire in the Idlib de-escalation area largely continued to hold, albeit with a gradual increase in the number of violations. Communities continued to endure increasing hostilities, including air- and ground-based strikes, as well as attacks using improvised explosive devices. Intensifying hostilities along the lines of control in southern Idlib Governorate and western Aleppo Governorate impacted the delivery of assistance, with aid distribution for 12,000 people in Idlib and Ariha subdistricts delayed due to insecurity. At least three humanitarian workers were killed and at least five were injured in the north-west.
In the north-east, mutual cross-line attacks reportedly increased, notably along the south-eastern contact lines of the Operation Peace Spring area. Multiple parties continued to suffer attacks by Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) cells, while counter-ISIL operations continued.
The south-west saw continued popular unrest and tensions. Violence remained at an elevated level, including assassinations, attacks using improvised explosive devices and small arms fire, in addition to kidnapping attempts and local clashes. A large number of arrests of fighters reconciled from former armed opposition groups were reported, as well as the releases of several detainees.
In the western part of the country, wildfires in Ladhiqiyah, Tartus and Homs Governorates in October affected an estimated 200,000 people and destroyed thousands of hectares of agricultural lands.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) verified 80 incidents, in which at least 73 civilians, including 15 children, were killed, and at least 214 civilians, including 68 children, were injured as a result of the conduct of hostilities throughout the Syrian Arab Republic.
Humanitarian assistance by United Nations agencies continued throughout the country. The humanitarian response continued to reach 7.4 million people every month on average across the Syrian Arab Republic.