Informal Site and Settlement Profiles: Ar-Raqqa, Deir-ez-Zor, and Menbij, Syria (June 2020)

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Over the past six months, changing areas of influence and economic instability have shaped the context for displacement in Ar-Raqqa, Deir-ez-Zor, and Menbij. In October 2019, increased military activity in Ar-Raqqa and Al-Hasakeh governorates led to mass displacement (including the closure of two camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs)) and a disruption of the strategic M4 highway. Forced recruitment by armed forces has also reportedly been a driver of displacement in some areas.

January 2020 brought the expiration of the United Nations (UN) Cross Border Resolution for Syria. While the resolution was extended for six months, several border crossings in northeast Syria (NES) lost authorisation, cutting off key routes for UN aid to come into NES.

In the six months prior to data collection, economic conditions deteriorated in NES, and the prices of basic goods increased markedly. This was partially due to the instability and decline of the Syrian Pound (SYP) against the US Dollar as well as the escalation of conflict in northwest Syria in early 2020.

At the time of data collection in mid-June, there had been five confirmed COVID-19 cases and one death in NES. At the time of writing, however, a reported spike in infections has led to a cumulative 204 cases and 9 deaths. Those living in informal settlements and collective centres in NES have been highlighted as a particular concern. For key findings on COVID-19, please see page 3.