Over the past year, 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.
Meanwhile, economic conditions have deteriorated across Syria, and the prices of basic goods are increasing. This is partly due to the instability and decline of the Syrian Pound (SYP) against the US Dollar (USD) as well as the escalation of conflict in northwest Syria in early 2020.
From March 2020, measures to restrict the spread of COVID-19 have been in place in northeast Syria (NES), including a curfew, movement restrictions, closure of schools and non-essential businesses and a ban on public gatherings. Those living in collective shelters are highlighted as a particular concern due to a limited ability to observe social distancing. Although infection remains widespread, the rate of transmission has slowed somewhat in the second half of November, particularly in areas where a full lockdown was in force.4 At the time of data collection in lateNovember, 7,256 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 214 deaths had been registered in NES.4 For key findings on COVID-19, please see page 4