Protection Monitoring Quarterly Report, January - March 2018
The Syrian conflict, now in its eighth year, has caused continued and staggering suffering of civilians. In the context of armed conflict, besiegement, displacement, increasing poverty and a reliance on harmful coping mechanisms, civilians face numerous and overlapping protection risks. Despite the challenging security environment, humanitarian actors continue to respond to the humanitarian needs occurring on an overwhelming scale in Syria.
During this reporting period, January-March 2018, the following key developments took place in the context of the Syrian conflict and related displacements:
In January 2018, the Government of Turkey launched a military operation against the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and affiliated forces in Afrin district of northern Aleppo governorate, resulting in violence and conflict activity. This military operation and escalation in conflict resulted in IDP movements from Afrin towards the Government of Syria (GoS) held-areas of Aleppo.
In February, the GoS launched a ground military operation in the southeast of Idleb, supported by intensive airstrikes by GoS on parts of south and central of Idleb. This military operation led to significant escalation in conflict between GoS and AOGs, which caused mass IDP movement from southeast Idleb towards central and northern Idleb.
Beginning in January-February, there was ongoing tension and clashes between HTS and JTS (Jabhat Tahrir Syria) in Idleb and parts of Aleppo, which caused instability in the security situation in most of Idleb and Western Aleppo.
Additionally, local agreements for Eastern Ghouta in February resulted in population movement and displacement from Eastern Ghouta to Idleb and surrounding areas.
As a result of these political and security-related developments, Idleb and surrounding areas experienced over 300,000 IDP arrivals between January and March 2018. 48 percent percent of these arrivals took place in January due to conflict activity in Aleppo, Idleb and Hama. Over 20,000 arrivals were received in northern Aleppo, particularly in consequence to conflict activity in Afrin. Over 300,000 IDP departures were also recorded during this period, 93 percent percent of departures took place within Idleb governorate, partially due to hostilities and conflict activity in south-east Idleb during the reporting period (CCCM ISMI January-March 2018 Quarterly Trends Analysis3).