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Recent Developments in Northwest Syria and RAATA - Situation Report No. 27 - April - May 2021

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HIGHLIGHTS

• Cross-border assistance continues to rely on UN aid deliveries enabled through the Security Council Resolution. In May, 979 UN trucks delivered cross-border assistance to northwest Syria through the Bab Al-Hawa border crossing.

• The COVID-19 vaccination program for northwest Syria began on 1 May, covering over 21,900 health care and social workers as of 14 June. The number of new cases remained low during the reporting period although a slight upwards trend can be observed.

• After more than ten years of conflict, improving shelter conditions remains a top priority in northwest Syria, with more funding required for innovative solutions that better support people in protracted situations of displacement.

• The SYP has stabilized in May, but the economic crisis continues to drive humanitarian needs

SITUATION OVERVIEW

Ongoing hostilities: Communities continue to suffer from the impact of hostilities across northwest Syria and in the Ras al-Ain and Tell Abiad (RAATA) areas, especially south of the M4 highway and around the M5 highway. Overall, the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) verified that at least 12 civilians were killed (including five women and four children) and at least 17 civilians (including four children) were injured as a result of shelling and airstrikes in April and May.

The security situation is further undermined by the prevalence of explosive hazards and in-fighting between non-state armed groups (NSAGs), which take a toll on civilian life. Twelve incidents of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and five incidents of explosive remnants of war (ERW) in northwest Syria and the Ras al-Ain and Tell Abiad areas also resulted in civilian casualties, with at least six civilians killed (including one woman and four children) and 35 civilians injured (including one woman and 11 children).

During the same reporting period, OHCHR reported that no humanitarian workers were killed or injured in northwest Syria and the Ras al-Ain and Tell Abiad areas.

COVID-19: While the overall number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases have remained low in the last month, recent figures seem to suggest that there is a slight upwards trend after many weeks of declining or stagnating figures. As of 15 June, 122,738 tests had been conducted in northwest Syria, with 24,941 cases confirmed – 12,776 cases in the Idleb area and 12,165 in northern Aleppo governorate. A total of 692 COVID-19 associated deaths had been reported as of 15 June with an overall fatality rate of 2 percent. The percentage of current cases among healthcare workers is 6.8per cent, encompassing nurses, doctors and midwives, while a further 4.9percent are auxiliary workers in the health sector. Some 10.9 per cent of all COVID-19 cases are in IDP camps.

In the Ras Al-Ain and Tell-Abiad area, 366 new cases and six deaths had been reported (in April (between 10 – 30 April), while 1,290 new cases and 14 deaths were reported in May.

Since the last situation report, two new COVID-19 laboratories began operations in northern Aleppo in Afrin and Jinderes which aim to complement the existing testing capacity. These two laboratories are part of six laboratories covering Idleb and Aleppo governorates.

Critical funding gaps remain in the COVID-19 response as well as the vaccination campaign, which was initiated in early May.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.