Recent Developments in Northwest Syria and RAATA - Situation Report No. 28 - June 2021



  • People in northwest Syria continue to rely on UN aid deliveries enabled through Security Council Resolution 2533 (2020), which will expire on 10 July 2021. Millions of people in need will lose access to essential humanitarian assistance in case of non-renewal.

  • Hostilities in southern Idleb region escalated in June and early July, causing displacement and civilian casualties, including of humanitarian and healthcare workers.

  • Increased funding is required, as humanitarian partners in northwest Syria have received 39 per cent of the funding required to sustain the response between July and September 2021.


UNSCR 2533 (2020) will expire on 10 July 2021, as humanitarian needs in northwest Syria are increasing

Under Resolution 2533 (2020), the Security Council approved the delivery of United Nations aid through the Bab Al Hawa crossing until 10 July 2021. As the date for the UN Security Council decision on the extension of SCR 2533 approaches, humanitarian partners, civil society organizations and the international/donor community are raising the alarm of the potential implications of a non-renewal of the Resolution, which would cut this lifeline for millions of people in need in the area. In a statement on 18 June by Emergency Relief Coordinator (ERC) Mark Lowcock and heads of humanitarian UN agencies, they called for the renewal of Security Council authorization for UN cross-border operations from Turkey to north-west Syria, They stressed that a failure to do so would immediately stop UN delivery of food, COVID-19 vaccines, critical medical supplies, shelter, protection, clean water and sanitation, and other life-saving assistance to 3.4 million people, including 1 million children.

In July 2021, the humanitarian situation in northwest Syria is more dire than in 2020, when the issue was last reviewed by the Security Council. Similarly, the levels of food insecurity in Syria are the worst since the start of the conflict. Today, an estimated 12.4 million Syrians are food insecure, an increase of 4.5 million people since last year. This means that nearly 60 per cent of the population do not know what they will eat the next day. In northwest Syria alone, 3.3 million people are food insecure, representing about 80 per cent of the total population in the area. Across the country, the number of people who are severely food insecure – a level of need that means people cannot survive without food assistance – has doubled in one year reaching 1.3 million people.

At the same time, food prices continue to rise and have increased by a staggering 247 per cent in the last year. A recent survey by the World Food Programme found that 73 per cent of families reported in May 2021 that they bought food on credit, further adding to the burden of debt that many families are accumulating due to rising prices and a lack of economic opportunities. Cross-border humanitarian assistance reaches two million people through bread and bakery assistance on a monthly basis, and one million people with emergency food assistance – a discontinuation of which would leave millions of people without basic food supplies to feed their families.

The Regional Humanitarian Coordinator travelled to Gaziantep on 29 – 30 June, to meet humanitarian partners working on cross-border assistance. He met the Government of Turkey and continued to highlight the importance of the extension of the Security Council Resolution for the people of northwest Syria. UN member states, such as the United States of America, the Netherlands, Norway, the European Union, and the United Kingdom have also sent high level diplomatic representatives in recent weeks to better understand the situation on the ground and to voice their support for the extension of the Resolution.

Assistance sent by the United Nations from Turkey through the Bab Al Hawa crossing reaches 2.4 million Syrians on a monthly basis. Concretely, this means that more than eight out of ten people in need in northwest Syria are reached through cross-border aid. Since the beginning of cross-border assistance in 2014, the United Nations has sent some 45,000 trucks from Turkey through the Bab Al Hawa and the Bab Al Salam crossings, carrying much needed food, nutrition, health and protection assistance. The Bab Al Salam crossing was removed as an authorised crossing for UN assistance by the Security Council in 2020, significantly impacting access to the northern Aleppo area. From the remaining Bab Al Hawa crossing, some 1,000 trucks of UN aid have crossed the border each month in 2020 and 2021. The Resolution also enables other forms of support, such as programs that do not require the shipment of supplies – for example, providing salaries for teachers or doctors, or funding case management for survivors of gender-based violence. The Syria Cross-border Humanitarian Fund is also enabled by the Resolution and would cease if the Resolution is not renewed, which provided $180 million of humanitarian funding in 2020 and more than $100 million in 2021. Most of this goes directly to NGOs, who may not otherwise be able to obtain such funding.


UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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