Recent Developments in Northwest Syria and RAATA - Situation Report No. 30 - August 2021


Key figures

2.8 M displaced people in north-west Syria

43,511 Confirmed COVID-19 cases (4 September 2021)

1.7 M internally displaced people in IDP sites

37 trucks of UN assistance transshipped in August


• COVID-19 cases have increased across north-west Syria since mid-August, with more than 1,000 daily cases recorded in the past few weeks.

• Since June 2021, an escalation in hostilities resulted in 86 civilians killed and 205 civilians injured (UN Human Rights Office – OHCHR).

• The Under-Secretary-General and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Martin Griffiths, undertook a seven-day visit to Syria, Lebanon and Turkey between 28 August and 3 September.

• WFP humanitarian aid reached north-west Syria from Government-controlled areas on 30 – 31 August in the first crossline mission since 2017.

• A Humanitarian Needs Assessment Programme (HNAP) report on livelihoods shows even among people with work, nine out of ten live in extreme poverty



• The Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) Cluster tracked 31,081 displacements of people in August.

• Idleb and Afrin sub-districts recorded the highest number of departures. Some 4,000 people left Idleb and over 3,500 people left Afrin. Bulbul and Raju sub-districts received the highest number of arrivals, each receiving over 2,500 people.

• Across Syria, the humanitarian community recorded 2,715 returns in August compared to 3,558 returns in July.
Ariha sub-district in Idleb recorded the highest number of returns in north-west Syria.


• On 30 August, the first crossline mission since 2017 reached north-west Syria from Government-controlled areas. A first convoy of three trucks brought 127 MT of food rations from Aleppo to the WFP warehouse in Sarmada in Idleb. The next day, 11 trucks brought 447.55 MT of food rations. The mission will provide food assistance to 50,000 people.

• In August, the UN continued its cross-border operations from Turkey through the Bab Al-Hawa border crossing under the Security Council Resolution 2585 (2021). Although distributions focused on using the aid prepositioned prior to 10 July, some 37 trucks of humanitarian assistance were delivered. Expectations are that that number will increase back up to around 1,000 trucks a month in the fourth quarter, as winterization deliveries begin.


• Beginning in June, communities across north-west Syria and in the Ras Al Ain and Tell Abiad (RAATA) areas are witnessing the largest escalation of hostilities since the March 2020 ceasefire.

• An escalation of hostilities resulted in the loss of 86 civilian lives and the injury of 205 civilians since June 2021, reported the OHCHR. Shelling in August killed at least 20 civilians (including one woman and 15 children) and injured at least 41 civilians (including four women and 20 children). OHCHR reported nine incidents of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and unexploded ordnances (UXOs) killed at least five civilians and injured 15 civilians.

• In August, the escalation trend continued, concentrating around the south of M4 highway and around the M5 highway in southern Idleb. At least 29 airstrike incidents affected locations mostly in mountainous areas, and daily shelling affected towns and villages around the frontlines in southern Idleb, particularly Ehsem, northern Lattakia and western Hama.

• In northern Aleppo, Al Bab town and surroundings were affected for the first time since March 2021. In a series of shelling incidents on 5 and 6 August, at least 24 civilians were injured, and some civilian houses sustained structural damage.

• In August, heavy artillery shelling and nighttime clashes were reported in RAATA, especially on the eastern frontlines. On 12 August, clashes affected Abu Rasin, Umm al-kif, Al-Fakka, Tal al-Ward, al-Daldara, Tal Manakh, al-Rihaniyah and al-Qasimiyah villages. Artillery shelling affected Abu Rasin town in eastern Ras Al Ain countryside in August, reportedly displacing 420 families towards Al-Hasakeh city.

• Hostilities escalated in Dar’a from the beginning of July, particularly in Dar’a Al Balad, which has approximately 55,000 residents, resulting in displacements. While the displacement is largely limited to the Dar’a city and surrounding areas, where over 36,000 people remain displaced, in late August 36 civilians arrived in Al Bab in north-west Syria.

• Meanwhile, humanitarian needs are much higher than the sectors can adequately respond to. According to estimations, across north-west Syria, 3.2 million people are acutely food insecure, while 3.1 million people are in need of health assistance.

• 2.2 million people remain in need of shelter assistance. 15 per cent of the households in north-west Syria live in tents, 85 per cent of whom report that their tents are over 12 months old, rendering the tents vulnerable to the elements. 13 per cent of the households reside in damaged shelters. Overall, 46 per cent of all households cannot afford shelters repairs.

• About one million people in north-west Syria do not have access to at least one essential clean water and sanitation service or supply. 70 per cent of the people in displacement sites and 33 per cent in communities rely on water trucking to access clean water. Less than half of the population in displacement sites have access to soap, water and handwashing facilities.


The incident rate of COVID-19 significantly increased across north-west Syria in August with 12,839 new cases, marking a sharp increase compared to 771 new cases in July. Since the last week of August, daily COVID-19 cases have been peaking over 1,000 daily new cases. Most districts in the north-west Syria are high risk, including Afrin,
Jarablus, Harim, Idleb, Jish-Ash-Shugur and Ariha, while the rest are considered medium risk. The PCR test positivity rate has been significantly high, fluctuating between 40 – 50 per cent.

The COVID-19 Task Force is assessing the response capacity and gaps to avoid overburdening the healthcare system, including surveillance activities, the occupancy rate in the community-based treatment centres (CCTCs) and intensive care units (ICUs). Oxygen generator and cylinder capacity have been assessed and additional support has been planned in coordination with partners.

For better monitoring and planning, partners were invited to ensure timely and accurate reporting of the new cases.
The use of the antigen detection rapid diagnostic test (Ag-RDT), as per the protocol of use and diagnosis of COVID19 through Ag-RDT, was promoted for the healthcare workers across north-west Syria to prevent the spread of the virus among the workers


UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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