1 . The present report is submitted pursuant to paragraph 17 of Security Council resolution 2139 (2014), in which the Council requested the Secretary-General to report to it on the implementation of the resolution by all parties in the Syrian Arab Republic.
2 . The report provides information on the humanitarian situation in the Syrian Arab Republic and on the implementation of the key elements of resolution 2139 (2014), including violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, humanitarian access to besieged and hard-to-reach areas, including across conflict lines and across borders, the expansion of humanitarian relief operations, the free passage of medical personnel, equipment, transport and supplies and the safety and security of personnel engaged in humanitarian relief activities.
3 . The report covers the period from 22 February to 21 March 2014. To give the Security Council as full a picture as possible of the situation in the Syrian Arab Republic, some information is included that predates the reporting period (where full data are not yet available for the reporting period or the data presented benefit from contextualization). The information contained herein is based on the limited data to which United Nations actors have access, in addition to reports from open sources, sources in the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic and the independent international commission of inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic.
II. Major developments
4 . During the reporting period, indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks, including aerial bombings, shelling, mortars and car bombs in populated areas, caused mass civilian death and injuries and forced displacement. Publicly available reports indicate that clashes between government and opposition forces continued in most parts of the Syrian Arab Republic. There were continued reports of artillery shelling and air strikes, including the use of barrel bombs, by government forces. Car bombings and suicide attacks, including against civilian targets, resulted in civilian deaths and injuries. Many such attacks were claimed by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant and the Nusrah Front. Clashes also took place between armed opposition groups and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, mainly in the north. Government-controlled cities and towns, including Damascus, were subject to mortar attacks by armed opposition groups. Reported daily death tolls were on average in excess of 200 people, including civilians.
5 . Fighting was particularly intense in Aleppo, Dar‘a and Rural Damascus governorates. At least 500,000 people have been displaced from the eastern part of the city of Aleppo since late January. Around 200,000 people have fled to the west of the city and around 300,000 to the north of the country. Approximately 100,000 internally displaced persons are sheltering in camps close to the Turkish border, while some 22,300 people fled to Turkey during the reporting period. In Dar‘a governorate, fierce fighting between government forces and armed opposition groups escalated, leaving around 159,000 people displaced as at the end of February. In Rural Damascus governorate, around 50,000 people have fled the city of Yabroud, which was recaptured by government forces on 16 March, including nearly 14,000 who have fled to Arsal in Lebanon.
6 . With regard to neighbouring countries, security incidents were reported across the Lebanese border and the disengagement line in the Golan. The Nusrah Front claimed responsibility for rocket attacks in the Bekaa valley in Lebanon on 3 and 5 March.
7 . The worsening security environment notwithstanding, the United Nations and its partners continue to reach millions of people with lifesaving assistance. In February, the World Food Programme (WFP) and partners provided food to 3.7 million people in 13 governorates. Some 180,000 people were reached with food in February and March in areas of Rural Damascus, Deir-ez-Zor, Dar‘a and Ar-Raqqa governorates that had been cut off for a prolonged period. Between 22 February and 8 March, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and partners delivered essential relief items for more than 1 million people in all governorates, except Deir-ez-Zor. On 25 February, the International Organization for Migration reached Deir-ez-Zor governorate for the first time since March 2013 with basic lifesaving commodities for 13,000 internally displaced persons. Since 23 February, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has delivered food for 140,000 Palestine refugees and primary education to 41,500 children throughout the country.
During the reporting period, the United Nations Children’s Fund and partners provided water treatment supplies benefiting approximately 1.8 million people in Tartous and Deir-ez-Zor governorates. Also during the reporting period, the World Health Organization reached nearly 441,000 beneficiaries with medicines (excluding vaccines) in Homs, Aleppo, Rural Damascus, Damascus, Idleb and Ar-Raqqa governorates. More than 46,000 internally displaced persons have received primary health care through UNHCR in Damascus, Rural Damascus, Aleppo and Al-Hasakeh governorates since 22 February.
8 . During the reporting period, the fourth round of the polio vaccination campaign was carried out, reaching 2.8 million children under 5 years of age. The number of children vaccinated in hard-to-reach areas increased and some previously inaccessible areas became partially accessible owing to local arrangements and contacts on the ground, including Ghouta in Rural Damascus governorate, Nubul and Zahra in northern Aleppo governorate and parts of Quamishli city.