SDF offensive against ISIS-held parts of Ar Raqqah displaces nearly 160,100 people between April 1 and May 23
SDF gains control of Al Thawrah and Tabqa Dam, enabling IDP returns to the area
SARG regains control of city of Homs following final evacuations of opposition fighters and their families from the city’s Al Wa’er neighborhood
The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) offensive to retake the northern Syria city of Ar Raqqah from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) continues to drive displacement in and from Ar Raqqah Governorate. Between November 2016 and May 23, 2017, the Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) Cluster—the coordinating body for humanitarian CCCM activities, comprising UN agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and other stakeholders—verified nearly 197,600 primary or secondary displacements from Ar Raqqah; nearly 160,100 of the displacements occurred between April 1 and May 23.
The UN estimates that approximately 4.5 million people currently live in hard-to-reach locations, including approximately 624,500 people in besieged areas of Dayr az Zawr,
Damascus, Homs, Idlib, and Rif Damascus governorates. Of the 4.5 million people living in hard-to-reach locations, approximately 1.1 million people live in ISIS-controlled areas, more than 728,500 people live in militarily-encircled areas, and approximately 2 million people live in otherwise hard-to-reach areas, the UN reports.
On May 22, the UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura reported a decrease in violence, including aerial bombardment, across most of Syria following a May 4 agreement between the governments of Iran, the Russian Federation, and Turkey to establish four de-escalation zones, primarily in opposition-held areas. While the agreement went into effect on May 6 relief agencies reported airstrikes in the deescalation zones in northern Homs Governorate, allegedly due to the presence of armed group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham in the areas; the Special Envoy also noted that ongoing hostilities and aerial attacks continue to affect parts of Damascus, Hamah, and Homs governorates not covered by the agreement.