Syria Crisis: Ar-Raqqa Situation Report No. 9 (8-19 June 2017)

Situation Report
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  • Heavy fighting between the SDF and ISIL in ArRaqqa city continued as the SDF made advances in the northwestern and eastern parts of the city.

  • Since early June, an estimated 50,000 people have been displaced in Ar-Raqqa governorate, some for short periods. Of these, 7,655 IDPs have so far been verified by CCCM cluster as remaining displaced for longer periods. The situation continues to be fluid, with new displacements coexisting with rapid return movements to areas taken over by SDF.

  • Those fleeing the fighting in Ar-Raqqa city continue to face a number of protection risks, including punitive measures put in place by ISIL, threats posed by landmine and other weapon contamination, family separation, forced recruitment at check points, as well as the removal of identification and restricted movement upon entering displacement camps.

  • In the wake of SDF advances, the conduct of hostilities in Ar-Raqqa city is of grave concern for the protection of civilians. The humanitarian community continues to call for all parties to the conflict to uphold their obligations under IHL to spare the civilian protection from harm and to consider their protection and safety as paramount.

  • Following approval by the Government of Syria, WFP successfully completed a first trial delivery from Homs to Qamishly via Aleppo to assess the road conditions and the security situation along the route.

177,847 people displaced from 1 April – 15 June (101,921 during May – 15 June)

91,777 people reached with food assistance from 8 -15 June

24 tons Of medicines were dispatched to IDP sites in Al-Hassakeh,
Qamishli, Mabrouka and Karama

7,500 Children and pregnant and lactating women reached with nutrition assistance between 8-16 June

Situation Overview

Ar-Raqqa Governorate

During the reporting period, fighting between the SDF and ISIL in Ar-Raqqa city continued, including an escalation in aerial bombardment and ground fighting. The SDF made significant advances in the northwestern and eastern parts of the city.

The humanitarian situation inside Ar-Raqqa city remains dire, with the majority of the population reportedly facing deteriorating conditions. There are growing concerns over reports of increased shortages of essential commodities such as food, medicine, water, electricity and fuel. Although there is one functioning hospital that serves the area, a severe shortage of medical staff and supplies are reported.

Displacements out of Ar-Raqqa city are proving difficult to track. OCHA estimates that approximately 50,000 people may have been displaced from the city and surrounding areas during the first two weeks of June, including an estimated 25,000 people from Hawi Elhawa, Yaroub and Khatoniyah, Rabeah, Qahtaniah, Yarmouk and Hiten who are still displaced in informal settlements in the western countryside of Ar-Raqqa.

In the southern countryside, 200 families were reportedly displaced to the western countryside of Ar-Raqqa governorate on 13 June, after the SDF made advances in the Eastern Sahl village. Displacement into Al-Thawrah (Tabqa) town was also reported from areas to the south, where government forces recently made significant advances against ISIL. It is estimated that about 300 families from the southern Raqqa countryside and about 150 families from Oqeirbat, in the eastern Hama countryside, arrived to Mansura town.

According to SARC Hama, there is a significant number of displaced moving from Ar-Raqqa towards Hama Governorate with an estimated 3,038 families (consisting of 15-22 people each) reportedly reaching Hama since early May. Most of the families are from Tal Abiad and are settling in Hama city with few numbers moving to rural areas. SARC is registering, assessing and distributing lifesaving supplies including NFIs and food based on assessments of needs. SARC clinics, in addition to the pharmacy are providing health services to the displaced for free.

Of the reported displacements, the CCCM cluster, has so far verified 7,655 displacements (remaining displaced for longer periods than 24 hours) recorded since early June across the governorate with verification efforts continuing.

Of the displacements recorded by CCCM, the majority took place within Ar-Raqqa governorate (4,064) particularly to Ein Issa and Jurneyyeh sub-districts. The cluster also recorded 2,768 displacements to Aleppo governorate moving particularly to Al Bab, Menbij and Jarablus sub-districts.

Further displacements are anticipated as ground hostilities move closer towards the city center. While people will continue to flee to camps north of Ar-Raqqa city, particularly to the Ein Issa camp in Ein Issa sub-district, large numbers of people are also expected to flee further into ISIL-controlled areas towards Deir-ez-Zor city and possibly south toward the Rukban camp, along the Jordanian-Syrian border. While no accurate figures exist for the remaining population inside Ar-Raqqa citiy, the UN currently estimates the number of people remaining in the city to be between 50,000 to 100,000 people. UNICEF warns that an estimated 40,000 children are in the line of fire.

Meanwhile, in the northern countryside, 20,000 people from Rafqah, Adnaniah, Sqorah and both eastern and western Salhabiah towns were reportedly given permission by the SDF to return to their homes on 10 June, after several weeks of displacement.

Reports of civilian casualties as a result of the ongoing hostilities continue to emerge. One humanitarian organization recently reported that 40 people were killed and 100 were wounded since the offensive on Ar-Raqqa city started on 6 June.

Deir-Ez-Zor Governorate

Throughout the reporting period, airstrikes continued to target Deir-ez-Zor city, particularly concentrated in the ISILcontrolled neighborhoods of Al-Tayem and Thardah. Heavy ground fighting around Deir-ez-Zor city continued as Government of Syria (GoS) forces repelled ISIL attempts to establish control over the southern entrance to the city, which has been besieged since July 2014. High level altitude humanitarian airdrops continue as a last resort option. Inside Deir-ez-Zor city, generators remain the only source of electricity as fuel is scarce, but they are only being prioritized to supply civilian infrastructure, such as hospitals, water networks and bakeries.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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