Syria Crisis: North East Syria Situation Report No. 11 (1-30 June 2017) [EN/AR]
Displacements from and within Ar-Raqqa Governorate continued due to fighting and heavy airstrikes. An estimated 190,081 people have been displaced since 1 April, including nearly 20,000 since 1 June.
As of end June, an estimated 30,000-50,000 people remain inside Raqqa city, which remains difficult to verify due to the situation on the ground.
As of 27 June, Ar-Raqqa city is entirely surrounded by the Syria Defense Forces (SDF) with no official exit routes.
Between 100 and 200 families are reportedly taking high risks to exit the city across conflict lines.
Increasing displacement from Deir-Ez-Zor prompted a request by the Kurdish Self-Administration to the UN to open a new site in Al-Hassakeh for people fleeing the area. 400 families have arrived so far.
The overall protection situation for civilians remains of high concern. Civilians remain trapped by fighting in urban areas, with ISIL reportedly placing heavy restrictions on civilians attempting to flee the area.
19,889 people displaced from 1 June – 23 June (190,081 during 1 April – 23 June)
243,055 people reached with food assistance from 1 - 30 June
More than 10,000 children benefited from nutrition supplies Situation Overview
More than 6,000 hygiene kits distributed between 1 - 30 June
Since the offensive began in Ar-Raqqa city, heavy clashes, shelling, and airstrikes have resulted in significant civilian casualties and injuries as tens of thousands of people fled Ar-Raqqa city. During the reporting period, the humanitarian situation deteriorated inside Ar-Raqqa city as the Syrian Defense Forces (SDF) closed in on the city after seizing control of the Al-Qadisiya District. Initial reports indicate that as of 27 June, the SDF encircled the city after securing control of the southern area of the city on the north bank of the Euphrates river.
Civilians casualties were reported during June. On 26 June, unconfirmed reports indicated that airstrikes in and around Ar-Raqqa city resulted in the death of three civilians On 27 June, airstrikes resulted in the death of one civilian and the injury of others in Ar-Raqqa city. Unexploded ordnance in and around Ar-Raqqa city continued to pose a threat to civilians. On 29 June, one civilian from Deir-Ez-Zor city was reportedly killed in airstrikes in Al-Raqqa city. For example, one civilian was killed and several others were injured by a landmine in the eastern countryside of ArRaqqa on 27 June. On 30 June, two civilians were injured due to a landmine explosion inside Ar-Raqqa city.
As a result of on-going military operations, the humanitarian situation has significantly deteriorated in Ar-Raqqa city. Access to clean drinking water continues to be severely limited. Residents continue to depend on water from the Euphrates River that is unfit for consumption, exposing people to the risk of water-borne diseases. Since the start of the military operations in Ar-Raqqa city, approximately 27 civilians have been killed and dozens more wounded at the Euphrates while attempting to fetch water. Despite the danger, people continue to go to the site as it is their only remaining source of drinking water. Scarcity of food and medicine continued to be reported. Markets and bakeries remained closed in Ar-Raqqa city for over 20 days, further limiting access to food and basic necessities.
Residents continue to attempt to flee the city using smugglers on unsafe roads through damaged bridges located in the east and west of the city, although ISIL is reportedly preventing civilians from leaving. People are no longer attempting to cross the river to flee the city. Those who managed to leave usually end up in SDF controlled areas in Karama camp or farms in the north of the city. An estimated 100 to 200 families are reportedly managing to exit the city every day.
On June 28, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, issued a statement expressing concern for the protection of civilians remaining in Ar-Raqqa city as the SDF offensive to retake the city from ISIL continued. Air and ground strikes on the city have killed at least 173 civilians since 1 June, according to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. The High Commissioner called on all parties involved in the offensive, including international forces, to review their operations to ensure full compliance with international law, implement prompt and effective investigations into reports of civilian casualties, and establish measures to allow civilians who wish to flee the fighting to do so safely. The statement also highlighted concern regarding reports of violations and abuses by the SDF in areas under its control, such as Al Thawrah, also known as Tabqa city, including looting, abductions, arbitrary detentions during screening processes, and the recruitment of children.
Throughout the reporting period, the Government of Syria (GoS) and allied forces continued to make advances into Deir-ez-Zor Governorate from southern Homs Governorate. Airstrikes continued against ISIL-held areas along the Euphrates River southeast of Deir-ez-Zor.
Civilian casualties due to airstrikes was reported during the period. On 28 June, local media sources reported that at least 40 people were killed, including five children and two women, following airstrikes on Dablan town in the southern countryside of Deir Ez-Zor Governorate. In addition, airstrikes on Sur town reportedly resulted in five people killed.
The UN continues to provides basic food, nutrition, NFI, WASH and medical supplies to people in need in besieged parts of Deir-ez-Zor city through WFP-led airdrops. However, continued clashes may jeopordize the delivery of humanitarian aid should landing sites for airdrops become unsafe. Civilians continue to be subjected to violence and limited access to humanitarian aid and basic services, especially medical care.
Twenty-two (24) cases of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type-2 (cVDPV2) have been confirmed in Syria - 22 cases are from Al Mayadin District, Deir-ez-Zor Governorate, and two (2) cases from Ar-Raqqa District, Raqqa Governorate. The most recent case had onset of paralysis on 28 May. In response to the outbreak, the Syrian Ministry of Health together with WHO, UNICEF and other health actors are planning to conduct two immunization rounds in Deir Ez-Zor with monovalent oral polio vaccine type-2 (mOPV2), targeting 328,000 children under five years of age. Inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) will be used in the second round targeting 114,500 children aged between 2-24 months. The first round is expected to commence by 8 July.
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.