Syria: Flash update on recent events - 25 October 2017
This update provides a summary of recent displacement, along with developments from the UNHCR co-led Sector/Clusters of Protection, Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) and Shelter/Non Food Items (SNFI).
KEY DISPLACEMENT STATISTICS (AS OF 10 OCTOBER 2017)
1,068,863 displacements recorded by the CCCM Cluster in the last 12 months from affected areas of northern and southern Syria:
1,033,873 displacements from affected areas of northern Syria, including Aleppo (331,702), Ar-Raqqa (313,267), Hama (146,923), Idleb (56,148), Homs (35,885), Deir-Ez-Zor (136,387), Al-Hassakeh (12,020), Lattakia (1,541) governorates, northern Syria. This includes around 62,000 new displacements recorded so far in October, with the large majority (52,388) displaced from Deir-Ez-Zor Governorate.
34,990 displacements from affected areas of Damascus, Rural Damascus, Sweida and Dar’a, south-western Syria.
Last week, the Kazakh Foreign Ministry announced that a seventh round of Astana talks on Syria will take place on 30-31 October.
At a press briefing in Geneva, a United Nations spokesperson noted that there were concerns for the safety and protection of civilians at risk from unexploded ordnances throughout Ar-Raqqa city. While the clearing of unexploded ordnance is ongoing, nine people were reportedly killed over the weekend when trying to return to their homes. The spokesperson added that the dire humanitarian conditions for IDPs in camps and settlements across Ar-Raqqa Governorate may drive many to attempt to return to their homes despite the dangers. Humanitarian actors will be unable to access the city until the clearing of mines and other unexploded ordnance is completed.
Dozens of civilians were reportedly killed by extremist groups in the town of Al-Qaryatain (Homs Governorate) before it was retaken by Syrian Government forces on 21 October. One monitoring group reported that up to 128 civilians had been killed in the three weeks that Al-Qaryatain was under the control of extremist groups.
Local sources reported that two babies died of malnutrition in recent days in the UN-declared besieged area of Eastern Ghouta (Rural Damascus) which is held by opposition groups. Reports indicate that Eastern Ghouta has entered one of the most difficult periods in terms of access and availability of food since its besiegement in 2013. According to UN estimates (as of 27 September), there are 393,300 people living within the enclave, including 49,300 people in Arbin, 59,000 people in Harasta, 150,100 people in Duma, 125,600 people in Kafr Batna, and 9,300 people in Nashabiyeh.
UNHCR CO-LED SECTOR/CLUSTER UPDATES
The Whole of Syria Protection Sector continues to work on civil documentation and housing, land and property rights (HLP) issues facing Syrian refugees and IDPs. According to the 2018 Protection Needs Overview (PNO), 83 per cent of communities reported lack or loss of civil documentation as an issue. Among these communities, concerns of approaching authority and loss of documents were described as the main reasons for not having official/government-issued documents, followed by the unavailability of governmental services. Among communities reporting the lack or loss of civil documentation as an issue, respondents mentioned restrictions of movement (76%), inability to register life events (73%), difficulties in making HLP-related transactions (70%), and hampered access to humanitarian assistance (56%) as main consequences of not having official or Government-issued civil documentation.
A new Population Monitoring Initiative (PMI) Report for southern Syria was released this week. During the reporting period (25 August - 25 September), the PMI did not receive significant reports of new displacements, and instead the primary population shifts documented were IDP return movements. Around 2,500 IDPs displaced inside Syria were reported to have returned to their villages of origin. Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM)
As of 19 October, the CCCM Cluster-managed reception centres in Mezanaz (Atareb sub-district, Aleppo Governorate) and Maaret Elekhwan (Maaret Tamasrin sub-district, Idleb Governorate) were hosting 1,932 and 1,201 individuals respectively. The Mezanaz reception centre has been running near its capacity (2,000 individuals) for more than four weeks, while the Maaret Elekhwan reception centre is expected to reach its maximum capacity (1,400 individuals) in the coming days. Both reception centres have an urgent gap in food assistance. The CCCM Custer is also working on establishment of two additional reception centres (one in Aleppo and the other in Idleb).
The CCCM Cluster received a second allocation of the Humanitarian Pooled Fund (HPF) for 2017 for winter assistance. An additional USD 1.2 million was allocated to the Cluster given the high level of needs, bringing the Cluster’s total allocation for the winter response to USD 2.7 million. The Cluster is working to target IDPs in most need and to ensure that they are protected against winter weather conditions.
The CCCM Cluster continues to share updates with member agencies on displacements in northern Syria, and particularly from Ar-Raqqa and Deir-Ez-Zor governorates. The total number of displacements from Ar-Raqqa Governorate since 1 April has reached 275,738 individuals, out of which 211,408 individuals were displaced inside Ar-Raqqa Governorate itself, while 43,308 individuals were displaced to Aleppo, 14,266 to Idleb, 6,679 to Deir-Ez-Zor and the rest to Hama. From Deir-Ez-Zor Governorate, a total of 136,277 displacements have been recorded since 1 April, including 36,203 displacements to Ar-Raqqa Governorate, 44,106 to Aleppo, 15,235 to Idleb and 40,733 within Deir-Ez-Zor.
Shelter/Non-Food Items (SNFI)
The Shelter Sector in Syria has started to conduct a rapid technical assessment of buildings in nine priority neighbourhoods in Aleppo city. The assessment is being carried out by the Engineering Syndicate of Aleppo together with technical staff from the sector. The team will conduct a structural assessment in all nine neighbourhoods to ascertain the safety of the buildings. This will inform the selection of the buildings for the rehabilitation by the shelter sector partners.
The SNFI Cluster in the Turkey Hub is working closely with partners to coordinate the winter assistance response. The Cluster invited partners aiming to conduct winter NFI distributions using the Humanitarian Pooled Fund (HPF) winter stock to submit their planned interventions.