Syria: Flash update on recent events - 30 August 2017

Report
from UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Published on 30 Aug 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 22 AUGUST 2017)

  • 942,130 displacements recorded by the CCCM Cluster in the last 12 months from affected areas of northern and southern Syria:

    • 904,728 displacements from affected areas of northern Syria, including Aleppo (336,890), Ar-Raqqa (288,561), Hama (172,678), Idleb (40,164), Homs (34,994), Deir-Ez-Zor (18,418), Al-Hassakeh (11,482), Lattakia (1,541) governorates, northern Syria. This includes around 43,500 new displacements recorded in August 2017 alone, with the majority from Ar-Raqqa Governorate.

    • 37,402 displacements from affected areas of Damascus, Rural Damascus, Sweida and Dar’a, south-western Syria. This includes around 200 new displacements recorded in August 2017.

CONTEXTUAL DEVELOPMENTS

  • Extremist fighters and their families have been evacuated from their last remaining enclave on the Lebanese-Syrian border and yesterday (29 August) reportedly reached an exchange point in eastern Syria from where they will be transferred to territory held by extremist groups. The convoy of buses and ambulances left the Lebanese-Syrian border region on 28 August after a ceasefire took effect on 27 August.

  • Intensified air strikes, ground shelling and heavy fighting in Ar-Raqqa city have raised serious protection concerns for civilians remaining in the line of fire. The United Nations estimates that between 18,000 and 25,000 civilians remain trapped in Ar-Raqqa city facing increasingly deteriorating humanitarian conditions.

  • Clashes have reportedly escalated between Syrian Government forces and extremist groups in Deir-ez-Zor city and its surrounding neighborhoods.

  • On 27 August, a joint convoy, comprising the UN, the Red Cross and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC), delivered aid for more than 107,000 people in the hard-to-reach city of Ar Rastan in Homs Governorate. The last convoy to reach the city was in June 2017.

  • On 26 August, a joint UN-SARC convoy delivered humanitarian assistance to 20,000 people in the besieged neighbourhood of Barzeh in Damascus city.

UNHCR CO-LED SECTOR/CLUSTER UPDATES

Protection

  • The Protection Sector in Syria has completed the data collection phase of the needs assessments for the 2018 Humanitarian Needs Overview (HNO). A total of 1,702 communities in 146 sub-districts were covered either through direct community observations or key informants identified by protection partners. Around 50 per cent of the respondents were female. The Protection Sector is now in the process of analyzing and aggregating the data with the other Whole of Syria hubs.

  • The Protection Cluster in the Turkey Hub released a new rapid protection monitoring report on the population movements from Arsal (Lebanon) to Idleb and Aleppo governorates. The report is based on over 200 key informant (KI) interviews, 16 focus group discussions (FGDs) and 31 household-level interviews.

  • The report found that 72 per cent of KIs cited general insecurity as the primary reason for leaving Arsal city and Wadi Hmeid in Lebanon. Fifty-four per cent of KIs stated that individuals leaving Arsal did not receive information about their final destination before departure, while 46 per cent did. Data indicates that while Syrians in Arsal were given the option to leave or stay, those who decided to leave did not have any choice regarding the destination. Twenty-one per cent of KIs reported that some people did not leave Arsal due to various security concerns, including fear of arbitrary arrest during the journey or upon entry to Syria. Around 80 per cent of KIs said they were able to leave with their documents.

  • KIs identified the following present needs at their locations in Idleb and Aleppo governorates: cash assistance, food baskets, cooking kits, baby formula, NFIs, hygiene kits, shelter, and mattresses. KIs also expressed hope that they would receive assistance in establishing safe and secure housing, access to work and health care, and assistance for onward movement. Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM)

  • Following consultations with member agencies, the CCCM Cluster submitted its priorities for the second Humanitarian Pooled Fund (HPF) allocation. The focus for the Cluster will be on winter assistance activities, including tent insulation. Additional shelter and infrastructure upgrades for IDPs sites are foreseen.

  • The CCCM Cluster has been working with other humanitarian actors on the establishment of a new planned camp in northern Syria. Two partners have recently shared a site selection form for this camp, identifying two potential locations. Discussions on selection are ongoing between the CCCM Cluster and partners.

  • The CCCM Cluster continues to share updates with member agencies on displacements in northern Syria, and particularly in Ar-Raqqa and Idleb governorates. The total number of displacements from Ar-Raqqa Governorate since 1 April has reached 250,894 individuals, of which 199,507 people were displaced inside Ar-Raqqa Governorate itself, while 33,029 people were displaced to Aleppo, 12,049 to Idleb, 6,232 to Deir-ez-Zor and 77 to Hama.

  • In Idleb Governorate, a total of 156,911 displacements have been recorded since 1 April, including 58,641 displacements from Hama Governorate, 31,978 people from within Idleb, 15,482 from Aleppo, 14,787 from Damascus, 10,177 from Homs, 12,049 from Ar-Raqqa, 5,933 from Rural Damascus, 3,380 from Lebanon (Arsal displacements), 2,967 from Deir-Ez-Zor and 17 from Dar’a.

Shelter/Non-Food Items (SNFI)

  • The SNFI Cluster in the Turkey Hub reported that as of last week, the HPF stock has 6,483 NFI kits and 126 tents which have now been committed to a UN cross-border convoy.

  • Partners in the SNFI Cluster in the Turkey Hub estimate that there are two million people in northern Syria in need of winter assistance in 2017 and 2018. The Cluster aims to target a total of 860,600 people, and estimates that the total budget needs are USD 50.1 million. There is a current funding gap of USD 38 million.

  • Partners are responding to the shelter and NFI needs of people displaced from Ar-Raqqa and Deir-Ez-Zor governorates in north-eastern Syria. NFIs and/or emergency tents have been distributed in at least 14 locations, including Ain Issa camp in Ar-Raqqa Governorate, and Mabrouka and Areesha (Bahra) camps in Al-Hassakeh Governorate.