After nearly four years of conflict, Syria is still the most complex humanitarian emergency in the world. 6.6 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance in at least one sector. The Syria Multi Sector Needs Assessment (MSNA) estimates that 4.8 million people are internally displaced out of a current total population of 15 million in the assessed areas.
Since the last multi-sectoral assessment was conducted in November 2013, the conflict dynamics have experienced major changes, including significant evolutions in areas of control. Government Forces regained control of several areas such as Homs City and Qalamoun in Rural Damascus, opposition forces expanded into new areas in Dar’a and northern Hama. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) seized control of wide geographic areas in the north and northeastern parts of the country. ISIL has made dramatic territorial gains in Syria and caused large-scale displacement of populations from the area and with it the largest influx of refugees into neighbouring Turkey.1 Opposition forces lost their strongholds in Deir-ez-Zor and northeastern Aleppo.
Since the beginning of 2014, Syria has also witnessed an increase in the severity and frequency of fighting across the country and barrel bombs and chlorine gas attacks have been used widely.2 In 2014, the Syria crisis evolved dramatically. An international coalition of Western and Arab States began carrying out strikes on targets in Northern Syria in mid-September.3 These strikes have targeted ISIL military installations, as well as military installations controlled by Al-Nusra Front.
Changes in conflict dynamics have been the main drivers of new displacement inside and outside of the country, such as the massive influx of IDPs from opposition-held neighborhoods in Aleppo City into Government-held areas. There has also been an influx of refugees into Turkey coming from Aleppo, Hama and Deir-ez-Zor. Humanitarian access has been restricted further, compared with 2013. Limited humanitarian access causes constraints and limits cross-border operations. It also limits access to different areas of control such as ISIL-held areas in Deir-ez-Zor, Al -Hasakeh and Ar-Raqqa.
One of the consequences of high intensity conflict has been a 56% increase in the number of displaced persons living in camps from 108,000 to approximately 165,000 between January and September 2014. IDPs typically experience multiple displacements because of violence, depleted capacities of host families, running out of savings and seeking better access to livelihoods. Moving to camps or settlements remains the last resort for IDPs in Syria.
Since early 2014, the situation in Aleppo city has deteriorated significantly. The eastern part of Aleppo City has been under constant air strikes using barrel bombs, and intense ground fighting. These attacks have caused the displacement of more than 550,000 people inside Aleppo Governorate, mainly towards western neighborhoods of Aleppo city, areas controlled by the Syrian Government. People were also displaced towards northern parts of the Governorate, such as Ar-Ra’ee and A’zaz, in addition to several thousand people crossing into Turkey. Barrel bombing campaigns on Aleppo City have targeted, on more than one occasion, medical centres and field hospitals, causing the death and injury of medical staff and damage to medical infrastructure in opposition-held neighborhoods.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.