During the month of December 2019, heavy rainfalls exacerbated vulnerabilities already intensified by winter conditions, with flooding obstructing roads as well as damaging and destroying tents and other materials in at least 28 IDP camps in northern Syria. On 10 December the Al-Dadat crossing point in northern Menbij city was reopened for civilian traffic from both sides, following a 2-month closure, making it the only open passage between areas controlled by NSAGs in northern Aleppo governorate and other parts of northern Syria.
Daily shelling and airstrikes continued to impact dozens of communities across Idleb, northern Hama and western Aleppo governorates, with some airstrikes reportedly also impacting areas in Kabani in Lattakia governorate. Hostilities sharply increased in the second half of the month, focused on southern Idleb governorate, with sustained aerial bombardment of the Ma’arrat An Nu’man area coupled with ground offensives in the eastern side of the de-escalation area by GoS forces and allies, who reportedly took control of 46 communities in the area, including the towns of Jarjnaz and Telamnas.
The escalation of hostilities in southern Idleb displaced 298,534 individuals in December, many of whom had been previously displaced and of whom some 60 per cent – 175,540 individuals – are children and some 20 per cent – 64,087 – are women. IDPs’ movements were hindered by the volatile security situation along the access routes in the north – including airstrikes in the vicinity of major routes northward – a lack of vehicles, a wider shortage of fuel in the Idleb area, and winter conditions.
Many of the new IDPs fled to urban centers such as Idleb city, Saraqab and Ariha, and to IDP camps in north-west Idleb, which were already overstretched. Of the newly displaced families, about half live with host families or in rented houses while about 19 per cent live in camps. The most prominent needs among the newly displaced are NFIs, shelter, food, cash assistance and health services.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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