Syrian Arab Republic: Cross-Border Humanitarian Reach and Activities from Turkey (March 2021)



In March, daily shelling in northwest Syria continued to impact communities and cause civilian casualties, mostly concentrated on areas around frontlines. In addition, airstrikes and similar bombardment were also noted near the Bab Al-Hawa border area on 21 and 22 March, which led to losses of critical supplies by humanitarian organizations, the suspension of aid deliveries, as well as casualties at an NGO run hospital in Atareb (seven people killed and 14 people injured including medical staff). Further casualties were also reported from incidents caused by improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and explosive remnants of war (ERW). In March, heavy winds across northwest Syria affected 88 IDP sites and led to the damage of more than 1,521 tents. The value of the Syrian Pound (SYP) continued to deteriorate significantly during the month and reached new historical lows. However, by the end of the month the SYP recovered returning to the exchange rates of early March. The volatility of the SYP continues to affect the prices of goods and services, with the mainstreaming of the Turkish Lira (TRY) seen on many commodities such as fuel, bread, transport, electricity and telecommunications services. The devaluation of the SYP, mainstreaming of the TRY and economic turbulence over the past year have significantly eroded people’s ability to meet their basic needs. The number of confirmed new COVID-19 cases continued to decline in March, as preparations for the vaccination roll-out were ongoing. Following three months of COVID-19 related weekend restrictions at the Bab-Al Hawa border crossing, individual crossing restrictions were lifted in March as a result of the easing of COVID-19 measures applied in Turkey. As of March, more than 2.7 million people were displaced in northwest Syria, of whom some 1.6 million live in IDP camps. CCCM reports that some 29,000 displacements were recorded in March, primarily from the Idleb, Afrin and Dana subdistricts, while the Afrin, Raju and Sharan sub-districts received most new arrivals. Some 5,202 displaced people reportedly returned to their place of origin in northwest Syria in March, primarily to Ehsem in Idleb governorate, followed by Ariha and Mhambal.


UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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