Following a military escalation and a series of local reconciliation agreements, the Government of Syria (GoS) have taken control of eastern rural Dar’a, including the Nasib border crossing. This has triggered the return movement or onward displacement of most IDPs that had previously settled in the Nasib border area.
Despite the return of tens of thousands of IDPs, it is estimated that up to 234,500 people remain displaced across south-west Syria. Some 70 per cent of them, around 160,000 people, are currently located in Quneitra, some in close proximity to the Golan area, with limited access to humanitarian assistance.
The United Nations and humanitarian partners have mobilized a response, both cross-border and from within Syria, reaching tens of thousands of people with critical life-saving assistance. A further scale-up of assistance is needed to support populations in need across the whole affected area.
The UN and partners require a total of $84.8 million to support 300,000 affected people with protection and assistance across south-west Syria.
Following a military escalation and a series of local reconciliation agreements, the GoS, on 6 June, took control of eastern rural Dar’a and, on 9 July, of the adjacent border area, including the Nasib crossing, Ramtha and Tal Shihab.
All IDPs that had been displaced to the Duty Free area by the Nasib border crossing with Jordan have since left the area, and tens of thousands are estimated to have returned to their areas of origin, while others remain in displacement. At the same time, fighting in the Yarmouk area, which is currently controlled by an ISIL-affiliated group, has led to some initial displacement towards Quneitra. If fighting were to continue, further displacement can be expected. Generally speaking, the situation on the ground remains fluid and subject to sudden changes, and requires the humanitarian community to constantly adapt their response plans and activities to the new situation on the ground.
The return movement in the eastern part of Dar’a has resulted in a reduction in the overall number of IDPs; however, up to 234,500 individuals remain internally displaced across the affected areas. Up to 160,000 people, close to 70 per cent of the displaced population, are located in Quneitra, some in close proximity to the Golan area, with some 6,000 – 15,000 in the area under UNDOF supervision. While the Government of Israel has made it clear that no IDPs will be permitted to enter into its territory, they reported to have provided 30 designated aid operations to IDPs in the area. The living conditions for the IDPs are dire, with many located in open areas, camps and informal settlements. Tens of thousands of IDPs are without adequate shelter and remain exposed to high temperatures and desert winds. A couple of impromptu medical points and field hospitals provide some basic medical services to IDPs, and a local NGO is distributing remaining food rations and bread from cross-border deliveries and other stocks. However, anecdotal reports indicate that food quantities are merely sufficient to cover the needs of some 25 per cent of the IDPs. The United Nations and partners currently have no access, be it crossborder or cross-line, to IDPs in Quneitra, and continue to advocate for unimpeded access to provide assistance and protection to all affected populations.
Since 17 June, some 20,000 IDPs are estimated to have used established corridors or informal routes to cross into GoS-controlled areas. These IDP families have largely settled in host communities, in arrangements often facilitated by family or tribal affiliations, or in established collective shelters. This includes some 2,200 – 2,500 individuals remaining in the Jbab shelter in north Dar’a, and some 53 families from Dar’a in the Rassas collective centre in AsSweida, after 22 were authorised to leave the site.
Fighting and insecurity throughout south-west Syria has led to price inflation and further escarbated the needs on the ground. In some communities, the prices have increased by 276 per cent for bread, by 150 per cent for bulgur and by 180 per cent for lentils. Furthermore, communities report that major fuel supply routes are severed and the cost of transportation fuel in comparison to May has increased by 189 per cent to 422 per cent. Such price increases further negatively affected the ability of the humanitarian community to deliver services, such as water trucking and mobile medical services. Many protection services, including for GBV, child protection and psycho-social support, were suspended due to the displacement of staff of the organisation providing services, lack of access and security concerns.
The last cross-border convoy was dispatched on 25 June, with the convoy scheduled for 27 June and a second for 28 June currently stationed at the Ramtha crossing, waiting for permission and security guarantees to be dispatched to Tal Shihab. The recent shift in control along large parts of border, currently under GoS, complicatesthe continued delivery of cross-border assistance. Many cross-border partners have also been displaced in many areas impacting the continued delivery of assistance and services. From within Syria, WFP, through SARC, has distributed read-toeat food rations to an estimated 16,550 people in As-Sweida, Dar’a, Rural Damascus and Quneitra and monthly food rations with wheat four to an estimated 45,050 people the Jbab camp in As-Sanaymyn and in Abtaa and Da’el in West Dar’a, as of 11 July. Multi-sectoral assistance, including food, WASH, shelter/NFIs and health have been provided to those residing in collective shelters in Jbab and Rassas.
Further deliveries from inside Syria are planned for the coming days, and on 12 July, a multi-sectoral UN team will conduct a rapid assessment in a number of villages receiving food assistance.
The UN and partners continue to call for humanitarian access to all IDPs in need of assistance, regardless of where they are located, and reconfirm their readiness to expand the humanitarian assistance throughout the south-west, either from within Syria or from across the border in Jordan. The UN further calls on all parties to the conflict to facilitate the provision of humanitarian aid and protection to people in need, in line with their obligations under international humanitarian law.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.