Syrian Arab Republic: Dar’a, Quneitra, As-Sweida Situation Report No. 4 as of 26 July 2018 [EN/AR]
For the past five weeks, sustained hostilities in south-west Syria have continued to affect civilians and civilian infrastructure. While initial displacement numbers have reduced significantly to a current estimate of 165,200 to 182,600 individuals, the needs of IDPs and returnees remain severe, yet, the UN continues to lack sustained access to the affected population.
While some assistance could be dispatched, the UN continues to advocate for regular and sustained access to provide assistance and protection services to all people in need across all affected areas. The UN continues to seek cross-line access from the Government of Syria to provide assistance and conduct needs assessments in Quneitra Governorate, which is currently hosting a large IDP population.
Many NGO partners and health staff in areas that recently came under GoS control are concerned for their safety, and have requested security guarantees for their protection and ability to continue operating. The UN calls for the protection of humanitarian workers and health staff, and emphasizes that a continuity of services must be ensured to address humanitarian needs.
The UN and partners, both from within Syria and cross-border, require a total of $84.8 million to support 300,000 affected people with protection and assistance across south-west Syria.
Following five weeks of sustained hostilities in Southern Syria, as many as 182,618 people remain displaced from their areas of origin. The Government of Syria has made rapid territorial gains over the past weeks, and currently only a stretch of land near the Golan area remains under Non-State Armed Group-control (NSAG), while a 200 km2 area is under the control of the ISIL-affiliated Jaysh Khaled Bin Walid Waleed group (JKBW). The United Nations are very concerned regarding JKBW’s policy of restricting the freedom of movement of civilians who are trying to leave the area, and only limited numbers of civilians were able to escape. While the current number of civilians trapped in the JKBW-controlled area could not be confirmed, the UN estimated that prior to the escalation of hostilities up to 55,000 people were located in said area, noting that several thousands have reportedly since managed to flee.
Those who stay behind remain subject to heightened hostilities. For example, between 21 and 23 July, intense airstrikes were reported on JKBW-held areas in the Yarmouk Basin, including on al-Shajra, Hayt, Tasil, Jellin, Sahm al-Golan, Adwan and Tal al-Jumou’, and various reports suggest that at least 32 civilians were killed, including eleven children and three women. On 25 July, an ISIL suicide attack in Sweida city resulted in over 240 casualties and injured at least 170 people.
The UN is further particularly concerned about the humanitarian situation of the 100,000 individuals in the Golan area, who continue to face hostilities and lack access to assistance and services. Cross-border humanitarian actors in the western area report that they only have limited supplies left, while shelter and NFI supplies are already depleted and cannot fully be restocked due to a lack of access and only limited ability to source from local markets.
Humanitarian partners based in Damascus have still not been granted the necessary approvals to access the populations in the Quneitra area, and consequently, there are significant unmet needs that continue to increase at dramatic scale.
Due to developments on the ground and restriction in access to both warehouses and to people in need, the small operational space for humanitarian partners continues to shrink further. Such developments particularly affect the cross-border response, with the last cross-border convoy under SCR 2165 and subsequent resolutions dispatched from Jordan on 25 June. Many local responders and former cross-border partners are currently themselves subject to displacement, which has led to a loss of local capacity and the suspension of most protection interventions and a significant scale-down of others. Furthermore, the suspension of cross-border deliveries has resulted in a slowing down of hygiene kits distribution and has limited the ability to construct emergency latrines.
WASH Sector partners have also reported that many water trucking services provided from cross-border partners stopped due to a lack of access, security and the high cost or lack of fuel. The nutrition-related activities of Jordan-based partners in eastern Dar’a have also been suspended. Given this dire situation, the United Nations is urgently appealing for immediate and unimpeded access to all people in need in the south-west, particularly in the Golan area.