Syrian Arab Republic: Developments in Northern Governorates - Situation Report No. 1 (as of 24 October 2015)

Highlights

  • According to the Camp Management and Camp Coordination (CCCM) cluster at least 120,000 people have been displaced in Aleppo, Hama and Idleb governorates from 05 October to 22 October 2015.

  • On 23 October, fighting between parties has cut the road from Hama to Aleppo, putting at risk an estimated 700,000 people living in government-controlled areas of the city.

  • Attacks on health facilities and health workers continue with a recorded five hospitals hit in Latmaneh (Hama) and Sarmin (Idleb) and Haritayn, Al Hader, and El Eis (Aleppo governorate).

  • IDPs have primarily fled from Kafr Zeita and Madiq Castle sub-districts in Hama, Zarbah and Khader in southern rural Aleppo, and Tamanah and Khan Shaykoun in Idleb.

  • Major needs include tents, NFI kits, ready to eat and cooked meals, food rations, water and sanitation services

  • Humanitarian partners are scaling up to meet reported needs but major gaps remain particularly in provision of tents and NFI kits.

  • The Turkey-based Humanitarian Pooled Fund will launch an emergency allocation of USD10 million to support health, camp coordination and camp management, food security and livelihoods, and non-food items and shelter cluster activities to address needs of IDPs.

Situation Overview

The Government of Syria (GoS) and its allies launched a number of offensives in Northern Hama, Aleppo and Homs in late September and October. Initially, the GoS offensive and supporting airstrikes focused on the northwest of Hama specifically Madiq Castle, Muhurdah, As-Suqulaybiyeh, Kafer Zita, Latmanhe and Suran subdistricts subsequently leading to a new wave of displacement towards Idleb and other parts of Hama. This has been accompanied by an intense aerial campaign in Jabel al-Akrad, Sahel al-Ghab, northwestern Hama countryside, Southern Aleppo and western Kweires, as well as hard-to-reach locations in Rural Homs where an estimated 1,000 families have fled from Tier Mallah, Al Ghanto and other villages towards Ar Rastan (Homs governorate). Mine action organizations reported that cluster bombs dropped in Kafar Karmsin in Idleb claimed the lives of two women, including an elderly, as well as three children on 17 October. On 20 October, an NGO supported health clinic in Sarmin (Idleb) was hit by an airstrike. At least 28 civilians were injured, including 2 NGO staff and a child under age of 5 years. Two medical personnel and 10 civilians were reportedly killed in the incident.

Idleb and Hama

As a result of aerial bombardment combined with ground offensives, there have been large-scale displacements. The CCCM cluster reported that at least 80,131 people were displaced in Idleb and Hama from 10 to 22 October. However, local humanitarian organizations working in these areas indicate that this number could be over 100,000 people. An airstrike reportedly struck an NGO run bakery and wheat mill rendering it out of service on 13 October in Saraqeb, Idleb. According to local sources, the wheat mill produced 100 tons of flour per day covering the needs of 5,000 families. Due to destruction of the facilities, the NGO announced the closure of their offices and suspended their activities, which also included small and medium enterprises that benefit poorer families in the area.

The majority of IDPs have settled in locations away from intense fighting and concentrated air attacks, but still in close proximity to their original towns and villages. Those displaced near immediate frontlines have been unable to access shelter and have set up informal settlements in outdoor areas amongst olive groves and unfinished buildings around Kafr Naboodeh, Kafr Nabool, and Heish towns. These households account for almost 40 percent of the entire population of displaced during the reporting period. Approximately 25 per cent of the households have been dispersed amongst host communities living in Adana, Madiq Castle, Ma’aret a-Numan, Kafer Nobol, Sanjar, Tamana and Hamra sub-districts. Another 15-20 per cent fled to numerous camps in the Qah area near the Turkish border. The CCCM cluster confirmed that most IDP camps and settlements in these governorates have reached their full capacity. Thus, the majority of households arriving at camps have either had to share tent space with other families or set up temporary shelter in the countryside of central Idleb and to a lesser extent in Aleppo governorate. Meanwhile, according to the Health cluster, hospitals and health facilities were targeted with airstrikes six times from 01 to 23 October particularly in Muhradah and central Hama.

Aleppo

Due to intense fighting around southern Aleppo countryside, most prominently in al-Wadiheh, Khan Touman and Abdin, according to the CCCM cluster, at least 44,568 people have fled al-Hader, Tel ed-Daman and Jebel Saman sub districts towards towns and villages in the western countryside of Aleppo from 15 to 25 October. Eyewitnesses have recounted incidents of civilians vacating entire villages in anticipation of further government expansion in the area. Al-Hader, a town of 25,000 people has been completely emptied out over the last week. Most IDPs have fled to Atareb, Qanater, and Tel Ed-Daman towns in the western countryside, with the majority of families fleeing to Zerbeh town and villages located in the sub-district.

Furthermore, since the 23 October the main access route from Hama to Aleppo Western City has been cut due to an offensive by ISIL. An estimated 700,000 people living in Western Aleppo city are at risk. The UN team in Aleppo is updating contingency stocks as well as closely monitoring the situation.

Since the beginning of October, health partners reported five aircraft attacks against hospitals and health facilities with a concentration in Jabal Saman sub-district. As the GoS and allies further intensify their push from northwestern Hama towards the M5 highway in Aleppo, airstrikes hit a number of NGO supported facilities in both Idleb and Aleppo during the reporting period. Last week, two field hospitals in al-Hader (also supported by the same NGO as Sarmin Hospital in Idleb) and el-Eiss in Aleppo were reportedly hit by bombs leading to a number of casualties and their immediate closure due to severe infrastructural damage. Additionally, earlier in the month, an airstrike hit and partially damaged a field hospital in the town of Haritayn in northern Aleppo. According to an NGO active in mine action, cluster bombs killed three children in al-Hader in south Rural Aleppo last week.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:
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