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Syrian Arab Republic: Humanitarian Situation in Dara’a, Qunaitra and As-Sweida Governorates Situation Report No. 6 (3 - 16 August 2018) [EN/AR]

Format
Situation Report
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Posted
Originally published

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Highlights

  • In the past two weeks, as the Government of Syria regained most of the South-West and local agreements were reached, hundreds of displaced families returned to their areas of orgin in Dara’a and Qunaitra Governorates.

  • The number of displaced people has reduced significantly, from an estimated 184,000 on 1 August to up to 57,000 people as of 16 August.

  • Life-saving humanitarian assistance and services are being provided by the UN and its partners across the South-West. During the reporting period, two UN inter-agency convoys took place: in Dara’a Al-Balad for 32,500 people and Busra al-Sham for 7,500 people.

  • The large numbers of returns has not reduced the need for humanitarian assistance and protection services. The internally displaced and those who are returing are in significant need of multi-sectoral assistance and services, especially given the suspension of cross-border activities.

  • According to partners on the ground, the mobility of the population is sometimes hindered by lack of documentation, ongoing security processes for some individuals, or simply by unaffordable transport costs.

Situational Overview

During the reporting period, the Government of Syria (GoS) regained control of Dara’a Governorate and most of Quneitra Governorate, with the exception of a small area in the south-west (Al Ragad valley), where a number of ISIL fighters remain present and there are ongoing military activities. The GoS also began a military campaign in Al Badia in As-Sweida Governorate against ISIL, where the latter controlled parts of the desert area. As of 12 August, GoS forces reportedly took control of a large portion of Al Badia and the entire administrative boundary of As-Sweida governorate.

In the past two weeks, as the GoS regained most of the South-West and local agreements were reached, hundreds of displaced families returned to their areas of orgin in Dara’a and Qunaitra governorate. As a result, the number of displaced people has reduced significantly, from an estimated 184,000 on 1 August to up to 57,000 people as of 16 August. While the exact numbers of returnees in still unknown, during the reporting period, large numbers of families returned to their homes via Khan Arnabah – Ofania crossing and Al Ba’ath city – Hameidiyyeh crossing; where they returned to Jbata Elkhashab (1,500 families), Hameidiyyeh (400 families), Mashara (400 families), Um Batna (600 families) and to Nabe Elsakher where the number of returnees and local residents reached to 1,300 families.

On 11 August, 452 people - including 196 men, 94 women, and 162 children – were evacuated from Dara’a Governorate to NSAG-controlled parts of Idlib and Aleppo governorates. With the latest evauation, a total of 10,516 combatants and civilians were evacuated from South-West Syria (Dara’a and Qunaitra) since 15 July. In the eastern region of As-Sweida, hundreds families were displaced by the recent military campaign, most reportedly being hosted in host communities.

Life-saving humanitarian assistance and services are being provided by the UN and its partners across the South-West. In partnership with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC), food assistance has been provided to over 390,000 people. In addition, there have been deliveries of nutrition and health supplies; emergency WASH and education interventions and some shelter support and protection services. During the reporting period, two UN inter-agency convoys took place, complementing the food deliveries. On 9 August, SARC delivered hygiene kits, sanitary items and core relief items for 32,500 people in Dara’a Al-Balad. On 16 August, a UN/SARC inter-agency team delivered nutrition, health, water, hygiene and sanitation and other non-food humanitarian assistance for 37,500 people and conducted a rapid needs assessment in Busra al-Sham, Dara’a Governorate.

Many of the internally displaced and those who are returing are in significant need of multi-sectoral assistance and services, especially since cross-border operations were suspended towards the end of June/beginning of July, causing a gap in assistance and services. The large numbers of returns has not reduced the need for humanitarian assistance and protection services. Some towns and villages have witnessed significant damage and people’s livelihoods have been affected, especially in the agricultural sector. The UN and its partners will now seek to complement the delivery of life-saving assistance through convoys with more regular humanitarian programmes, focused on service delivery, which will require more sustained access and necessary Government approvals.

According to partners on the ground, the mobility of the population is sometimes hindered by lack of documentation, ongoing security processes for some individuals, or simply by unaffordable transport costs. There are also reports of significant unexploded weapons contamination, especially in the Yarmouk Basin and in Dara’a Governorate, where there have been reports of numerous deaths and injuries as a result. Currently, information on humanitarian needs and protection, particulalry in Qunaitra Governorate remain a serious gap and access is needed to carry out detailed sectoral assessments.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.