• Violence in northwest Syria has continued unabated since the beginning of May and is putting civilians at risk and impeding the delivery of humanitarian assistance.
• Humanitarian response is ongoing with hundreds of thousands of people receiving critical assistance essential for their survival. Violence in areas directly affected by conflict is driving displacement into densely-populated areas, putting a strain on service delivery for humanitarian actors. Partners are assessing the most urgent needs and gaps across the response to address these.
• A further escalation of violence, triggering waves of displacement and impeding humanitarian access and provision of humanitarian assistance risks overwhelming an already stretched response.
The conflict in northwest Syria is exacting a heavy toll on civilians as the hostilities in the Idleb de-escalation zone between the Government of Syria (GoS) and allied forces and non-state armed groups (NSAGs) continue. Heightened levels of violence continued unabated for two months, displacing hundreds of thousands of people, disrupting the provision of basic services, and killing and injuring large numbers of civilians.
The humanitarian impact of airstrikes and shelling on civilians, particularly those reported taking place in densely-populated areas, continue to compound an already dire humanitarian situation. Local sources are reporting that hundreds of civilians, including women and children, have been killed due to airstrikes and shelling and many others have been injured.
Civilian infrastructure, including schools, hospitals and IDP settlements, are being damaged or rendered inoperable across northern Hama and southern Idleb governorates. This has led to the interruption or discontinuation of vital services to affected populations in these locations. Since the end of April, at least 25 health facilities and 45 schools have been damaged due to airstrikes and shelling in northern Hama and southern Idleb governorates. Most recently, an NGO ambulance was destroyed by airstrikes at the outskirts of Ma’arrat An Nu’man town on 20 June, claiming the lives of three NGO workers as well as the patient. On 26 June, two local responders were reportedly killed in Khan Shaykun when they were responding to help the injured in the aftermath of an airstrike. The destruction of vital civilian infrastructure, coupled with the precarious overall security situation, hampers the provision of humanitarian services to people in need across northwest Syria, and in many cases is potentially in breach of international humanitarian law (IHL). To avoid humanitarian activities being impacted by conflict, OCHA provide – with the consent of partners - the locations of facilities or planned movements to parties to the conflict through a humanitarian notification - “deconfliction” mechanism. With this information, parties to the conflict can avoid impacting these locations as a result of military activity.
Since the beginning of May to 13 June, some 330,000 people were displaced from northern Hama and southern Idleb governorates. There are reports of an estimated 850 families, moving out of NSAG-held areas to GoS-held areas. A small number of recently displaced individuals have headed to northern Aleppo governorate, whereas the vast majority have been displaced within Idleb Governorate. Newly displaced individuals are moving to areas that are already densely-populated, such as the Dana sub-district. This puts humanitarian operations that are already at or above capacity under considerable strain. While humanitarian actors in these areas scaled up their operations within the scope of their ongoing programming, several partners are voicing their concerns that they are depleting their existing resources and will need further support to continue providing services to both the newly displaced individuals and the existing caseload in host communities.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.