Syrian Arab Republic: Recent Developments in Northwestern Syria Situation Report No. 7 - as of 12 July 2019
High levels of violence continued in northwest Syria in the last two weeks and is putting civilians at risk and impeding the delivery of humanitarian assistance. Hundreds of people have died as the result of the escalation in violence since the end of April, including several humanitarian workers.
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 denselypopulated areas, putting a strain on service delivery for humanitarian actors. A joint assessment is currently being finalized that will provide an overview of needs in the most affected areas.
Civilian infrastructure, including humanitarian facilities, continues to be damaged or destroyed in the violence. In the last two weeks, at least four medical facilities have been impacted by the violence, with several other unconfirmed reports, as well as a water station serving over 80,000 people, and several schools, IDP settlements, markets and bakeries.
1.2 MILLION people planned to be assisted with food rations in July in northwest Syria
4,981 individuals reached with protection services from from 25 June to 8 July
115,447 Individuals already assisted with NFIs
93,172 Individuals to be assisted in the coming weeks
330,000 Displacements in the past 2.5 months
220,547 people reached with WASH assistance
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 have continued unabated for more than 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 to be taking place in denselypopulated areas, continues 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, with unconfirmed reports of over 150 deaths in the last two weeks alone. This included one humanitarian health worker who was attending to civilians injured in a hospital. On July 9, an airstrike was reported to impact an unregistered IDP camp in Eastern Deir town in Idleb governorate, killing two women and two children.At least 330,000 people have been displaced in the violence in the last two and a half months, with localized reports of more occurring.
Civilian infrastructure, including schools, hospitals and IDP settlements, have been damaged or rendered inoperable across northern Hama and Idleb Governorates. This has led to the interruption or discontinuation of critical services to people in these locations. On 6 July, the water station in Basida in the south of Idleb Governorate was damaged by airstrikes and ceased operating. It is estimated that the network supported by the water station served over 80,000 people. A car bomb in Afrin city on 11 July killed at least ten people and injured many more, and impacted buildings around it, including an NGO office. Airstrikes in Kafr Nobol on 5 July reportedly destroyed or damaged vital civilian infrastructure and housing, including two hospitals that have reportedly been damaged and put out of service. One of the hospitals was impacted on 5 July and provided an average of 4,290 medical outpatient consultations, 400 inpatients and 265 major surgeries per month. On 10 July, the Ma’arrat An Nu’man National Hospital was reportedly impacted by airstrikes, while 250 people were inside, including 70 patients and 48 children and infants. No casualties were reported but the facility had to be evacuated. The facility served a monthly average of 14,976 medical outpatient consultations, 1,526 hospital admissions, 673 major surgeries, and 3,688 minor surgeries. Information on the location of both these hospitals had been provided to parties to the conflict as part of the humanitarian notification system (or “deconfliction”) to help prevent such incidents. Also on July 10, airstrikes were reported to have impacted a hospital in Jisr-Ash-Shughur city, with reports of civilians killed or injured during the hostilities. Overall, at least four health facilities have been impacted in the past two weeks, with reports of several other incidents having been received. Since the escalation of the conflict in late April, at least 35 incidents involving health facilities or personnel have been recorded, and some 50 incidents involving schools. In addition to health facilities, in the past two weeks, reports have been received of five schools, three IDP settlements, two bakeries, two markets, one water station, and one mosque being impacted by the ongoing violence.
The damage and destruction of vital civilian infrastructure is, potentially, in breach of international humanitarian law (IHL). The impact on infrastructure used to deliver basic services, coupled with the precarious overall security situation, hampers the provision of humanitarian services to people in need across northwest Syria, and in many cases. To avoid humanitarian activities being impacted by conflict, OCHA provides – with the consent of partners – the locations of facilities or planned movements to parties to the conflict through a humanitarian notification (or “deconfliction”) mechanism. With this information, parties to the conflict can avoid impacting these locations with military activity. If these facilities are impacted by violence, the parties to the conflict are notified and an investigation into the incident is requested. Several such incidents have occurred since the recent upsurge in violence at the end of April.