Syrian Arab Republic: Recent Developments in Northwestern Syria Situation Report No. 9 - as of 8 August 2019

Situation Report
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• Violence in northwest Syria continues, despite a conditional ceasefire between 2-5 August. The ceasefire brought brief respite for civilian populations.
• Hundreds of civilians have been killed or injured in the recent violence, and some 500,000 movements of displaced people have occurred. Within this number, some people have displaced multiple times. People have few remaining options to displace to, as most areas considered relatively safe are over-crowded and humanitarian assistance is overstretched.
• The widespread destruction of civilian infrastructure and basic services continues, with schools, health facilities, bakeries, markets, water stations, and residential areas damaged or destroyed in the fighting.
• Humanitarian response is ongoing although more funding is needed to meet needs in the coming weeks and months. Hundreds of thousands of people are receiving critical assistance essential for their survival.

500,000 Individual movements of displaced people recorded from May 1 to July 30
$22.5 MILLION Will be provided in an emergency allocation of funding from the SCHF
MORE THAN 100 Facilities providing basic services have been damaged or destroyed since late April, including schools, hospitals, and water systems
925,000 People reached with food assistance from 1 to 24 July


Fighting continues between the Government of Syria (GoS) forces and their allies and non-state armed groups (NSAGs) across southern Idleb, northern Hama and western Aleppo governorates, putting the lives and wellbeing of three million people at risk. Since the escalation of hostilities in late April, more than 500 civilians have died as a result of hostilities according to OHCHR, while data from local sources indicates that as of August 8, more than 780 civilians may have been killed. Countless others have suffered severe injuries, many of them life altering, leaving them permanently disabled. Since the beginning of May, 500,000 movements of displaced people have been recorded, with many families reporting having moved multiple times.

Severe conflict impacting civilians continued through most of the past two weeks. Over the weekend of 26-28 July, local sources reported that at least 35 civilians, including nine children and five women were killed in airstrikes in Khan Shaykun, al-Halubi, Saraqab, Maar Shurin, Ariha, Kafr Zeita and Bawabiyeh. Three of the people killed in Kafr Zeita were reportedly health workers who were killed when an airstrike impacted their ambulance. From 29 to 31 July, 32 civilians, including four women were reportedly killed due to airstrikes in Idleb and Hama Governorates.

On 1 August a conditional ceasefire was announced, starting at midnight. Between 2-4 August no airstrikes were reported in northwest Syria, and shelling was reported to stop or significantly reduce in most areas. In some areas of northern Hama Governorate continued to report regular shelling. During this period there were reports of families returning to their homes in southern Idleb, including to towns and villages that were heavily damaged by airstrikes and shelling such as Ma’arrat An Nu’man and Khan Shaykun. During the afternoon of 5 August, airstrikes resumed and the GoS announced the cancellation of the ceasefire agreement. At least four people are reported to have died in Murak in Idleb Governorate in airstrikes since then.

The violence continued to devastate civilian infrastructure and basic services. Over the weekend of 26-28 July alone, several schools, a health clinic, a bakery, and an electrical station were reportedly damaged or destroyed in Idleb and Hama Governorates. Since the escalation of the conflict in late April, at least 39 incidents involving health facilities or personnel have been recorded by WHO. Some 50 schools have also been impacted, in addition to several IDP settlements, and many bakeries, markets, facilities providing protection services, mosques, and similar services. The scale of the destruction is immense. Satellite imagery obtained from UNOSAT (United Nations Operational Satellite Applications Programme) shows at least 17 entire villages which have been almost completely destroyed, including residential and commercial areas. Many others show more moderate damage. Overall, since late April, at least 39 incidents involving health facilities or personnel have been reported. On 1 August, the UN Secretary-General announced the establishment of an internal United Nations Board of Inquiry to investigate incidents that have occurred in northwest Syria since the signing of the Memorandum on Stabilization of the Situation in the Idlib De-escalation Area between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Turkey on 17 September 2018.

People in northwest Syria are suffering intensely under the threat of violence, destruction of whole communities, and the overcrowded conditions in areas considered relatively safe near the Turkish border. Some choose to remain in dangerous locations as they feel there is nowhere left to go. According to a recent humanitarian assessment, 60% of recently displaced individuals interviewed in camps stated that they are not planning to move. The cessation of airstrikes during the conditional ceasefire from 2-4 August was a brief respite from the most severe violence for civilians in many areas, while the resumption of airstrikes since then has once again put the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of people in jeopardy.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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