Turkey | Syria: Flash Update - Developments in Northwestern Syria (as of 5 March 2016)

Highlights

  • While the cessation of hostilities has reduced the level of violence, armed conflict, including airstrikes, continue, in particular in and around Azaz, Daret Azza and eastern Aleppo City.

  • Cross-border assistance continues in response to increasing population displacement and to preposition stocks in key areas such as eastern Aleppo city.

Situation Overview

Since the cessation of hostilities agreement came into effect on February 27, there has been a considerable reduction in hostilities across Syria. However, outbreaks of armed conflict have been reported, resulting in deaths and injuries. Nonetheless, the reduction in hostilities has improved humanitarian access to many communities in northwestern governorates.

In the last week GoS forces pushed ISIL fighters from along the Khanasir Road and are currently in control of the supply route into GoS western Aleppo city. This has enabled commercial and humanitarian related deliveries into the city in recent days.

In the Sheikh Maqsoud area of Aleppo city, Kurdish YPG forces have continued to launch assaults on the one remaining supply route into eastern Aleppo City, specifically Castello Road, hindering humanitarian agencies and civilians entering and exiting eastern Aleppo city. Humanitarian consignments and civilian cars have come under YPG sniper fire, leading to daily, intermittent closures of the road. On 1 March, the Aleppo city civil defense team reported a driver killed by machine gun fire. According to the local city council he was a contractor carrying five tons of wheat intended for contingency stocks in eastern Aleppo city.

North of Aleppo city, in the Daret Azza sub district on February 26, YPG and GoS ground forces launched an offensive towards the towns of Sheikh Aqil and Qabtan al-Jabel. Meanwhile airstrikes hit towns in the Daret Azza and Haritan sub districts on February 27 and 28. As a result of these hostilities, according to local monitoring teams, 6,000 people fled from Daret Azza, Sheikh Aqil and Qabtan al-Jabel towns to the western Aleppo countryside and Idleb governorate between February 26 and 29.

Further north in the Azaz sub district, IDPs are enclosed and unable to move between Afrin and GoS-held territories around Tel Refaat town. Frontlines along the Azaz corridor and the closure to civilian traffic at the Bab alSalam border crossing by Turkish authorities have hindered the movement of displaced families fleeing from the fighting. Recent closures of checkpoints controlled by armed groups between Afrin and Azaz has also restricted humanitarian access to IDPs in Afrin district.

Cross Border statistics show that humanitarian assistance continues to increase

From February 15 to March 4 2016, under UN Security Council resolution 2165/2258, WFP, UNFPA, UNICEF, WHO, IOM shipped 386 truckloads of FSL, Health, NFI and WASH assistance using the Bab al-Hawa and Bab alSalam border crossings. This was a marginal decrease (six trucks) from the preceding three weeks, but a marked increase in comparison to the corresponding period in February 2015, in which the UN shipped 319 truckloads of aid during the whole month. The shipped assistance is to target 892,425 individuals with FSL assistance in Aleppo, Hama and Idleb Governorates; 120,128 individuals with Health assistance in Idleb, Hama, Lattakia and Aleppo Governorates; 17,141 individuals with NFI in Idleb and Aleppo Governorates; and 99,141 individuals with WASH assistance in Idleb and Aleppo Governorates.

From February 15 to March 2, 2016, using Turkish Red Crescent channels, NGOs shipped 324 truckloads worth of FSL, Health, NFI and WASH assistance using four border crossings, Bab el Salam and Bab el Hawa as well as Yayladağı (Yamadiya) and Bükülmez (Atmeh) border crossings. During this period Bab al-Hawa and Bab al-Salam were also open for commercial traffic, but remained closed for civilians to cross.

The HPF Emergency Reserve Allocation to respond to the current crisis has been doubled

Thirty-four projects valued at $18.5 million have been selected for funding by the HPF to support the current emergency response. Fourteen projects are underway, and others are in the final stages of contracting. Funds are expected to be released this week.

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