In northwest Syria, estimated 2.7 million people required humanitarian assistance in 2018. Of the 3.9 million people in northwest Syria, 1.8 million were IDPs. Throughout the year, the areas in northwest Syria witnessed continuous displacement of people. In the first half of the year, about 95,000 people were "evacuated" to Idleb from southern and central Syria as part of “local agreements”, and 137,000 people were displaced from Afrin in early 2018. In September, the establishment of a “de-militarized zone” (DMZ) in Idleb Governorate and adjacent areas significantly reduced conflict, particularly airstrikes. Nonetheless shelling and exchange of fire occurred on an almost daily basis after its creation. At the end of the year, hostilities between non-state armed groups (NSAGs) intensified in Idleb and surrounding areas. The situation was further aggravated by floods at the end of December.
The conflict in Syria continued to cause a major protection crisis, with civilians exposed to ongoing hostilities, displacement, dire conditions in sites and collective shelters hosting IDPs, and the depletion of socio-economic resources. Attacks on civilian infrastructure, including health care facilities, remained a hallmark of the crisis, with almost half of health facilities in Syria either partially functional or not functional. The protection of humanitarian and medical personnel also continued to be a key concern. More than one in three schools were damaged or destroyed as of the end of 2018. Millions of people were exposed to explosive hazards and gender-based violence (GBV) continued to affect the lives of vulnerable people. Elderly people and persons living with disabilities were also among the most vulnerable. A third of the population was estimated to be food insecure, with pockets of malnutrition persisting. Outbreaks of measles, acute bloody diarrhea, typhoid fever and leishmaniasis were reported during the year.
Humanitarian access remained difficult. Violence continued to impede humanitarian operations and affect humanitarian workers. Interference by armed groups or civilian authorities in humanitarian work continued to be a challenge, particularly in Idleb where Hayat Tahrir Al Sham (HTS), a proscribed terrorist group, took greater control and an affiliated civilian administration began running civilian affairs. Risk management and due diligence measures were strengthened, but some donors temporarily suspended operations in Idleb in September. Administrative processes for NGOs operating in northern Aleppo were often unclear and there were challenges related to conditionality being imposed on humanitarian aid. Registration for INGOs operating cross-border from Turkey was a further challenge.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.