• In Syria, military activity in parts of the country including in besieged Eastern Ghouta (particularly Duma and Nashabiyah), Idleb, northern Hama and southern Aleppo governorates significantly impacted the civilian population and affecting the ability of United Nations agencies and their partners to deliver life-saving humanitarian assistance. However, UNICEF reached some 570,000 people in 67 hard-to-reach locations with life-saving interventions and critical services in WASH, education, health and nutrition, child protection, and youth and adolescent development, while no inter-agency convoys proceeded in the reporting month.
• Between 8-12 January in Jordan, a UN interagency operation successfully delivered food and other essential items to 9,740 Syrian households (estimated 48,700 people) seeking asylum near Rukban along the Syrian-Jordanian border. UNICEF coordinated the delivery which included family hygiene kits and children’s winter clothing (from UNICEF); food packages (from WFP); jerry cans, plastic sheets, and solar lanterns (from UNHCR); women’s hygiene dignity kits (from UNFPA); and bread (from IOM).
• In Turkey, 311,926 refugee children received a conditional cash transfer for education (CCTE) payment in January for attending school regularly in preceding months, nearly a 60 per cent increase in beneficiaries over the previous payment in November 2017.
• UNICEF and partners in Lebanon continue to face significant funding gaps for WASH, and immunization at the border, with lower than required vaccination rates putting Lebanon at risk of contamination of polio from Syria.
• As of 23 February, the 2018 UNICEF appeals for Syria and the Syrian Refugees are 37% and 43% funded respectively, including funds carried-forward from the previous year. Sustained donor funding will be critical to help UNICEF reach vulnerable children with safe water, nutrition, education, health and protection in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt and Turkey.
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs: During the reporting period, military activity in parts of the country including in besieged Eastern Ghouta (particularly Duma and Nashabiyah), Idleb, northern Hama and southern Aleppo governorates significantly impacted the civilian population, resulting in death, injury and displacement, damage to vital infrastructure such as hospitals and schools, and affecting the ability of United Nations agencies and their partners to deliver life-saving humanitarian assistance. From 15 December 2017 through 29 January, over 300,000 displacements were recorded in Idleb and Aleppo governorates with some IDPs also moving to neighbouring districts in other governorates from Idleb1. On 20 January, Turkish forces, along with Turkish-backed Syrian non-State armed opposition groups, launched the military operation “Olive Branch” in the Afrin district of Aleppo governorate. The ground and air offensive targeted territories held by the Kurdish Self Administration (KSA) close to Turkey-Syria border. Local sources estimate that tens of thousands of people have been displaced largely within the district as both the KSA and Government of Syria (GOS) are reportedly preventing people from leaving so far. As for North-East of Syria, some 66,000 civilians have reportedly returned to Raqqa city since October 2017. However, the majority of neighborhoods in the city are unsafe due to the proliferation of unexploded ordnances, landmines and improvised explosive devices posing a direct risk to civilians as well as humanitarian workers. In addition, insecurity has prevented UN staff from accessing both Bab-Al-Hawa and Bab-Al-Salam border crossings from January 20. Although access to Bab Al Hawa resumed on 30 January, 16 truckloads of UNICEF supplies were delayed. The cross-border operation through Bab-Al-Salam remained closed to UN staff.
UNICEF’s Response to Besieged (BSG) and Hard-to-Reach (HTR) locations: No inter-agency convoys proceeded during this month, while UNICEF reached some 570,000 people in 67 hard-to-reach (HTR) locations with life-saving interventions and critical services through all modalities, including regular programmes in the areas of WASH, education, health and nutrition, child protection, and youth and adolescent development.