• With the start of the 2018-2019 academic year, UNICEF and partners continue scaling-up outreach efforts to help children access education, focusing on out-of-school children (around one in three school-age Syrian children 5-17 years old in Syria crisis countries in 2017).¹ The education response in Syria and Syrian refugee host countries is 66% (US$395.3 million) funded against the US$601.3 million appeal, with the highest gaps recorded in Iraq (69% against US$13.5 million requirement) followed by Turkey (38% against US$194.4 million requirement) and Lebanon and Syria (33% each against US$233 million and US$79.1 million, respectively) as of 15 October 2018. This includes funds carried from the previous year. Urgent funds are required to support access to quality education to all children.
• In September, the Ministry of Education for the Kurdistan Region of Iraq has announced that Syria’s Ministry of Education will recognize all student certificates issued in Iraq, regardless of language used as medium of instruction. This recognition may help to encourage higher levels of formal enrolment among refugee children in Iraq.
• Due to a temporary closure in September, internally displaced Syrians were prevented from accessing the only medical facility for the Rukban camp located three kilometers into the buffer zone with Jordan. The clinic resumed work as of 22 September, following advocacy and protest campaigns in the camp. The overall humanitarian situation inside Rukban remains critical as minimal assistance has been delivered since January 2018.
• Since the beginning of the year, UNICEF and partners in Syria and Syrian refugee host countries supported almost 575,000 children and adults to access structured and sustained child protection, psychosocial support and parenting programmes. UNICEF also supported over three million people to access clean water and screened an estimated more than 852,000 children and pregnant and lactating women for acute malnutrition.
1 Over 2 million OOSC in Syria and over 689,000 in Syrian refugee host countries. Source: Syria crisis education response update, September 2018 & We Made a Promise: Ensuring Learning Pathways and Protection for Syrian Children and Youth, No Lost Generation (NLG) report, April 2018.
Situation in Numbers
- In Syria
# of children affected
- 13.1 million
# of people affected
- Outside Syria Over 2.5 million
# of registered Syria refugee children
- Over 5.6 million
# of registered Syrian refugees
(UNHCR, 14 October 2018)
- **UNICEF Appeal 2018
US$ 1.272 Billion
- Funding Status
US$ 857.2 Million
Situation Overview and Humanitarian Needs:
Hostilities against areas controlled by non-state armed groups in North-West Syria that intensified in early September, have significantly reduced from the 17th of the month following a Turkish and Russian agreement to establish a demilitarized buffer zone2. Initial return movement of internally displaced people (IDPs) has been reported. Tentatively, the estimated number of returning IDPs has reached around 30,000 people. Return movements have particularly been noted in south-eastern Idlib (Al-Tamana’, Jarjanaz towns and northern Hama).3 The education office in Kafar Zita in northern rural Hama Governorate has reportedly announced the suspension of education activities in the town from 2 to 15 September due to security concerns in the area. The decision affected some 2,000 primary and secondary level students.
On 25 September, Abu Al Thohour crossing was re-opened to facilitate the return of IDPs to their places of origin in government-controlled areas in Sinjar, Abu Al Thohour (Idlib) and in Hama and Aleppo Governorates. Emergency food items were distributed to people at the crossing point. UNICEF through, its implementing partner, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC), is already responding in areas of reception for previous waves of IDPs from Idlib and is scaling-up its intervention in non-food items (NFIs) and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH)4 to cover the immediate needs of new arrivals.
Local relief actors in Nabul and Zahraa in northern Syria estimate around 5,000 people were displaced towards Aleppo city, and other areas. There have been indications of pre-emptive displacements induced by fears of retaliatory strikes as Idlib military escalation seemed imminent just before the Russian and Turkish agreement on the creation of the demilitarized zone5. UNICEF has put in place a response plan with potential scenarios to respond to the humanitarian needs through different modalities. At the time of writing of this report humanitarian access remains possible in Idlib, western Aleppo and northern Hama through cross-border operations. UNICEF and its partners continue to deliver regular programming, while adjusting strategies to the new operational environment.
Furthermore, OCHA’s latest reports indicate that 27,000-30,000 IDPs were displaced from Hajin (Deir-ez-Zor Governorate), controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) since June 2018. Most recent estimates indicate about 10,000 people remaining in the enclave being in dire need of humanitarian aid. In the last week of September, UNICEF-supported facilitators visited the area and conducted a rapid needs assessment followed by an emergency response delivering hygiene items, water disinfectants, and preventive nutritional items for children and pregnant and lactating women.
Due to a temporary closure, IDPs were prevented from accessing the only medical facility for the Rukban camp located three kilometres into the buffer zone with Jordan. The clinic resumed work as of 22 September, following advocacy and protest campaigns in the camp. The overall humanitarian situation inside Rukban remains critical as minimal assistance has been delivered since January 2018. OCHA reports that food availability is rapidly decreasing and access to water is currently intermittent.
Additionally, an estimated 4,000-5,000 people reportedly left Rukban since May 2018 due to the dire humanitarian situation, paying high informal fees to facilitate their safe passage. An ad-hoc request to reach 50,000 individuals in the Rukban camp with an interagency convoy comprising of multi-sectoral assistance with UNICEF participation is pending approval from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs despite initial security guarantees from other actors.