Syria + 3 more

UNRWA Syria crisis situation update Issue 40, 30 March 2013

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Regional Overview

The situation in Syria continues to deteriorate, particularly in the areas of Damascus/Rif Damascus Governorate, Aleppo, Dera’a and Homs. Violence has led to displacement and compounded humanitarian needs. As the armed conflict has progressively escalated since the launch of UNRWA’s Syria Crisis Response 2013, the number of Palestine refugees in Syria in need of humanitarian assistance has risen to over 400,000 individuals. The number of Palestine refugees from Syria who have fled to Jordan has reached 4,856 individuals and approximately 33,000 refugees are in Lebanon.

Syria

  • At least twenty refugees were killed as a result of hostilities during the last week, with two confirmed deaths in Dera’a and the rest around Damascus;

  • An UNRWA bus transporting staff to work was shot at in the eastern part of Damascus, in what is believed to be a random shooting;

  • Hostilities subsided considerably across Damascus and Rif Damascus Governorate, although a few shells impacted on Yarmouk, Sbeineh, Seyeda Zaynab and Husseiniyeh. A suicide bombing apparently targeted a senior cleric late last week, and a significant increase in mortars subsequently targeted the city centre;

  • The last week has seen a significant displacement of refugees in southern Rif Damascus Governorate, including the areas of Sbeineh, Seyeda Zaynab and Husseiniyeh;

  • Mortars impacted within the parking lot of the Sheraton hotel where international staff of other agencies are residing in Damascus;

  • Hostilities continue in various parts of Aleppo and around Nairab camp, especially the adjacent airport;

  • Intensive hostilities also continued in Homs, particularly around Bab Amr. There are reports that a stray shell impacted on the adjacent camp. For the most part, camps in the central area remained relatively calm;

  • The southern part of Dera’a town continues to see regular shelling, with clashes increasingly spreading to the centre of town. Security forces operations in the area and severe restrictions have significantly hampered UNRWA movements throughout the south. There are reports that the border to Jordan remains closed.

Despite security restrictions and limited access to conflict-affected areas, since the start of the conflict in March 2011, UNRWA’s network of some 3,600 staff has delivered food parcels to 30,166 families as well as 40,835 blankets, 2,829 hygiene kits, and 14,908 mattresses. UNRWA has provided cash assistance to 73,076 families since the start of the conflict.

Currently, there are approximately 13,971 IDPs sheltering in UNRWA-managed facilities in Syria, of which nearly 8,000 are in UNRWA buildings (e.g. schools and training centres) that are being used as make-shift emergency shelters. The IDPs are dependent on humanitarian assistance for their basic food, NFI and health needs.