This assessment presents an analysis of data collected by REACH enumerators between 22 and 24 July 2014 in Ar-Raqqa city. The findings from this assessment highlight sector specific – Food, Health and Water – humanitarian needs and gaps in order to inform the relief response for affected populations in Ar-Raqqa city. This assessment does not aim to provide detailed programmatic information; it is designed to share with a broad audience a concise overview of the current situation in this area and to guide further assessments.
The city of Ar-Raqqa is located on the north bank of the Euphrates River, in the northeast governorate of Ar-Raqqa, in Syria. Ar-Raqqa city has been fully controlled by a third-armed party group since January 2014, which has impacted the level of service provision and safety, as well as access to the city.
Service provision such as health care centres, water and electricity, along with solid waste management, has been gradually taken over by this third-armed party group. While the provision of such services has reportedly improved since January 2014, there still seems to be shortages in service provision, notably regarding water and electricity supply but also with health care. Additionally, residents of Ar-Raqqa now pay high taxes averaging $30 every month, to contribute to the costs associated with these services.
Protection concerns in Ar-Raqqa have also increased with this new controlling entity. While the whole population of Ar-Raqqa city is reportedly affected by these issues, women and children, as well as ethnic and religious minorities, seem to be most at risk. Cases of discrimination, public physical abuses and executions, arbitrary detentions and recruitment of children under 15 into armed forces have indeed been reported.
Further, Ar-Raqqa city witnessed an increase in conflict intensity throughout July 2014, with an escalation in bombing that has worsened the security situation. Fighting has notably been occurring along the south western area of Ar-Raqqa, which remains a frontline between the third-party armed group controlling the city and the regime.
Humanitarian needs in Ar-Raqqa city are reportedly impacted by the volatility of the security context within and outside the city, which constrains access to basic goods, utilities and services. Ar-Raqqa also hosts a high percentage of internally displaced people (IDPs) who mostly come from Deir ez-Zor governorate and account for 16% of the entire city population (570,000 residents). These IDPs are more vulnerable and face more severe barriers to service access and provision than host populations.
This urban profile forms part of a broader assessment conducted by REACH covering different cities affected by the crisis in Northern Syria, including Eastern Aleppo, Al Hasakeh, Ar-Raqqa, Deir ez-Zor, and Qamishli, for which REACH release Urban Area Humanitarian Profiles and data Factsheets.
As part of the presentation of findings for each of the sectors covered by this assessment, suggested priority interventions are included to inform aid actors in planning timely and appropriate relief response for affected populations in Ar-Raqqa city.