WHO Syria, Week 38, 15 - 21 September 2018

Situation Report
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General developments & political & security situation

The security situation across the country remains volatile and unstable, with the main hotspots in As-Sweida, Ar-Raqqa, Hama, Aleppo and Idleb governorates

• In northwest Syria, on 17 September 2018, Russia and Turkey reached a “Demilitarized Zone” agreement in Idleb. The agreement was welcomed by Syria and Iran. RC/HC in Syria welcomed the opportunity that the Russian-Turkish agreement on Idleb will allow for access of humanitarian assistance. ERC also welcomed the agreement in his remarks to the UNSC on 18 September. The UN is engaging with all parties involved to better understand the details of the agreement reached, noting that continued access and protection of civilians remains of primary concern throughout Idleb and surrounding areas. The UN remains concerned about the likely impact of a military escalation for civilians in Idleb, who have nowhere else to go.

• In the northeast of Syria, SDF continued military operations against ISIL. The operation was supported by ICF air force and SDF artillery shelling against Baghuz, Hajin, As-Susah, and Ash-Sha'Fa towns. The operation resulted in capturing a number of ISIL positions both near the city of Hajin and further south along the Euphrates River. Populations have been displaced towards the camps located in Al Hassakeh, Deir Ezzor and Ar Raqqa.

• In the southwest, SAA continued its military operation against ISIL militias around Al-Safa volcanic field, in the north-east of As-Swieda desert along the administrative borders with Rural Damascus. The UN has been made aware of reports of a planned evacuation of fighters and their families from Rukban camp on the Syrian-Jordanian border. The United Nations has not been party to any specific discussions regarding the potential evacuation.

• In Damascus the overall security situation in the capital area is assessed as calm and stable with no significant incidents. However, on 15 September 2018, in Rural Damascus, Israeli missiles were reported to have targeted Damascus International Airport.