WHO Syria, Week 42, 13 - 19 October 2018

Situation Report
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General developments & political & security situation

The security situation across the country remains volatile and unstable, while the main hot spots remain As-Sweida, Deir Ezzor, Hama, Aleppo and Idlib governorates.

• In northwest Syria, the military situation remains volatile and unpredictable with focus on the Demilitarized Zone agreement.

• In the northeast of Syria, Recent offensives around Hajin, one of the last areas under ISIL control, has led to scores of civilian deaths and to continued displacement. An estimated 15,000 people, including ISIL fighters and their families, remain in the ISIL controlled area of Hajin. In total, some 27,000 people have been displaced in the wider area since hostilities against ISIL began in July 2018. An estimated 1,500 families (approximately 7,000 individuals) have been displaced since the start of the current military campaign on 10 September Most of the displaced have fled to towards the Hajin countryside and Gharanij area, with some screening points and makeshift IDP sites in close proximity to frontline areas. As a result, they have been impacting by shelling, IEDs and ongoing insecurity in the area. There are indications that on 12 October the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) attacked a makeshift settlement where internally displaced people had gathered. Initial unverified reports suggest that several internally displaced people have been abducted or killed, while others were forced to flee the area.

• In southwest Syria, a UN and Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) interagency convoy delivered food and wheat flour for 14,000 women, children and men in need in Al Lajat in southern Syria. WHO participated in the convoy to conduct a health assessment of the areas accessed. The UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), in cooperation with the parties to the Disengagement Agreement, welcomed the rehabilitation of the Quneitra crossing between the Alpha and Bravo sides which opened on 16 October. On the 15 October the Nassib border crossing between Jordan and Syria was officially re-opened and traffic between the two countries started, ending a three-year closure due to the NSAG’ domination over the areas close to the border crossing.

• In Rukban camp, media sources report that 15 civilians, including 5 children and 2 women died over the past 2 weeks, due to the poor living conditions as well as the lack of proper medical services. A sandstorm on 17 Oct brought additional misery to the camp residents. Preparations continue for a joint UN/SARC convoy from Damascus, which would provide essential life-saving assistance to those in need. The United Nations urges all parties to allow safe, sustained and unimpeded humanitarian access to all in need in line with their obligations under International Humanitarian Law.