Internal Displacement Update, Issue 20: 15 - 28 June 2017
Affected areas Raqqa governorate Cause of displacement Conflict Figures As many as 14,000 new conflict displacements between 5 and 22 June; as many as 443,000 returns between January and 30 June; about 31,000 cross border returns from Turkey, Lebanon,
Iraq, Jordan and Egypt between January and May
As many as 14,000 people were newly displaced in and from Raqqa governorate between 5 and 22 June due to heavy fighting between the Syrian Democratic Forces and ISIL (OCHA, 26 June 2017; OCHA, 10 June 2017). This brings the total new and secondary displacements in Raqqa to about 109,000 between 1 May and 26 June. Most were displaced to locations within the governorate, although about 15,000 people fled to Aleppo, 2,700 to Idleb and 1,600 to Deir ez-Zor. Those fleeing the fighting in Raqqa city continue to face a number of protection risks, including punitive measures put in place by ISIL, threats posed by landmines and other weapon contamination, family separation, forced recruitment at checkpoints, as well as the removal of identification and restricted movement upon entering displacement camps. Between 50,000 and 100,000 people remain in Raqqa city; however, more displacements are expected as hostilities move closer towards the city centre (OCHA, 26 June 2017).
As many as 443,000 internally displaced people returned to their places of origin across Syria between January and 30 June 2017. In addition, about 31,000 Syrian refugees returned to Syria from January to May 2017, including about 20,000 who crossed the border from Turkey, 7,100 from Lebanon, 1,800 from Iraq, 1,500 from Jordan and 290 from Egypt. The situation remains volatile and UNHCR holds that conditions do not exist in the country for a safe and dignified return. Despite this, Syrians are choosing to return to the country to seek out family members and check on property. Hardships faced by Syrian refugees in host countries, such as limited job opportunities, prohibitive costs of living and expensive medical care, are among other push factors driving returns (UNHCR, 30 June 2017).