Overview

14.9 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance inside Syria, including 6.3 million IDPs.

Conflict has killed over 310,000 people, including 86,000 civilians, and caused large-scale displacement. Protection concerns are widespread. WASH and access to food are high priorities, as well as access to health services. Humanitarian needs in areas under prolonged and ongoing siege are particularly high as access is obstructed.

Clashes are ongoing in ar Raqqa, Homs, Deir-ez-Zor city, and Hama. After more than a month of decreased clashes between parties involved in the ceasefire, fighting has started again in mid-February between the SAA and opposition armed groups, including the FSA. The Turkish army recently increased activity in Aleppo governorate, targeting both Islamic State and the Kurdish YPG. 

INFORM measures Syria's risk of humanitarian crisis and disaster to be very high, at 6.9/10. The intensity of highly violent conflict in the country is of particular concern . ?

Latest Developments

22/02: The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have entered for the first time in Deir-ez-Zor, with the support of US airstrikes. At least 11 were killed and 35 injured during the offensive. ?

21/02: UN Convoy came under heavy sniper fire near El Waer district in Homs City. The UN was forced to abort the convoy – the first one that would have reached the district in five months. The following day, 22 of the 35 trucks in the convoy were looted, with drivers detained and beaten. ? ?

20/02: Increased clashes in Dara, Homs and Rural Damascus between parties to the ceasefire, putting it in jeopardy. ??

17/02: 12,000 people were displaced from Dara City amid clashes.  Six hospitals were damaged. ? ?

16/02: 25,826 people displaced from al Bab have been recorded in the first two weeks of February 2017 – an increase from 10,069 in the whole month of January. ?

15/02: Food prices in Syria decreased by 7% in January 2017, largely due to a relatively successful ceasefire in most areas and the end of hostilities in eastern Aleppo City. However, prices in Deir-ez-Zor governorate have increased by 16% in 2017, as a result from reduced access amidst renewed clashes between IS and SAA. ?

14/02: At least 40 have died due when stepping on UXOs and booby-traps in Raqqa since November 2016.  ?

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Crisis Overview 2016: Syria

The Crisis Overview 2016: Humanitarian Trends and Risks for 2017, outlines the countries where needs are greatest, and growing, as we approach the end of 2016

Syria is one of the 15 crises analysed in this report.

Read the full report here

Key figures

  • 14,900,000 People in need  [?]
  • 6,300,000 IDPs  [?]
  • 4,890,000 People living in hard-to-reach and besieged areas  [?]
  • 7,000,000 Severely food insecure  [?]

Key priorities

Protection: 13.5 million people, including 6 million children, are estimated to be in need of protection assistance.

14.9 million people need WASH access 70% of the population lack regular access to clean drinking water.

Health: only 43% of facilities are fully operating. 95% of people lack access to adequate healthcare. The conflict has significantly damaged health facilities, and fuel shortages further hamper access to health services.

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Information Gaps and needs

  • Numbers of newly displaced are not regularly available, and generally do not differentiate between new and secondary displacement.
  • Shifting frontlines make it difficult to collect data on humanitarian needs in active conflict zones.
  • Limited information is available on the humanitarian needs of millions living in hard-to-reach areas, who are not regularly accessed by international humanitarian actors.
  • Civilians are afraid of giving information, for fear of reprisal, making assessments harder.

Lessons learned

  • Localised ceasefires with positive humanitarian impacts have been managed through pressure from civilians, military stalemates, access to strategic resources, and exchange of prisoners. Obstacles to ceasefires include lack of independent mediators and monitorising, lack of trust, military tactics, and regional interference.?
  • Negotiating humanitarian access is extremely challenging in Syria, and blocking humanitarian aid has been used as a war tactic by various parties in the conflict. International organisations have frequently operated through Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) as a result of the access constraints faced by international organisations.??
  • The frequent rapid changes in the security situation have made advanced planning of humanitarian response extremely challenging.?
Key documents

David Butter, Chatham House

30/06/2015

Syria's economy: Picking up the pieces

UN Human Rights Council

13/08/2015

10th Commission of Inquiry on Syria

International Crisis Group

02/09/2015

New approach in southern Syria

International Crisis Group

22/01/2013

Syria's Kurds: A struggle within a struggle

Institute for the Study of War

01/02/2016

Jabhat al Nusra and ISIS: Sources of strength

Institute for the Study of War

29/12/2015

The Syrian opposition's political demands

Syrian Centre for Policy Research

30/03/2015

Alienation and Violence: Impact of Syria Crisis Report 2014

IASC

01/04/2014

Syria Crisis Common Context Analysis

IASC

01/08/2015

Syria Crisis Common Context Analysis Update 2015

PAX and The Syrian Institute

13/09/2016

Third Quarterly Report on Besieged Areas

OCHA

01/12/2016

Humanitarian Needs Overview 2017: Syria