Crisis Severity The severity score from 1 to 5 is based on 31 indicators aggregated into 3 pillars (impact, conditions, and complexity)4.80 Very lowVery high 5
Impact This measures the impact of the crisis itself, in terms of the scope of its geographical, and human effects.4.60 Very lowVery high 5
Humanitarian Conditions This measures the conditions and status of the people affected, including info about the distribution of severity.5.00 Very lowVery high 5
Complexity This measures the complexity of the crisis, in terms of factors that affect its mitigation or resolution.4.70 Very lowVery high 5
Access Constraints This measures the level of humanitarian access constraints.5.0No constraintsExtreme constraints
Syria: Displacement in the northwest
At least 220,000 civilians have died as a result of conflict since the civil war began in 2011.? An estimated 11.7 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance. ?6.2 million are internally displaced and 7.8 million refugees have left the country, mostly to neighbouring Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan. ?
The humanitarian needs in Syria are severe across all sectors, with health, shelter, and food needs most critical in areas where fighting continues including governorates in the northwest and northeast of the country. Protection interventions are required countrywide. Access for humanitarians remains extremely problematic, even in areas retaken by the Syrian Arab Army ?.
Since late 2015, the Syrian Arab army have been slowly regaining territory across the country. With only governorates in the northeast and northwest remaining outside government control, the war is widely seen as entering its final and possibly most violent stages. Turkish, Russian, Iranian, American, and Syrian troops are stationed inside Syria, as well as a range of non-state armed groups ranging from more moderate opposition groups to Salafist Jihadi groups.
27/08: Humanitarian conditions in northwest Syria continue to deteriorate after the breakdown of the conditional ceasefire between the Syrian regime and opposition forces on 5 August. Increased violence has led to the displacement of large groups. Between 1 and 18 August over 72,000 people were reportedly displaced due to the fighting. Since 1 May, an estimated 400,000 people have been forced to flee their homes, most of whom have sought shelter near the Turkish border in densely populated areas where humanitarian response is over-stretched and humanitarian needs are mounting. The total number of civilian casualties since the start of the escalation, late April, ranges between 500 and 870 people. On 21 August, the Syrian regime retook control over Khan Shaykun, a strategic town on the M5 highway that stretches from the capital Damascus to Aleppo city. The advancement represents the first significant territorial gain for the regime since the start of the campaign. ?
30/07: Dire conditions, severe food shortages and lack of medical care have driven thousands of people to leave Rukban camp in the last couple of months. Reports estimate the current population to be 11,000 compared to a U.N. estimate of 41,000 in February. People in the camp are reportedly experiencing severe malnutrition as humanitarian access remains severely restricted. Rukban, located in a demilitarised zone on the border between Syria, Jordan and Iraq, hosts IDPs who fled airstrikes in eastern Homes three years ago. People who leave the camp undergo a security screening by Syrian government forces raising the risk of arrest for those who are perceived to be part of the opposition. ?
Humanitarian access remains extremely constrained in Syria amid ongoing conflict, even in areas retaken by the government. Intensified conflict in opposition-held territory in Idleb, fighting between opposition groups in the north, and suicide attacks in government-held areas hinder access. Health workers and other humanitarian actors continue to be impacted by shelling, airstrikes, and small arms fire. The Jordanian and Turkish border closures are hampering cross-border aid. Access to the 36,000 people in need in the Rukban makeshift settlement at the border with Jordan remains extremely restricted. There is a high presence of unexploded ordnance and explosive remnants of war, even in areas of return. 1.16 million people are living in hard to reach areas.
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A full-scale offensive on opposition-held northwest Syria is looming, following conflict escalation between the Government of Syria (GoS) and opposition forces. Fighting in southern Idleb and northern Hama governorates intensified in January and has further escalated since April, when regime forces launched a series of barrel bomb attacks and artillery strikes on essential infrastructure, aiming to regain control over strategic points?. Fighting increased despite the de-escalation deal between Turkey and Russia that declared the region a demilitarised zone since September 2018.
An all-out escalation of conflict in the northwest has been anticipated since 2017, following evacuation deals between the GoS and opposition forces and civilians perceived to be opposition supporters, resulting in the transfer of large groups of people to Idleb and surrounding area. The GoS has been clear about wanting to retake the area at the earliest opportunity. A full-scale assault, however, would require a political decision supported by Russia, whose support largely depends on how this would impact their relations with Turkey. Turkey backs the opposition forces of The National Liberation Front (NLF) and wants to avoid a full-scale offensive close to its borders. Turkey and Russia’s relationship has been strained by the recent conflict escalation. Russia allowed the GoS to attack Idleb and Hama without waiting for agreement with Turkey. Turkey then delivered weapons to opposition forces.? Recent attacks from the GoS on Turkish military posts in Idleb are likely to increase tensions.? Further advancement from government forces into Idleb without diplomatic coordination between Russia and Turkey may trigger Turkey to increase support to opposition. In such a scenario, the GoS would likely further intensify its own operations. While there is a risk of this situation materialising, the probability of a full-scale Russian-backed offensive in the next six months is low. Such an operation would be militarily costly and draw unwanted attention to Russia’s role in Syria. It is probable that Russia and Turkey seek to sustain their relationship and the conflict de-escalates after the GoS takes control over strategic targets.
A full-scale offensive on the northwest of Syria would have disastrous humanitarian consequences. The recent surge in violence displaced over 270,000 people in May, killed hundreds of civilians, and caused severe needs for healthcare, shelter, food, and protection. Airstrikes have targeted schools, medical facilities and busy places such as markets. Widespread displacement has placed further strain on camps. Many of the newly displaced are without shelter, living in open fields or under trees exposed to the elements. The conflict has destroyed vital food crops in the region, worsening food insecurity. Attacks against humanitarian responders and the ongoing fighting have severely restricted humanitarian access. Most aid activities in the conflict zones have been suspended. ?
Over 3.5 million people are living in the northwest, including 1.3 million existing IDPs, almost all of whom have existing humanitarian needs that would be severely compounded in the event of an escalation. ? Further escalation in conflict would cause a staggering loss of civilian life and drive millions to the Turkish border. It is unclear whether Syrians would be able to cross the border. If entry to Turkey becomes impossible, multi-sectoral humanitarian needs would likely build along the border and overwhelm response capacity. Pre-existing vulnerabilities and reducing coping capacities following eight years of war in Syria would exacerbate the humanitarian situation.
This risk was identified in the June Quarterly Risk Analysis report.
Conflict in northwest
Conflict between the Government of Syria (GoS) and armed opposition groups has intensified since the beginning of 2019, and escalated since 28 April in northwest Syria, causing widespread displacement. Waves of barrel bomb attacks and artillery strikes have hit houses, schools, medical facilities, markets and IDP camps in northern rural Hama, southern Idleb and western Aleppo. Military operations have caused a high number of civilian casualties. The humanitarian situation in the affected governorates is deteriorating, with ongoing clashes, airstrikes, and shelling restricting the humanitarian access. The majority of IDPs live in makeshift settlements and report acute multi-sectoral needs. The northwestern region was declared a demilitarised zone under a deal between Turkey and Russia in September 2018 which aimed to avert a government assault on the area. The Syrian government has stepped up their attacks in an attempt to regain strategic points. The regime and its allies have claimed they have been targeting extremist groups in the area. ?
Protection: 13.2 million people, including 4.1 million children, are estimated in need of protection assistance. ?
6.2 million people need acute WASH-assistance. ?
Health: 13.2 million people require health assistance. The conflict has significantly damaged health facilities. Fuel shortages further hamper access to health services. ?