Global Emergency Overview

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REGIONAL ANALYSIS SYRIA

 

 

Part I - Syria 

28 January 2013

This Regional Analysis of the Syria Conflict (RAS) seeks to bring together information from all sources in the region and provide holistic analysis of the overall Syria crisis.  While Part I focuses on the situation within Syria, Part II covers the impact of the crisis on the neighbouring countries.  The Syria Needs Analysis Project welcomes all information that could complement this report.  For additional information, comments or questions, please email SNAP@ACAPS.org

 

Overview

Priority Needs

The priority needs below are based on known information. Little or no information is available for Al-Hasakeh, Ar-Raqqa, Deir-ez-Zor, Hama, Lattakia and Tartous in the north and for As-Sweida, Damascus city, Damascus rural and Quneitra in the south.  This is due to the prioritisation of other governorates, limited information sharing and to access issues.  Information is being gathered on some cities and governorates (such as Aleppo, Idleb, Dar’a and Homs) although not all is available to the wider humanitarian community for a variety of reasons.

PROTECTION is a priority throughout the country, specifically:

  • direct threat to life from the conflict
  • human rights violations
  • gender based violence
  • child recruitment.

FOOD is a priority for all governorates, although especially so in the north (specifically Aleppo) where, in particular, bakeries have been targeted with airstrikes; fuel is scarce and access to food in Damascus where prices continue to rise.  Poor harvest and increasing unemployment were already an issue prior to the conflict, making the provision of food assistance and support to food production is essential. SHELTER and NFI needs exist everywhere, especially the need for heating fuel, in Aleppo, the city of Homs and Idleb winterisation materials (shelter & clothing) is a seen as high a priority as food. Other priority needs vary geographically with HEALTH services in Aleppo, Damascus, Hama, Homs and Deir-ez-Zor and in rural area of Dar’a being overwhelmed and in need of medical personnel, facilities, and supplies (both to treat trauma cases; disease and chronic illnesses such as diabetes). 

WASH: Access to water is priority in urban centres of Aleppo and Homs governorates and the provision of hygiene items is a priority in most governorates.
 

Total number ‘in need of assistance’:                          4 million

Number of governorates affected by conflict:           14 out of 14

Displacement

There is little clear information on the number of IDPs: ministries of the GoS report 150,000 IDPs residing in 626 collective centres and more in some 1,468 schools but no figures are available for the number residing in private accommodation (with or without host families).  While the vast majority (around 80%) of displaced reside with host families, it is estimated that 4% (80,000 or so) sleep rough, in caves, parks or barns etc.  The working assumption is that half of the estimated 4 million in need of assistance are internally displaced.  (MoLA 2013/01, MoE/UNICEF 2012/12, OCHA 2013/01/28, Shelter cluster)

Humanitarian access

Access for both CBOs and NGOs to those in need varies widely across the country and is affected by:

·  The GoS restricting access within areas under its control.

·  The political constraints of humanitarian actors to work in rebel-held areas.

·  Logistical issues: few organisations work in the more remote areas such as Deir-ez-Zor, Al-Hasakeh, and Ar-Raqqa.

·  On-going conflict: many of the organisations in Syria are able to access the contested areas but on an ad hoc basis between fighting.

Local humanitarian response by the Syrian population, and diaspora, is significant, ranging from volunteers helping to provide medical services, to host families providing refuge to those displaced.

Information gaps and data limitations

Baseline data

Key baseline information for Syria is lacking:

  • The latest 2004 census is relatively old and therefore does not reflect the impact of recent significant events such as the influx of an estimated 1.5 million Iraqi refugees and four years of drought leading to displacement.
  • The latest poverty survey is from 2007 and there is a lack of updated statistical data on poverty levels per governorate.
  • Although the Central Bureau of Statistics collects market data such as CPI and unemployment figures, information on market flows is lacking.
  • There is no recent information available on the ethnic composition in Syria. (Izady, 2012)
  • The location and number of some Palestinian refugees is unclear. The pre-crisis number of Palestinians in camps in Syria was around 338,000, while the total number of registered refugees stands at 496,000 according to UNRWA. It is unclear whether this discrepancy derives from a large number of Palestinians residing outside of camps or from Palestinians not deregistering when they leave Syria.
  • There is a lack of information on the number and location of migrants and unregistered refugees who were residing in Syria before the start of the crisis.
  • Locations of critical infrastructure is not available (bakeries, power stations, health facilities).

In crisis data

  • With significant constraints for humanitarian actors to operate in the country, assessing the needs remains a major challenge.  To date, the localisation of the vulnerable populations affected by the crisis, the understanding of their needs and the identification of the beneficiaries is for a large part done by the Syrian Arab Red Crescent Society (SARC), supported locally by charities and communities, with few possibilities for the international aid agencies to confirm numbers and needs. (ECHO 12/12/02)
  • Organisations are hesitant to share data regarding their operations in the north as visibility in this area could compromise their (possible future) access to Government controlled areas.
  • The Government tightly controls all assessments planned and undertaken in Government held areas. While the FSA is supportive of assessments, the position of other rebel groups differs per area.
  • Access, insecurity levels and international attention differs per governorate and these factors influence the amount of data available on needs per governorate

Information gaps

Urgent information needs on a governorate level are:

  • Affected population: information on priority needs, disaggregated by affected group (IDPs, host-communities etc.).
  • Number of IDPs in host families, collective accommodation and unoccupied houses.
  • Protection: Precise information on which area is controlled by the Government, anti-Government actors or is contested.
  • Number of people living in high intensity conflict areas.
  • Location, number and needs of third country nationals and refugees residing in Syria.
  • Cases and location of SGBV, unaccompanied children, number of cases of psychological trauma.
  • Livelihoods and food security: number of food insecure.
  • Market prices, availability of products per sub districts.
  • Shelter: Number and status of destroyed and damaged occupied buildings.
  • WASH: The status of the urban water networks per governorate (functional, partly functional, not functional).
  • Health: Disease surveillance system data records at clinic and field hospital
  • Information on the nutrition status of children <5 years of age.
  • Education: Current information on functional/temporary schools in conflict affected areas.
  • Response: Relief actors operational per sector and location.

On-going and planned assessments

  • Results of the MoA, FAO and WFP Joint Rapid Food Security Assessment conducted in December 2012 are due in February.
  • An interagency rapid assessment in northern Syria (J-RANS) is currently being undertaken in selected districts of Al-Hasakeh, Aleppo, Ar-Raqqa, Deir-ez-Zor, Hama, Idleb and Lattakia governorates.  Results are expected early in February.
  • OCHA, in consultation with sector lead agencies, is facilitating a coordinated assessment approach to encourage inter-agency actions to:
    • harmonise the collection of assessment data, including through identification of key emergency indicators;
    • standardise and scale-up inter-sector, cluster/sector and single-agency assessments within Syria; and
    • undertake structured periodic monitoring of the situation and needs within Syria through Refugee Place of Origin Perception Assessments and triangulated through secondary data analysis.

Operational Constraints

  • Access of the affected population to humanitarian assistance is restricted mostly due to blockades, curfews, active hostilities and conflict-related damage of the infrastructure.  Both Government troops and rebel groups have cut off movement in and out of certain areas to control supply chains, thereby disabling population movement.  In addition, the humanitarian focus has reportedly been on conflict affected ‘hot spots’, leaving out relatively calm areas with a high number of IDPs. (ECHO 2013/01/14, PI 2012/12/10, AFP 2012/11/26)
  • In addition to the UN, only eight INGO’s (namely Action Contre La Faim, Première Urgence, Danish Refugee Council, International Medical Corps, Help, Institut Européen de Coopération et de Développement (IECD), Secours Islamique France, Terre des Hommes Italy) are allowed to operate in Government-held areas in Syria.  In November, OCHA requested access for ten additional NGOs. However, as of yet, the Syrian Government has not granted this access. (UN 2012/12/18, ECHO 2013/01/14, UN 2013/01/16)
  • The Syrian Government allowed WFP to establish partnership with 110 local NGOs to support food distributions.  While the Government has given WFP its consent to access all areas of the country, the agency has been constrained by increasing attacks on its trucks over the last two months. (UN 2013/01/16)
  • Only a limited amount of actors operate in the rebel held areas of the country.  The actors operating in these areas do so without Government permission and in a highly insecure environment.
  • International sanctions are restricting the flow of cash to Syria and hamper international procurement. (IRIN 2013/01/25)

Insecurity

  • Security incidents targeting the on-going aid distribution have increased. Humanitarian aid convoys have increasingly come under attack, sometimes caught in crossfire, but sometimes specifically hijacked for their goods or the vehicles themselves.  Mortars have landed and shoot-outs have taken place in the proximity of UN offices. (IRIN 2012/12/03, UNHCR 23/11/2012)
  • SAF air strikes on medical facilities continue. (IRIN 2012/12/27)
  • 7 volunteers of SARC and 8 UN staff members have been killed since the beginning of the conflict. (ECHO 2013/01/14)
  • Due to insecurity, refugee camps are becoming increasingly inaccessible to UNRWA. (OCHA 2013/01/07)
  • Fighting and worsening security conditions in and near the Syrian capital of Damascus are challenging the ability of humanitarian agencies to access Damascus-based warehouses. (UNHCR 2012/12/17, WFP 2012/12/04, OCHA 2013/01/03)

Logistics and lack of fuel

  • Significant fuel shortages have caused delays to aid convoys and aid distribution. (OCHA 2012/12/12, DRC 2012/11/27, BBC 2012/12/18)
  • Due to the closure of main routes in many of the main cities, and the inaccessibility of certain urban neighbourhoods, congestion hampers the mobility of humanitarian actors. (Jesuit Refugee Service 2012/12/18)
  • Securing trucks for distribution and aid operations has become more expensive and difficult.  While Tartous and Lattakia ports remain operational, the lack of trucks and frequent diesel scarcity in Tartous governorate impede the supply chain. (UN 2012/12/18, WFP 2012/08/25)
  • With regular interruptions in voice and data communication, unreliable telecommunications hamper humanitarian operations. (WFP 2012/08/18)

Diversion of aid

  • Diversion of aid, by both the Syrian Armed Forces and anti-Government elements, reportedly occurs frequently. (INGO 2013/01/25)
  • Although the FSA support assessments, they are unaware of the concept of humanitarian space and the distinction between aid for the civilian population and aid for the FSA. (INGO 2012/11/06)
  • There are reports of international aid sent to the SARC being confiscated by the regime and not reaching civilians in need. This was, however, denied by WFP and ICRC.  SARC has come under increasing pressure in terms of their ability to maintain access to all parts of the country. (AlertNet 12/12/14, AFP 12/11/07)

Humanitarian profile

(See annex A for definitions)

Country sectoral analysis

More detail on the specific needs of each governorate can be found on the governorate pages that follow the summary of country-wide sectoral issues.

Livelihoods and food security

  • Number of affected: 3 million Syrians are at risk of food insecurity and 2.5 million people are in urgent need of food assistance. (OCHA 2013/01/26)
  • January update: Wheat and barley production dropped to under 2 million MT in 2012 from 4 to 4.5 million MT in normal years.  Preliminary results of a joint WFP, FAO and Ministry of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform assessment on food security levels, show that only 5% of farmers sampled have been able to fully harvest winter crops.  Around 20% of farmers reported complete inability to harvest their crops.  The remaining 75% reported varying degrees of harvesting.  Insecurity, access constraints and poor yield were among the main reasons cited for the limited harvest.  In addition, rain and snow make transport of commodities, including food, even more difficult. (USIP 2013/01/09)
  • Increased animal feed prices, limited availability of animal feed and difficulties in marketing livestock and livestock products were identified as the main factors pushing pastoralists to sell animals below market prices. (OCHA 2013/01/07, FAO 2013/01/23)

General concerns

  • Availability: Although decreased, cross-border trade is on-going and most basic food items are still available in the markets.  It is estimated that Syria had approximately 2.9 million tons of wheat in reserve in silos around the country prior to the 2012 harvest.  The remaining flour in these warehouses is able to fill a gap in areas that are no longer supplied by the north, where a large part of the flour is produced, or from neighbouring countries.  However, in some areas, anti-Government supporters have reportedly looted warehouses, resulting in a lack of the staple food. (USA 2012/06/12, INGO 2013/01/25)
  • In areas of fighting, shortages of food commodities such as bread are common. Shortages of wheat flour have been reported in most parts of the country due to the damage to mills as well as a lack of fuel for delivery, road closures and difficult access.  Fuel shortages are impacting transportation, food production and trade. (AlertNet 12/12/06, UN 2013/01/08)
  • Access: Food insecurity is growing due to inflation, insecurity hampering mobility and increasing prices.  The availability of cheap food was a cornerstone of domestic policy, but due to the conflict, external sanctions, rise in fuel prices and border closures, this system has collapsed.  Consequently, prices have increased dramatically.  Conflict affected areas have seen prices up to 50% higher than in less affected areas. (WFP 2012/11/15, Alertnet 2012/12/14, INGO 2012/12)
  • Livelihoods: Unemployment has risen from 9% in 2010 to 25% by September 2012.  The numbers are likely to have increased further as economic sanctions and violence have disrupted livelihood opportunities. (FAO 2012/10/19, FAO 12/09/24)
  • Migration, both between governorates as well as to neighbouring countries is a common livelihood strategy.  Migration is currently hampered and returnee migrant labourers to their places of origin are seriously threatened due to lack of employment opportunities and fast depletion of resources.  Solidarités International reports that some returnees do not own property in their native village and are basically living as IDPs in their own community. (WFP 2012/06/01, SI 2012/12)
  • Agricultural production, which officially accounts for 20% of Syria's gross domestic product, continues, but has suffered severely from the conflict. Current estimates indicate a well below-average cereal harvest due to drought conditions, insecurity and rising input and fuel prices. Furthermore, fuel shortages have contributed to a poor harvest, as fuel is used to operate irrigation pumps and other agricultural equipment. (USAID 2012/10/12, AlertNet 12/12/14, FAO 2012/09/24)

Health

  • Number of affected: no information available
  • January update: More and more reports indicate that the Syrian Armed Forces are heavily targeting hospitals in contested areas and are strategically restricting access to emergency health care services through the destruction and forced closures of hospitals and health care facilities.  As a result, people are afraid to seek medical care and are using temporary field hospitals instead. (USAID 2013/01/17, OCHA 11/29/12)

General concerns

  • Health infrastructure and supplies: At the end of 2012 the Ministry of Health reported that 54% of hospitals and 10% of health facilities had been damaged/affected.  As can be seen on the map, in the governorate of Deir-ez-Zor, all hospitals are either non-functional or only partially functional. (WHO 2013/01/18)
  • Functioning hospitals are overwhelmed and operations are hampered by shortages of medical supplies and electricity blackouts. Reports indicate that a large number of health personnel have left the country. Remaining health workers struggle to get to work due to road blocks and security issues. (WHO 2012/12/2)

  • Over half of Syria’s ambulances are damaged or out of service which negatively impacts the capacity to provide referral services. Rural areas are particularly vulnerable due to the increased challenges involved in accessing health facilities as a result of high transportation costs, lack of communication and limited movement.
  • Severe shortages of pharmaceutical products and medicines have been reported and prices of medicines are high.  Specific concerns remain for the chronically sick.  In October 2012, it was estimated that more than half of those chronically ill have been forced to interrupt their treatment.  Insulin is no longer available in some of the areas affected by the conflict. There are more than 430,000 registered patients in Syria (of which 40,000 are children) with insulin dependent diabetes. (AJM 2012/10/12, WHO 2012/11/26, WHO 2012/12/20, GoS 2012/12/19)
  • Morbidity and mortality: According to WHO, 93% of morbidity cases reported in the first week of 2013 were due to influenza-like illnesses.  Lack of access to safe drinking water and appropriate sanitation has led to an increase in waterborne diseases.  Respiratory illnesses, cases of Hepatitis A and diarrhoeic infections are increasing. In addition, the on-going violence results in increasing mental health problems. (WHO 2012/12/20, AFP 2012/12/19, OCHA 2013/01/21)
  • The unrest has created challenges in implementing the routine national immunization programme and national vaccination coverage for the first quarter of 2012 dropped from 95% to 80%.
  • Nutrition: In mid-2012, the results of a Government nutrition surveillance system of Syrian children <5 in 10 governorates (As-Sweida, Dar’a, Tartous and Lattakia were not covered), showed a low proportion of children severely wasted (0.51%) and a moderate prevalence of global wasting (3.85%). (UNICEF/MoH 2012)
  • There is no updated information on the nutrition status in the country.
  • An increasing number of women express the wish to breast-feed, as infant formula is no longer available or affordable.  However, high levels of stress among women impede breastfeeding and adequate support is lacking as, traditionally, breastfeeding practices are low. (WHO 2012/12/26)

Protection

  • Number of affected: no information available
  • January update: The Philippines embassy is looking for 3,000 Filipinos who are thought to be still in Syria.  Many are domestic workers and must have the permission of their employers to leave.  Despite the danger from staying in Syria, not all employers give their staff permission to return home. (CARITAS 2013/01/11)

General concerns

  • Human rights violations: Both the Syrian Government and opposition groups have reportedly perpetrated gross human rights violations.  Extrajudicial executions and ill treatment of detainees, including torture, is widespread.  Both parties are launching attacks in populated areas and the Syrian Government has been accused of using explosive weapons such as cluster munitions and incendiary bombs in residential areas. (R2P Monitor 2012/09/15, HI 2013/01/17, UNHRC 2012/09/17, HRW 2012/10/23)
  • Gender Based Violence is widespread.  Rape has been used as a form of torture to extract information during interrogations and to punish the population for supporting the opposite party.  Refugees cite rape as one of the primary reasons for fleeing Syria. (Al Akhbar 2012/12/11, VoA 2013/01/21, Refugee International 2012/11/16, OCHA 2012/11/07)
  • Child recruitment, targeting of schools, child marriage, child labour and exposure to unexploded ordnance and explosives make children particularly vulnerable. (UNHCR 2013/01/08)
  • In rebel-held areas, civilian legal councils have replaced state judicial structures. Legal practices differ from region to region, with some councils relying exclusively on Sharia law, and others applying a mixture of Sharia and Syrian criminal law. However, descriptions of the trials by detainees and members of the judicial councils indicate that some trials do not meet international standards of due process, including the right to legal representation and the opportunity to prepare one’s defence. (HRW 2012/09/17)
  • In addition, civilians from Russia and other countries believed to be supporting the Assad Government have faced direct threats by Syrian opposition forces. (HRW 2012/12/21)
  • Minorities: The recent rise in  sectarian violence in Syria has particularly  targeted Alawite, Druze, Shi’a Muslim and Christian minorities.  The destruction of religious sites by both Government and opposition fighters is further raising tensions.  Since mid-2012, religious minorities have increasingly fled to neighbouring countries. (CoI 2012/12/20, R2P Monitor 2012/09/15, Amnesty 2013/01/10, HRW 2013/01/23)
  • Palestinian refugees: UNRWA now estimates that 400,000 out of 500,000 registered Palestinian refugees in-country are in need of assistance across the country.  A rapid-needs assessment in December indicated 99% of all refugees are in need of heating fuel and 90% are in need of food assistance.  In addition, the presence of armed factors in the Palestinian refugee camps has been identified as a concern by UNRWA as well as general insecurity and fighting around the camps. (OCHA 2013/01/07, UNRWA 2012/12/16, ECHO 2013/01/14, UNRWA 2013/01/11)

Shelter

  • Number of affected: no information available
  • January update: In January, unusually severe winter weather conditions put displaced and conflict-affected Syrians in Syria at risk of further deterioration in living conditions. Rising fuel prices across Syria have exacerbated the situation, leaving many people without access to a reliable source of heat, according to U.N. agencies.  Average temperature conditions are expected to stay below 10oC until the end of January 2013.  Average rainfall conditions are expected to rise in January (52mm) before starting to decrease in February 2013 (26mm). (Climate Change Portal, USAID 2013/01/17)

General concerns

  • Fighting, including the use of heavy weaponry, has caused widespread damages to infrastructure and houses.  The Syrian Network for Human Rights reported that over 2.9 million buildings have been damaged, of which 20% have completely destroyed. However, these numbers could not be confirmed. Shortages of fuel and disruption to the electricity supply throughout the country have resulted in a lack of heating and means of cooking. (OCHA 2012/12/10, GoS 2012/12/19, SNHR 2012/12/20)
  • The vast majority (generally estimated to be around 80%) of IDPs are living with host families with the remainder staying in unfinished or vacant buildings; renting accommodation; staying in collective centres and a small, but significant number thought to be sleeping rough in parks, barns, caves etc.  As of mid January, more than 2,100 schools and 626 other public buildings were hosting IDPs as community shelters.  Many IDP shelters are overcrowded, lack adequate heating, sanitation and winterisation and offer little or no privacy. Return to areas where fighting is no longer taking place is hampered as former homes have been damaged or destroyed. (INGO 2012/12/30, OCHA 12/12/03, OCHA 2012/11/26, UNHCR 2013/01/26)

WASH

  • Number of affected: no information available
  • January update: no updated information

General concerns

  • The escalation of violence has impacted Syria’s water and sanitation infrastructure, affecting the supply of water.  In urban areas, water networks are affected by frequent power cuts, lack of supplies and staff (limiting maintenance of water infrastructure) and shortages of chlorination products.  In urban areas, lack of maintenance of and fuel for water pumps hamper supply.  In some rebel-controlled areas the Government has cut the water supply.  Nationally, only 35% of sewage is being treated compared to 70% before the crisis.  Inadequate waste management is an issue and household rubbish is reportedly accumulating in the streets across the country. Knowledge of good hygiene practice is generally good although a lack availability of hygiene products in many areas inhibits good practice. (ICRC 2012/12/17, INGO 2012/12, OCHA 2012/11/27, OCHA 2012/12/24)

Use of Syrian Martyr’s database as a source: There are a variety of sources for data on the number of deaths from the conflict in Syria.  A report by OHCHR details seven key databases with documented killings from the conflict.  The Syrian Shuhada (SS) database (Syrian Martyr’s database) has been used for the purposes of mapping the number of death data by settlement and / or Governorate for the following reasons:

  • Willingness of SS to share raw data files for city / province and death count (useful for verification and mapping against P-codes as issued by OCHA)
  • Ability to report killings by Governorate, City, Date
  • Extent of documented killings (excess of 50,000)
  • Evidence such as pictures / videos to verify the killing
  • Trend is in line with results of other databases

OHCHR was able to verify 71% of the SS database.  The remaining 29% of reported deaths were not able to be verified due to insufficient data to be expected from documenting during a conflict. (Benetech 2013/01/02, SS n.d.)

Governorate profiles

The following pages provide a profile of each of the 14 governorates (in alphabetical order). Within these governorates, the following topics are covered: the conflict dynamics, displacement occurring in the governorate, the vulnerable population groups and specific needs reported. In addition, an info graphic describes the level of information available per sector for the specific governorate. The following symbols are used to reflect the information gaps:

Aleppo (also known as Halab)

Population figures Aleppo

2010 projection:

4,744,000

2004 census:

4,045,166

Palestinian refugees

>26,500

Other refugees

Unknown

Migrants

Unknown

Number of affected (estimates)

Affected

800,000

In need

226,000

IDPs

>49,000- 56,000

Sources : GeoHives 2010, CBSS 2004, UNRWA n.d.,  OCHA/SARC 2013/01, INGO 2013/01/22, SI 2012/12, PIN 2012/11/17,  Mercy Corps 2012/12/12

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conflict

FSA has now full control of the areas north of Aleppo governorate. The six-month-long battle for Aleppo intensified in early January 2013 with fighting around the main airport and Meng military airport; explosions at the university which killed 87; shelling of medical facilities and clashes around intelligence headquarters and mosques.  Two suicide attacks have been reported in January.  Intensive clashes and shelling continued in the areas of Leramon, Sakhur, Bustan al Qasr, Bustan al Bashar, Asha'ar and the Old City.  The city is in a stalemate as neither side appears to be gaining control.  Airstrikes also occur outside of the city, on towns such as Azaz and Al Bab.  Amidst electricity cuts, insecurity, food shortages and reports of FSA fighters looting flour, support to the FSA is reportedly declining in Aleppo. (MSF 2013/01/14, AFP 2013/01/15, AFP 2013/01/15,AFP 2013/01/03, AFP 2013/01/16, OCHA 2013/01/07, AP 2013/01/18, PIN 2012/11/17)

Displacement

Estimates collected during a Solidarités International assessment indicate that there are between 25,000 and 27,000 IDPs residing in A’zaz, Al-Bab, Jarabulus and Manbij district. Approximately 9,000 IDPs are residing in Bab al Salameh.  In addition, estimates from People In Need indicate that Al-Bab hosts between 15,000 and 20,000 IDPs.  However, the SARC estimates the displaced to be 50% of the 800,000 considered to be ‘in need’.  Most IDPs originate from Aleppo city or the governorates of Homs and Ar-Raqqa. (INGO 2013/01/22, SI 2012/12, PIN 2012/11/17)

Situation in Palestinian refugee camps: There are two Palestinian refugee camps in Aleppo governorate: Neirab camp with over 20,500 registered refugees making it the largest official camp in Syria, and the unofficial camp Ein-el Tal with 6,000 registered refugees.  In December, shelling intensified around Ein el Tal camp, leading to the displacement of 1,000 Palestine refugees.  Most of the refugees have fled to Hama camp in Hama governorate. (UNRWA 2012/12/16, UNRWA n.d.)

Most vulnerable groups 

  • IDP families staying in schools, rented houses, empty/unfinished buildings, many of whom have experienced multiple displacements since March 2011.
  • IDP families staying in host families without income source, adequate access to food, and essential NFIs.
  • Returnee ‘migrant’ workers and their families, who used to live in Aleppo but have now returned to their village following the closure of factories and loss of employment.
  • Host families who, although generally slightly better off, also suffer from the consequences of the conflict and bear the burden of hosting IDPs.

Needs (in order of priority)

  • Shelter and Winterisation (in-kind and cash assistance) specifically: warm clothes, especially for children; fuel for heating and gas; blankets, mattresses; shelter kits to improve the insulation of the dwellings, especially for IPDs in unfinished buildings /inadequate accommodation
  • Food security (in-kind and cash assistance) specifically: fuel support to subsidised bakeries; cash for work/unconditional cash grant assistance to most vulnerable groups for increased food diversity; delivery of wheat flour
  • Health specifically: nutritional support for children and pregnant/lactating women (formula, milk); medicine (WHO kits); ambulances, medical equipment; repair of health infrastructure; specialised medical staff
  • WASH specifically: hygiene kits, especially NFIs for children’s (diapers); water containers and jerry cans; water network repairs in priority areas in urban settings affected by intense conflict (pumps, pipes sections and connections); subsidised water trucking to ensure adequate access to water for affected population.

Sector information 

  • Protection: Indiscriminate attacks are resulting in large numbers of civilian casualties in Aleppo governorate.  An increasing number of accusations against the rebels in areas under their control are reported, including stealing; kidnapping for ransom and arresting of alleged regime supporters.  (Alertnet 2013/01/09, BBC 2013/01/17, Guardian 2013/01/18)
  • Health: 7 of Aleppo’s 11 hospitals are no longer functioning and 16% of the health centres and units are non-functional.  The healthcare system in Al-Bab district is reportedly almost fully dysfunctional.  Airstrikes and shelling continue to hamper operations and cause people to avoid hospitals in favour of seeking medical care in clandestine structures.  100 patients of the Ibn Khaldun psychiatric hospital lack proper care as staff have been unwilling to risk their own safety to travel to work. (MoH 2012/12/31, MSF 2013/01/14 ; AFP 2013/01/10, PIN 2012/11/17)
  • Livelihoods and Food Security: Food availability in Aleppo governorate is becoming increasingly problematic, both for items normally imported from neighbouring countries and items imported from other governorates.  Although food items are available on the market of Aleppo city and several other towns such as Al Bab, prices are high.
  • The availability of bread is extremely limited at the moment in the districts with higher conflict intensity, owing to the disruption of distribution networks and infrastructure. For example, in Mare’ town (Azaz district), only one of six bakeries was functioning in December 2012. Bread prices in Aleppo are the highest in the country (40 – 50% higher than other governorates) and at SYP300 per loaf, more than six times the pre-conflict, unsubsidised price.  It is widely believed in Aleppo that the bread shortage was caused by the FSA stealing flour to sell elsewhere.  Especially in areas with higher conflict intensity, it is generally impossible for the resident population, and even more so for IDPs, to purchase basic commodities to maintain a balanced food diet. (SI 2012/12, INGO 2013/01/25)
  • People living in the governorate of Aleppo are currently deprived of regular income sources, due to: (i) the closure of Aleppo's factories, which used to employ a large proportion of the population in the region, (ii) the closure of the borders and the suspension of trade with Turkey, (iii) the decline in agriculture, (iv) and irregular Government wage payment.  A December 2012 Mercy Corps assessment amongst six villages showed that food is consistently mentioned as the most urgent need. (UN News 2013/01/08, BBC 2012/01/17, Mercy Corps 2012/12/12, SI 2012/12)
  • Next to IDPs and host families, returnee migrants have been identified as a specific vulnerable group during an assessment in Aleppo. Migrant workers, who used to work in Aleppo factories, and their families, were forced to return after factories stopped or decreased production. These returnee migrants often have no employment, income-generating opportunity or property in their places of origin. (SI 2012/12)
  • Shelter & NFI: Heavy fighting and air-strikes have caused widespread destruction of buildings. The most precarious living conditions are those of IDP families staying in unfinished buildings, barns and basements. IDPs residing with host families, in schools or rented buildings are often living in overcrowded conditions. Electricity shortages continue to affect much of the city of Aleppo and officials estimate only 40% of the city’s electricity needs are being met.  Electricity supply to the rest of the governorate is also reported to be regularly disrupted.  There is a severe shortage of  gas for cooking and heating fuel and families resorted to using trees as a fuel source.  During the Mercy Corps December 2012 assessment, winterisation was mentioned as the second most urgent need (after food).  There is an urgent need to supply fuel to bakeries as flour is available but bread production limited by fuel availability. (AFP 2013/01/04, UNRWA 2013/01/11, UNRWA 2012/12/16, Mercy Corps 2012/12/12, OCHA 2013/01/21, SI 2012/12, INGO 2013/01/25)
  • WASH: Lack of water in urban areas is a pressing need due to the partial destruction of water networks and water supply shortages due to power cuts.  Water rationing is now extending up to 20 hours per day in some neighbourhoods of Aleppo.  Water trucking is used as an alternative source for water, however prices are high.  The situation varies between rural and urban areas: in villages, some households have domestic boreholes, and water shortages were not reported during an assessment among four northern districts, although people might soon lack fuel for the water pumps. Inadequate waste management is also an issue in most towns and cities assessed.  In some areas volunteers, through the Local Councils, have taken over rubbish collection. (NGOs 2012/12)
  • The provision of hygiene supplies is a priority need.  Incidences of diarrhoea, Hepatitis A and C and poor hygiene practices are caused by lack access to hygiene products and water rather than from poor knowledge on hygiene practices. (WHO 2012/09/11, UNHCR 2012/11/30, OCHA 2012/12/24, SI 2012/12)

Al-Hasakeh

Population figures Al-Hasakeh

2010 projection:

1,477,000

2004 census:       

1,275,118

Palestinian refugees

None registered

Other refugees

Unknown

Migrants

Unknown

Number of affected (estimates)

Affected

320,000

IDPs

Unknown

Sources: GeoHives 2010, CBSS 2004, UNRWA n.d., OCHA/SARC 2013, WHO 2013/01/24

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conflict

In the power vacuum, some Kurdish groups are trying to assert control over parts of Syria through violent clashes with rebels as well as Government forces.  A large part of Al-Hasakeh is already under Kurdish control.  On 5 November, both the Popular Protection Units (YPG) and FSA signed a truce.  Meanwhile, the Al-Nusra Front has staged several assaults on the YPG. On 19 January 2013, the Kurdish National Council, a pro-opposition umbrella group of Syrian Kurdish parties, condemned what it said was an on-going assault by jihadist insurgents on the northern town of Ras al-Ain and requested the SNC to pressure the militants to cease.  (MEO 2013/01/18, Al-Arabia 2013/01/18, Daily News Egypt 2012/07/21,AFP 2013/01/19, AlertNet 2013/01/19)

Displacement

Over 25,000 Christians have reportedly sought refuge in Al-Hasakeh city, many from the surrounding areas, fearing kidnappings, with and without ransom demands, executions and looting by Islamist groups, terrorists and criminals.  90% of Christians are reported to have fled the city.  There is no evidence of targeting of Christians rather the wealthy are prime targets for kidnapping.  (Agenzia fides 2013/01/17, INGO 2013/01/25)

Most vulnerable groups

No information available.

Needs (in order of priority)

Protection of civilians especially in the contested city of Al-Hasakeh.

Sector information 

Health: Out of eight hospitals in the governorate, five are fully functioning while three are partially functioning. 85 health centres out of 92 are still operational (MoH 2-12/12/31)

Protection: Child abduction and abduction for ransom perpetrated by unidentified armed groups has been reported. Kidnapping has been stated as a reason for flight from Al-Hasakeh governorate by several refugees. (UNHCR 2013/01/08)

Ar-Raqqa

Population figures Ar-Raqqa

2010 projection:

921,000

2004 census:       

793,514

Palestinian refugees

None registered

Other refugees

Unknown

Migrants

Unknown

Number of affected (estimates)

Affected

210,000

IDPs

500,000

Sources: GeoHives 2010, CBSS 2004, UNRWA n.d., OCHA/SARC 2013, WHO 2013/01/24)

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Conflict

There is only limited information available on the fighting in Ar-Raqqa governorate although use of heavy aerial weaponry and heavy machinery has been reported.  Syria's Kurds are divided over the 22-month revolt against Assad, some support his regime, others back the uprising and others are striving to stay neutral. However, the Al-Nusra Front has clashed with the YPG on multiple occasions. (MEO 2013/01/18, Al-Arabia 2013/01/18, Daily News Egypt 2012/07/21,AFP 2013/01/19)

Most vulnerable groups

No information available

Displacement

According to WHO, Ar-Raqqa hosts 500,000 IDPs, mainly originating from Aleppo and Deir-ez-Zor governorates, representing a 50% increase in the population. However, the SARC numbers quoted by OCHA indicate that around 200,000 people are displaced in the governorate WHO 2013/01/24

Needs

No priority needs identified

Sector information 

Health: Out of four hospitals in the governorate, two are fully functioning and one is not functioning at all. 66 health centres out of 71 are still operational. (MoH 2-12/12/31)

In Ar-Raqqa governorate, with the influx of IDPs, the caseload of diabetic patients has increased from 10,000 patients to 21,000, and no additional supplies of diabetic medication are being provided. (WHO 2013/01/24

As-Sweida

Population figures as-Sweida

2010 projection:

364,000

2004 census:       

313,231

Palestinian refugees

None registered

Other refugees

Unknown

Migrants

Unknown

Number of affected (estimates)

Affected

8,000

IDPs

24,000

Sources: GeoHives 2010, CBSS 2004, UNRWA n.d., OCHA/SARC 2013, Daily Star

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conflict

As-Sweida, mainly inhabited by Druze, appears to be one of the least affected governorates in Syria.  However, the governorate is tense with the population appearing equally split between pro and anti regime sentiment.  A series of demonstrations took place in December 2012.  The FSA announced in mid-December that a Revolutionary Military Council had been formed for the governorate of As-Sweida.  More recently there have been reports of clashes between the FSA and Regime Forces in Zahr Al-Jabal District. (Daily Star 2013/01/08, LCCs 2013/01/11)

Most vulnerable groups

No information available

Displacement

An estimated 15,000 IDPs are registered with local activists and roughly half are from the region of Hawran, with the rest coming from Homs, Idleb, Deir-ez-Zor and elsewhere. In addition, the governorate hosts 9,000 IDPs from Dar’a. (Daily Star 2013/01/08, AFP 2013/0125)

Needs

No information is available on the needs of the people affected.

Sector information 

No information available

Damascus (city)

Population figures Damascus

2010 projection:

1,733,000

2004 census:       

1,552,161

Palestinian refugees

None registered

Other refugees

Unknown

Migrants

Unknown

Number of affected (estimates)

Affected

200,000

IDPs

Unknown

Sources: GeoHives 2010, CBSS 2004, UNRWA n.d., OCHA/SARC 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conflict

By November 2011, Damascus experienced unrest and clashes in and around the city.  By March 2012, major clashes between the Syrian Government Army and rebels were reported for the first time.  Since the FSA was pushed back to the outskirts of the city into the Rif Damascus Governorate in July 2012, they have increasingly used guerrilla attacks against security forces inside the city.  Analysts say the regime has focussed a large part of its resources to secure an area of control in a radius of about eight kilometres around Damascus city.  In January, the army has pounded Beit Sahm, Mleha, Jdaidet Artuz and Moadamiyat al-Sham and fighting has been reported nearby the Old City.  Whole neighbourhoods have reportedly been destroyed.  Violence in Damascus has previously been focused on southern districts, but northern areas have increasingly witnessed fighting over the last months.  (AlertNet 2013/01/21, AFP 2013/01/17, AFP 2013/01/13, AFP 2012/12/05, Alertnet 2012/12/04, UNRWA 2013/01/11)

Most vulnerable groups

No information available

Displacement

Damascus city started receiving IDPs from Homs during 2011, and in 2012 an increasing number of IDPs from the northern governorates and Rural Damascus governorate fled to the city.  Currently, the newly arriving IDPs are mainly coming from Homs. (INGO 2013/01/25)

Needs

No information available

Sector information 

Although fighting has not reached the city centre of Damascus, civilians are increasingly affected by the direct and indirect consequences of the conflict.

Shelter and NFI: Damascus faces six-hour power cuts daily.  In addition to hampering transport of commodities, cooking and heating, the nationwide fuel crisis has severely affected public and private transportation in Damascus.  More than one and a half million people visit the capital daily, requiring various types of transportation which mostly run on diesel. (Al-Akhbar 2012/10/12, OCHA 2013/01/17)

Protection: Arbitrary arrests and summary executions are an issue.  Upon retaking parts of the capital Damascus, the Syrian Government began a campaign of collective punishment against the civilian residents of Sunni suburbs who had supported FSA presence in their neighbourhoods. (Reuters 2012/09/03)

Health: Only one out of eight hospitals in Damascus governorate is partly functioning, the remainder are reportedly fully functioning. 22 out of 136 health centres (16%) are not or only partially functioning.  Damascus Hospital reported shortages in medicines and supplies from both the international and the local markets due to economic sanctions and currency fluctuations.  As of late December, the main hospital in Damascus received up to 100 wounded patients per day due to the fighting.  The majority of the patients are men but a growing number are women and children.  Severe and acute malnutrition was seen during a WHO visit to Damascus in December. (USAID 2013/01/03, WHO 2013/01/02, UN 2012/12/18, MoH 2012/12/31)

Livelihoods and Food Security: When available, heating oil is almost 20 times more expensive than it was before the crisis. Several bakeries have been destroyed. People have to queue for a long time to obtain bread, due to flour shortages and the destruction of bakeries. (Alertnet 2013/12/13)

Damascus (rural) 

Population figures Damascus (rural)

2010 projection:

2,744,000

2004 census:       

2,273,074

Palestinian refugees

>243,458

Other refugees

Unknown

Migrants

Unknown

Number of affected (estimates)

Affected

600,000

IDPs in collective shelters

400,000

 

Sources: GeoHives 2010, CBSS 2004,  UNRWA n.d , OCHA/SARC 2013/01, UNRWA 2012/12/16, UNICEF 2012/12/07

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conflict

Rural Damascus has been the scene of fighting for months and the whole governorate is reportedly affected. The Free Syrian Army has taken control of Daraya, Douma, Harasta and Arbin.  Part of the objective for battle in Damascus province is about securing the airport road, which runs southeast of the capital.  In January, regime troops shelled Daraya and Harasta.  In addition, Husseiniyeh, an area inhabited by Palestinian refugees and IDPs from the Golan Heights region, has been subject to fighting and air raids. (AFP 2013/01/17, AFP 2013/01/13, AFP 2012/12/05, Alertnet 2012/12/04, UNRWA 2013/01/11, UNRWA 2013/01/18, UNICEF 2012/12/07, IRIN 2012/12/27)

Situation in Palestinian refugee camps: In December and January, fighting was reported in 3 of the 6 Palestinian refugee camps in Rif Damascus governorate: in the unofficial refugee camp Yarmouk, hosting over 148,500 refugees, Qabr Essit camp, with over 23,700 refugees, and Sbeineh with over 22,600 registered refugees.

Since mid-December, the Palestinian neighbourhood Yarmouk has been the scene of heavy clashes between Palestinians from the pro-Assad Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC) and Syrian rebels supported by other Palestinian fighters.  Fighting erupted when opposition fighters moved into the camp during an attempt to storm the capital.  An estimated 70% of the 150,000 Palestine refugees who lived in the camp were displaced outside of the camp by mid-January.  On 11 January, UNRWA reported that occasional clashes continue within Yarmouk and the surrounding areas, but residents are now able to enter and exit the camp.  All UNRWA facilities remain closed.  In Sbeineh camp, UNRWA estimates that half of the 22,000 residents have fled in the wake of shelling. Communications with Sbeinah are intermittent, and all facilities are closed.  Most of the Sbeinah displaced are staying with friends or relatives in and around Damascus. (UNRWA 2012/12/16, UNRWA 2013/01/11, OCHA 2013/01/21)

Most vulnerable groups

No information available

Displacement

An estimated 400,000 IDPs are residing in collective shelters in the governorate. (UNICEF 2012/12/07)

Needs:

No information available

Sector information 

Protection: As the whole governorate is affected by violence, refuge has become increasingly scarce and secondary and tertiary displacement is therefore common. Human rights violations are widespread within the governorate and summary executions have taken place on a large scale, notably the killing of an estimated 400 people in the town of Daraya in August 2012. (Guardian 2012/08/28, IRIN 2012/12/27)

Dar’a

Population figures Dar’a

2010 projection:

998,000

2004 census:       

843,478

Palestinian refugees

>28,000

Other refugees

Unknown

Migrants

Unknown

Number of affected (estimates)

Affected

165,000

IDPs

Unknown

Sources: GeoHives 2010, CBSS 2004, UNRWA n.d., OCHA/SARC 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conflict

The city of Dar’a witnessed the first uprising against the Government in 2011, with heavy, fighting in the governorate erupting in November 2011.  The FSA has captured several districts in Dar’a City as well as towns in the south of the governorate.  Subsequently, Dar’a has seen heavy shelling by Government forces and in January, presumed anti-Government strongholds in Dar'a city and the towns of Sheikh Miskeen, Nahta and al-Maliha al-Sharqiya, Busr al-Harir, Kahil, M'arba and Da'el of Reef Dar'a were  bombarded by regime forces.  January has seen intense conflict around Dar’a city as the SAF attempt to regain control of all border crossings precipitating a marked increase in the refugee exodus to Jordan, almost all of whom originate within the Dar’a governorate. (BBC 2012/11/11, CNN 2012/11/10)  

Palestinian refugee camps: In December, clashes continued in the area of Dera’a refugee camp and shelling was reported close to the camp and all UNRWA facilities were closed.  By January, the area was reportedly calm and all UNRWA facilities operational. (UNRWA 2012/12/16, UNRWA 2013/01/11)

Most vulnerable groups

No information available.

Displacement

January has seen significant displacement from the city of Dar’a and its suburbs, along with Al-Yadoudeh, Al-Harak, Enkhel, Allajah, Ataman, Dael, Busr Al-Hareer, Al-Shajarah and Sayda across the border to Jordan.  There is no information on displacement patterns within Dar’a. (UNHCR 2013/01/25)

Needs

Reports from refugees crossing into Jordan report needs (and their reaons for leaving) as:

  • Health: Access to medical treatment and medicines
  • Food: high prices and low availability of food
  • NFIs: fuel for hating & cooking

Sector information 

Protection:  Protection of civilians from threat to life is reportedly the most acute in Dar’a especially for IDPs and would be refugees in transit towards the Jordanian border. Conflict is on-going, especially in the border area around Dar’a city.  With Government and rebel forces engaged in heavy fighting to control access to Jordan, civilians face a high risk of being caught up in the fighting.

Almost all of the population of Dar’a is Sunni Muslim although there are some small minority communities who may be threatened should the Government forces withdraw from all or parts of the governorate.

Health: The MoH reports all 9 hospitals to be functioning (although 6 only partially) as are all 101 health centres (although 31% partially). However there are serious difficulties in delivering medicines, vaccines and medical equipment to hospitals and health facilities; referral services have broken down and only one ambulance operates in the governorate.  Some villages in the governorate cannot be accessed by health authorities: mobile health services delivered by NGOs need to be strengthened.  (WHO 2013/01/18)

Livelihoods and Food Security: Vegetable, fruit and olive production declined significantly in Dar’a governorate, including a 40% drop in olive oil production. (FAO 2013/01/23)

Most Palestinian refugees are employed as farm workers on Syrian-owned lands; wage labourers or Government workers. (UNWRA n.d.)  It is expected that most of these sources of income will have dramatically reduced or ceased.

WASH:  The Der’a Palestinian refugee camp (more than 10,000 registered refugees, with a further 17,000 in surrounding villages) had a poor sewage system and suffered a shortage of drinking water in summer even before the recent conflict.  With conflict close to the camp in December UNRWA facilities were temporarily closed. (UNRWA n.d.; UNRWA 2012/12/16

If insecurity persists, WASH needs in the camp could become a priority concern.

No information is available on the general status of WASH in Dar’a city or governorate.

Deir-ez-Zor

Population figures Deir-ez-Zor

2010 projection:

1,202,000

2004 census:

1,004,747

Palestinian refugees

None registered

Other refugees

Unknown

Migrants

Unknown

Number of affected (estimates)

Affected

150,000

IDPs

Sources : GeoHives 2010, CBSS 2004,  UNRWA n.d , OCHA/SARC 2013/01

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conflict

The oil and gas-rich province of Deir-ez-Zor is home to Sunni Muslim tribes whose ties extend across the border into Iraq. Rebels seized a large swathe of territory stretching from the provincial capital city Deir-ez-Zor to the Iraqi border, making it the largest area in Syria outside of Government control. (UNICEF 2012/12/07, AFP 2012/11/25, AFP 2012/11/20, AFP 2012/12/03)

Displacement

The fighting has caused large scale displacement. An attempted UNICEF vaccination campaign at the start of December, found the vast majority of the population from Deir-ez-Zor had fled to the two neighbouring governorates, Ar-Raqqa and Al-Hasakeh.  As the situation stabilised in rebel control areas outside of the Deir-ez-Zor city, it is likely that IDPs have returned to some areas, although the city itself remains contested. (UNICEF 2012/12/07, AFP 2012/11/25, AFP 2012/11/20, AFP 2012/12/03)

Most vulnerable groups

No information available

Needs:

No information is available on the needs of the people affected.

Sector information 

Health/Protection: Mid-December MSF reported that tens of thousands of people, many of them wounded, are trapped in the city of Deir-ez-Zor due to intense fighting and aerial bombardments.  There is only one makeshift hospital with four doctors in the city.  Those who remain are predominantly the poor and the elderly who were unable or unwilling to leave and are now extremely vulnerable. (MSF 2012/12/12)

Health: Out of 6 hospitals in the governorate, 5 are reportedly not functioning and 1 is only partly functioning. 19 out of 118 health facilities are not operational. (MoH 2012/12/13)

Hama

Population figures Hama

2010 projection:

1,593,000

2004 census:

1,384,953

Palestinian refugees

8,000

Other refugees

Unknown

Migrants

Unknown

Number of affected (estimates)

Affected

130,000

IDPs

 At least 1,000

Sources : GeoHives 2010, CBSS 2004,  UNRWA n.d , OCHA/SARC 2013/01, UNRWA 2012/12/16

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conflict

Major disturbances in Hama city began on 3 June 2011 and an armed blockade by the Syrian Army was imposed on the city on 3 July 2011, cutting off water and electricity supplies.  With the governorate largely controlled by the SAF, Syrian armed opposition groups launched a military operation in December 2012, intending to take control of the governorate.  The offensive ended after the Army launched a counter-offensive with the rebels claiming to be in control of the rural western part of Hama province and all areas north of Hama city (HalfayaKafr Nabudah, HayalinHasrayaLataminahTaybat al-Imam and Kafr Zita).  In January 2013, on-going fighting was reported in Halfaya and Lataminah. (AlertNet 2012/12/16, AFP 2012/12/23, AlertNet 2013/01/19, Al Arabiya 2012/07/07)

Palestinian refugees: Hama camp, with more than 8,000 registered Palestinian refugees, has seen an influx of an estimated 1,000 Palestinian refugees from Ein el Tal camp in Aleppo who fled the latter after intense fighting in December 2012. (UNRWA 2012/12/16, UNRWA n.d.)

Displacement

No information available

Most vulnerable groups

No information available

Needs

No information is available on the needs of the people affected.

Sector information 

Livelihoods and Food Security: Government forces bombed a bakery in the rebel-held village of Halfaya on December 23.  The village has been without the basic ingredients of the dietary staple for a week between 15 and 22 December. (AFP 2012/12/23)

Protection: Minority groups are at risk in the governorate, with Islamist rebels warning specific towns they will be attacked if they do not evict regime forces.  Evidence indicates that Syrian forces used cluster munitions in Latamneh, in January 2013. (HRW 2013/01/14, APF 2012/12/22)

Homs

Population figures Homs

2010 projection:

1,763,000

2004 census:       

1,529,402

Palestinian refugees

>22,000

Other refugees

Unknown

Migrants

Unknown

Number of affected (estimates)

Affected

600,000

IDPs

250,000

Sources : GeoHives 2010, CBSS 2004,  UNRWA n.d , OCHA/SARC 2013/01, UNRWA 2012/12/16

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conflict

The Syrian Army and rebels have been battling to gain control of Homs since May 2011. In February 2012,  the Syrian Army launched an offensive against the district of Baba Amr, shelling the entire district and blocking all supply routes, forcing civilians and FSA to evacuate by early March. Unconfirmed reports state that by early October 2012, around 75% of the city (14 districts) was under the control of the Syrian Army.  However, by mid-December, the military had regained control of almost all of Homs, except the Old City and Khalidiya district.  Anti-Government groups are currently fighting to keep control of Qusayr and nearby Rastan after being largely driven from their position in Homs city.  In January, fighting continues in the governorate, with reports of air raids on the city of Rastan and districts of Bab Amr, Sultaniyeh, Asheria and Rastan in Homs city. (AFP 2013/01/17, BBC 2012/05/09, EWV 2012/10 AFP 2013/01/12, AFP 2013/01/15, UNRWA 2013/11/13, AFP 2013/01/27)

Palestinian refugee camp: In December, clashes continued within vicinity of the Homs camp hosting more than 22,000 registered refugees.  Homs camp has been experiencing major electricity cuts with electricity available for only 20 minutes daily. (UNRWA 2012/12/16, UNRWA 2013/01/25)

Displacement

WHO reports that 2500 out of 7500 displaced families have returned to Bab Amr district by January 2013. (WHO 2013/01/23)

Most vulnerable groups

No information available

Needs

No information available

Sector information 

Shelter: The heavy fighting and air-raids which occurred in the city of Homs and several towns in the governorate have damaged and destroyed many buildings.  In Baba Amr, UNICEF estimated that as many as two thirds of the buildings have been damaged in the neighbourhood, while others have collapsed completely.

Many IDPs are staying in unheated communal shelters.  Electricity shortages are severe, with as little as 2 hours a day reported in some areas.  Shortages of basic supplies such as winter clothes and children’s shoes have been reported. (UNRWA 2012/12/26, UNRWA 2012/12/16, AFP 2013/01/17, UNICEF 2013/01/15, AFP 2013/01/15, UNHCR 2012/11/30)

Protection: Indiscriminate bombing on populated areas and sectarian violence are priority concerns.  In addition, arbitrary arrests and summary executions, including the recent killing of more than 100 civilians in the district of Basatin al-Hasawiya, have been reported.  The opposition stated that shabiha militia loyal to President Bashar al-Assad of killing some 200 Sunni Muslim civilians in Homs in massacres in January and accuses the Government of ‘ethnic cleansing of Sunni districts in the way of Alawite supply lines’.  This has, however, not been confirmed by other sources. (AlertNet 2013/01/19, AlertNet 2013/01/26)

Health: 6 out of 13 public hospitals in Homs are out of service. 25 out of 220 health centres (11%) in Homs are out of service.  This is double the amount of out-of-service centres on a national level.  Due to the non-functional health centres, the local population is facing great difficulty in obtaining essential health care assistance.  Due to increasing number of patients, the resources of health facilities still functioning are rapidly being depleted and serious shortages of medicine and medical equipment has been reported. Around 50% of Homs doctors have left, along with other medical personnel.  Communities in the conflict affected areas of Bab Amer and Asheria are facing difficulties in accessing health care because of security constraints and the non-functional public health centres. (WHO 2012/09/11, UNFPA 2012/10/16, UNHCR 2012/11/30, WHO 2013/01/18, WHO 2013/01/23)

WASH: Access to safe water and sanitation has been disrupted and water rationing is now extending up to 20 hours per day in some neighbourhoods of Homs.  In September 2012, WHO identified an urgent need to increase the quantity of chloride, gas chloride and hypochlorite for the pumping station of chlorine in Homs to disinfect the current water supply. (WHO 2012/09/11, UNHCR 2012/11/30)

Livelihoods and food security: Vegetable, fruit and olive production declined significantly in Homs, including a 60% drop in vegetable production. The production of poultry has also been severely hit with major farms destroyed. (FAO 2013/10/23)

Education: Around 20% of schools in Homs governorate have been damaged or used as shelter. (MoE 2012/12/12)

Idleb

Population figures Idleb

2010 projection:

1,464,000

2004 census:

1,258,427

Palestinian refugees

None registered

Other refugees

Unknown

Migrants

Unknown

Number of affected (estimates)

Affected

300,000

IDPs in camps

         >21,000

Sources : GeoHives 2010, CBSS 2004,  UNRWA n.d , OCHA/SARC 2013/01, UNRWA 2012/12/16, MSF 2012/12, Latitude 2013/01

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conflict

Idleb governorate is largely inhabited by Sunni Muslims, although there is a significant Christian minority. Rebel forces control much of the countryside around Idleb, and captured the city of Harem on 25 December, while Government forces hold the city. Within the city, there have been both pro-Government rallies and attacks on Government buildings and forces while Government forces continue to indiscriminately shell rebel-held areas. However, the level of bombing has reportedly decreased in the governorate after rebels seized two military bases, including Taftanaz airbase.  Following this seizure, rebel forces appear to be attempting to take the city of Idleb.  If the rebels succeed in their objective, it is expected that Government forces would subsequently withdraw from smaller towns in the governorate which they still hold, leaving the whole governorate in rebel hands. (BBC 2013/01/16, FARS 2013/01/14 AFP 2013/01/08, MSF 2013/01/10 HRW 2013/01/14, Al Jazeera 2013/01/14, AlertNet 2012/11/20; BBC 2012/11/26)

Displacement

An estimated 20,000 IDPs are residing in 3 camps at the border with Turkey (Athmeh Olive Groove (13,000 to 13,500 IDPs), Qah (4,500) and Qarahme (2,400). 

Most vulnerable groups

In areas of high conflict intensity: those with lower income (pre 2011): casual labourers are reportedly living in sheds/woodland close to the confrontation areas.

In areas of low conflict intensity: elderly, people and children with disabilities and chronic diseases have specific needs.  IDPs and residents, and host population are considered equally as vulnerable.

Needs (in order of priority)

Initial reports from a joint rapid assessment in some districts indicate the following priority needs:

  • Food (flour and powdered milk for children) and cooking fuel
  • Shelter and NFIs: fuel for heating (especially for IDPs in collective accommodation); socks, shawls (for children) winter clothes, and jackets (adults and children); blankets and mattresses
  • Health (2nd priority in conflict areas): medication (antibiotics; insulin shots; medicine for Cutaneous Leishmaniasis; medicine for trauma injuries); vaccines and specific treatment for chronic disease patients; emergency rehabilitation required at field hospital level (physiotherapy, etc.); consumables; medical staff; ambulancesWASH: hygiene items; waste management (rubbish containers); fuel and spare parts to repair water supply.

Sector information 

Health: The MoH reports that, of the 4 Government hospitals in Idleb, 2 are fully and 1 partially functioning.  However, NGOs report that 6 hospitals (including private and field hospitals) are functioning in the governorate, although many have been damaged by aerial bombing.  Many towns have scarce or no health facilities and where they do exist, staff members still working are not receiving salaries and are overworkedHospital staff reports a lack of water and electricity; damaged equipment and a lack of medicine for chronic diseases, especially for children.  Trauma patients are being discharged too early in order to free space and there is no access to emergency rehabilitation. Lack of mobility, due to checkpoints, insecurity and high transport costs, is making access to healthcare difficult. There are unconfirmed reports of IDPs carrying communicable diseases to rural areas. (WHO 2013/01/23, MSF 2013/01/14, INGO 2012/12, IrishRC 2012/01/08)

Shelter: Fighting around Idleb city and air raids on surrounding towns and villages have damaged or destroyed many buildings. IDPs are staying with host families and in camps close to the Turkish border.  These IDP camps lack electricity and heating fuel. Large-scale electricity cuts are on-going and severe shortages of basic supplies such as winter clothes and children’s shoes have been reported. (INGO 2012/12)

WASH: Hygiene and water quality issues have been reported at the IDP camps at Atmeh and Qah. (Media 2012/01/03, INGO 2013/01/22)

Protection: Indiscriminate bombing on populated areas and sectarian violence are pressing priority concerns.  Security at the IDP camps is a concern; they are currently protected by FSA troops.

Lattakia

Population figures Lattakia

2010 projection:

991,000

2004 census:

879,551

Palestinian refugees

>10,000

Other refugees

Unknown

Migrants

Unknown

Number of affected (estimates)

Affected

110,000

IDPs

Unknown

Sources : GeoHives 2010, CBSS 2004, UNRWA n.d.,  OCHA/SARC 2013/01  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conflict

Although pockets of heavy clashes have occurred in the governorate, general levels of violence have been relatively low compared to other governorates.  The majority of Lattakia is under Government control.  The governorate is the ancestral home of President Assad's family and his minority Alawite sect, and is a political stronghold as well as the main port of Syria.  The mountainous region of Jabal Al-Akrad, east of the city of Lattakia, has been under near daily bombings for months. (MSF 2013/01/17, Daily Telegraph 2013/01/08)

Most vulnerable groups

No information available

Displacement

Most residents have reportedly left the area of Jabal Al-Akrad. (MSF 2013/01/17)

Needs

No information available

Sector information 

Health: The health system in Jabal Al-Akrad’s mountainous region, the worst affected area,, reportedly collapsed around two years ago so there is a severe lack of access to health services for the remaining population. (MSF 2013/01/17)

Protection: Many smaller towns and villages have seen fierce fighting between Sunni and Alawite residents.  Attacks against religious minority sites after the areas fell under the control of armed opposition groups have been reported in Lattakia. (MSF 2013/01/17, HRW 2013/01/23)

Quneitra

Population figures Quneitra

2010 projection:

87,000

2004 census:       

66,627

Palestinian refugees

None reported

Other refugees

Unknown

Migrants

Unknown

Number of affected (estimates)

Affected

50,000

IDPs

Unknown

Sources : GeoHives 2010, CBSS 2004,  UNRWA n.d , OCHA/SARC 2013/01,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conflict

Quneitra contains part of the contested Golan Heights and is sparsely populated.  Clashes began in early November 2012, when the Syrian Army clashed with rebels in several towns and villages in the governorate.  Israel became involved on 11 November 2012 when mortar shells from Syria landed near an Israeli military outpost in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, responding by firing ‘warning shots’ into Syria.  Rebels have seized control of the area north of Quneitra and the area to its south.  The armistice agreed in 1974 prohibits the Syrian Government from engaging in military activity within the buffer zone that runs along the length of the Israeli border, limiting their options for response (Guardian 2013/01/06, Associated Press 2012/11)

Most vulnerable groups

No information available

Displacement

No information available

Needs

Despite the fact that more than 50% of the population is estimated to be affected by the conflict, there is no public information available on the needs or location of those affected.

Sector information 

No information available

Tartous

Population figures Tartous

2010 projection:

785,000

2004 census:       

701,395

Palestinian refugees

None registered

Other refugees

Unknown

Migrants

Unknown

Number of affected (estimates)

Affected

200,000

IDPs

Unknown

Sources : GeoHives 2010, CBSS 2004,  UNRWA n.d , OCHA/SARC 2013/01,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conflict

Apart from an influx of IDPs, the Government stronghold Tartous has remained relatively unaffected by the conflict.  The major port of Syria, in Tartous, is still fully operational.  The city Tartous experienced a few small anti-Government demonstrations after the uprising first started in March 2011, but none since.  The governorate is separated from the rest of the country by a mountain range and the Orontes River and security forces are continuously tightening a ring of more than 40 checkpoints around the area.  The governorate has become a refuge for IDPs from Alwite Shii, Christian and other minority backgrounds. (Foreign Affairs 2012/07/18, NYT 2012/12/22)

Displacement

No information available

Most vulnerable groups

No information available

Needs

Unlike much of Syria, the town of Tartous reportedly still has bread, diesel fuel and electricity, with minimal power cuts.  Prices are high, as they were before the conflict, which proportionally affects those displaced to Tartous from other governorates more than the host population. (NYT 2012/12/22)

Sector information 

No information available

Forthcoming reports

  • RAS (Part I and Part II) - End February 2013 (The complete RAS report will be updated on a monthly basis)
  • Scenario’s - End February 2013 (Scenario’s outline how the situation could evolve: these scenarios will be regularly updated in line with major political and humanitarian developments.)             
  • Thematic report: Palestinian refugees across the region - March 2013 (To meet key information needs identified by humanitarian stakeholders, SNAP will produce thematic reports on specific subjects, including on different affected groups. The first thematic report will address the vulnerabilities of Palestinian refugees within and outside of Syria.)

Methodology – This desk study presents estimations of scale, severity and likely impact of a disaster.  It aims to inform decision making for preparedness and emergency response and intends to complement and integrate assessment-related data from other agencies.  Feedback to improve the RAS is welcome (snap@acaps.org).

Disclaimer – Information provided is provisional as it has not been possible to independently verify field reports.  As this report covers highly dynamic subject, utility of the information may decrease with time.

References – ACAPS and MapAction would like to thank all organisations who have provided input to this report. Please note that all sources which are available online are hyperlinked (underlined, in brackets).  Information sourced as PI refers to personal interviews with experts

 

 

Annex A - Baseline data

Underlying vulnerabilities

  • Vulnerable areas: north eastern governorates, including Al-Hasakeh and Deir-ez-Zor, have been traditionally underdeveloped compared to the rest of the country.
  • Vulnerable groups: Iraqi and Palestinian Refugees, Kurds, migrants and female headed households, individuals older than 65 years of age.

Key Indexes

Index

Ranking

Comments

Human Development Index 2012

119/187

Medium Human Development

ECHO Vulnerability Index 2011/2012

2/3

3 = highly vulnerable

ECHO Crisis Index 2011/2012

3/3

3 = high risk

Corruption Perception Index 2011

129/182

182 = most corrupt

Natural Disasters Risk Index

Low Risk

 

Press Freedom

Very serious situation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Population and country profile

Population

Total population in the Syrian Arab Republic (Syria) was around 23,695,000 in 2010, an increase of approximately 5.5 million from the 2004 census. In 2010, annual population growth was estimated to be 2%.  Around 64% of the country is thinly populated.  Western Syria is the most densely populated part of the country.  Over half the population (55%) lives in urban areas.  More than 40% of the population is under 15 years of age, which describes a young population profile.  The average household size is 5 members. (WHO 2012, WB 2010, WFP 2012/06, CBS 2004, Family Health Survey 2009)

The main religions practised are Sunni 74%, Alawite 11%, Christian 10%, Druze 3%. The different ethnic groups living in Syria are Arab 90%, Kurd 9%, small groups of Armenians, Circassians and Turkmen.  The official language is Arabic, other languages used are Kurdish, Armenian, Aramaic, Circassian (CIA 2011, Minority Groups 2011).

Education  

Basic education in Syria is free and the cost of higher education is usually nominal.  Syria has a high primary school enrolment with 97% of boys and 92% of girls enrolled.  Roughly 2/3 of all Syrian children attend secondary school:  64% of boys and 65% of girls. (UNICEF 2009)

Media

Even before the civil war, Syria barred most independent journalists. Syria’s press law provides the Government with wide ranging control over publications.  Internet censorship of political websites is widespread and includes popular websites such as Facebook and YouTube. (HRW 2011, Reuters 12/12)

Geography and climate

The total size of the country is 185,180 sq. km, slightly larger than Senegal and smaller than Cambodia.  The climate is mostly desert with hot, dry summers (June to August) and mild, rainy winters (December to February) along the coast with cold weather periodically in Damascus. (CIA 2011)

Syria is administratively divided into 14 governorates.  Each governorate is divided into districts (mantikas) of which there are 61 in total.  Most governorates have 3 to 5 districts although Aleppo (8); Damascus (1 + 9 rural) and Homs (6) have more and Quneitra only 2.  Districts are further divided into sub-districts (nahias).  Each nahia covers a number of villages, which are the smallest administrative units. (CBS 2010)

Livelihoods and Food Security

Agriculture 

Agriculture contributes to 24% of the GDP and around 18% of employment.  About 80% of the rural population in Syria practice farming for their livelihoods.  Syria has five agricultural zones with varying major crops dependent on rainfall.  Aleppo, Ar-Raqqa, and Al-Hasakeh governorates account for 60% of the total agriculture land and are the so called bread basket, with 75% of total national wheat production. (CAP 2009-2010, WFP 2011, WB 2010, FAO 2011, WFP 2012/06)

Five major crops are produced including grains, industrial crops, vegetables, permanent crops and fodder crops.  Cereals and fruits are the dominating crops with 18% and 32% of the total production respectively.  Syria has been essentially self-sufficient in wheat production for the past 20 years, excluding the years during which drought occurred.  Syrian farmers were regional exporters of vegetables, fruit and other food products – exporting nearly two million tons of vegetable products and 212,000 tons of animal products in 2010.  The crop is typically planted in the autumn (October-December) and harvested in early summer (June-July). Approximately 53% of the national wheat crop is totally reliant on rainfall, while approximately 47% of total area has access to irrigation.

Wheat production per governorate in 2005/2006 (as a percentage of total national production) - USA 2012/06/12

Livestock is an integral part of the rural economy and Syria has a significant number of cattle, sheep, goat and poultry.  (FAO 2011, IRIN 2012/10/18, WFP2012/06, USA 2012/06/12)

Drought

Four consecutive droughts have affected Syria since 2006. Around 1.3 million people have been affected by these droughts, specifically in Al-Hasakeh, Ar-Raqqa, Hama and Deir-ez-Zor.  Crops were severely damaged, forcing the affected population to migrate to urban areas.  Other common coping mechanisms in case of crisis include reducing the number of meals per day, decreasing expenditures on health care, borrowing food or relying on money-lenders. (WFP 2009)

Vulnerability to Drought 2000 – 2010 - ISDR 2010

Poverty

According to a 2007 report on Syrian poverty, extreme poverty, under which individuals are unable to secure their basic essentials, affect 12.3% of the population (around 2.4 million people).  The north-eastern region has traditionally been the poorest area, with an extreme poverty rate of 15.4%.  Poverty levels in the central and coastal regions are lower, with around 8% of its population in this category.  Poverty and food insecurity is most prevalent among agriculturalists, and nomads, in arid and semi-arid areas.  The urban unemployed, landless labourers, and rural families in rain-fed areas with no land or with small holdings are also at risk and susceptible to food insecurity, especially during drought. (UNDP 2005, GoS, UNDP 2007, WB 2008, STCC 2011)

Economy

GDP was US $59,102,566,138 in 2010; the GNI per capita was US $2,790. Around 56% of Syrians are employed in services, industry involves 27% and 18% is involved in agriculture. Informal sector activities constitute a large percentage of the Syrian economy Migration is a common livelihoods strategy and an estimated 14% of the work force is migrants, either within Syria or abroad, especially to neighbouring Lebanon. Women’s participation in the work force is 15%, which is below the 20% average in Arab countries. (Aita 2009, CIA 2011, FAO 2011, UN 2012, WB 2010, Family Health Survey 2009)

According to the Government, unemployment in Syria stands at 8.4%. However, 2009 ILO figures cite unemployment rates at 22%-30%. There is no unemployment compensation scheme in Syria.  Unemployment is the highest in rural areas, especially in the eastern region, feeding rural-urban migration. The large majority of the unemployed (around 74%) are between 15-30 years of age. 7 out of 10 older people over 65 are fully dependant, without own sources of income. (HelpAge 2012/06/21, Aita 2009, WB 2007)

Markets and prices

The Government controls the pricing of wheat, flour, and bread throughout the entire public and private sector marketing chain.  The distribution process of key agricultural goods is controlled by the state and main staple foods such as rice, sugar and bread are subsidised.  The official price of one kilogram of subsidised bread was set by the Government at SP8 ($0.13), while barley and cattle feed is SP20 ($0.33).  Food subsidies in Syria comprise 2.1% of the GDP and this costly food-subsidy program is contributing to a deteriorating fiscal balance. (FAO 2012/09/24, WB 2010, UN 2012, WFP 2009, USA 2012/06/12)

Wheat self-sufficiency has been a major policy objective of the Government.  The Government strives to maintain strategic national wheat stocks of approximately 3 - 4 million tons – roughly one year’s consumption requirements. (USA 2012/06/12)

According to FEWSNET, Syria’s food import dependency ratio - the percentage of food consumed, in calories, coming from imported products - was 14% in February 2011, while GIEWS states that food imports amounting to almost half of the total domestic utilization. (FEWSNET 2011/02, GIEWS 2012/09/14)

In 2009, around 45% of household expenditure was spent on food items. (CBSS 2009)

WASH

In 2009, 89% of the population used improved water sources and 96% used improved sanitation facilities. In addition, 92% of households dispose garbage either through a garbage collector or had access to designated garbage disposal places. 88% of households are connected to the sewerage system. Wastewater networks are present in most major cities and rural areas, but its management remains underdeveloped.(UN 2012, WHO 2009, CBSS 2009, Family Health Survey 2009)

Health

Coverage

Syria’s Constitution gives the right of comprehensive health coverage to all. The Ministry of Health (MoH) is the prime health service provider, operating in 1,919 health centres and 90 hospitals.  Private providers are covering 60% of health services. Health care, goods, services and facilities are delivered, free of charge, at three levels: village, district and provincial.  Coverage rates are high – more than 95% of the rural population has access to primary health care services while more than 70% has access to the secondary care services. 51% of health expenditure is out-of-pocket; spend on fee for medicines and hospitalisation in the private sector.  Before the unrest started in March 2011, more than 90% of medicines in Syria were locally produced. (WHO 2012/11/26, WHO 2012,  SK 2010, EMRO 2004, UN 2012)

WHO reports that in general terms, Syria possesses adequate ratios of human resources for health to population.  In 2006, there were nearly 15 doctors and 19 nurses/midwives per 10,000 Syrians; hospital beds were available at 14.7 per 10,000 persons. (WHO 2007, WHO 2012)

Nutrition

Since 2008, there has been a nutrition surveillance system in place in Syria.  According to the 2009 Family Health Survey, 9.3% of children under the age of 5 were suffering from wasting, and 23% from stunting.  This percentage is higher among children in rural areas when compared to urban areas.  Pockets of high malnutrition exist in north-eastern areas and nutrition indicators in these governorates are worse than national average.  This is caused by poor rainfall and limited food supply and the traditional practice of tea drinking among children.  According to a study the MoH conducted in 2007, 22.3% of children <5 five years of age had anaemia. 79% of Syrian households consume iodized salt. (MoH 2006, CAP 2009-2010, UNICEF 2010OCHA, 11/26/12, ChildInfo 2005, Family Health Survey 2009)

The rate of exclusive breast-feeding for six months has been consistently low in the country.  In 2006, only a third of new-borns were breastfed within an hour of birth.  Exclusive breastfeeding for infants <5 months only impacts 29% of infants, a decrease from 2000 when 81% of infants <5 months were exclusively breastfed. (ChildInfo 2005)

Morbidity and mortality

Non communicable diseases account for around 70% of all deaths, the majority of which are cardiovascular.

The 2009 Family Health Survey showed that around 61% of people older than 65 suffered from a diagnosed chronic disease. (Family Health Survey 2009)

Respiratory infections are prevailing among young children. Communicable diseases are not a major cause of death for <5s in Syria; deaths by cholera, malaria, polio, diphtheria and tetanus affect around 0% of the <5 population.  Diarrhoeal diseases still contribute to mortality, particularly rurally where access to health services, clean water and adequate sanitation is more limited. (ChildInfo 2005, WHO 2007, FAO 2005, Family Health Survey 2009)

National immunization rates were high before the start of the crisis, covering between 91-99% of children (BGC, DPT, OP, measles, hepatitis B, and tetanus neonatal).  Syria is certified polio-free with no polio cases reported since 1995. Tuberculosis prevalence is at less than 40 per 100,000. (HPAch 2011 UNICEF 2011, WHO 2007)

Gaps in health care

A large number of persons of Kurdish origin were rendered stateless by decree in 1962, and as a result, have been deprived of the enjoyment of many rights, including the right to health. Stateless Kurds with red identification cards (the ajanib) have access to health care, but not to treatments for chronic diseases.  Stateless Kurds without any identification cards (the mauktoumeen) have limited, or no, access to healthcare.  Their access to justice for the purposes of accessing health services is also hindered. (SK 2010)

Shelter

More than 90% of the Syrian households interviewed during the 2009 Family Health Survey owned their own dwelling and over 99% of households used electricity as the main source of lighting. (Family Health Survey 2009)

During a 2009 assessment among refugees, accommodation was identified as the main challenge.  Housing costs including utilities amounted to 37% of the total household expenditure and represented more than 70% of the total non-food expenditure, 43% of assessed refugee households are in debt for rent payment. (WFP 2009)

Around 30% of the over 480,000 registered Palestinian refugees live in nine official and three unofficial camps where shelter is basic and much requires repair.  Priority issues of the Palestinian refugees are: overcrowding in households, lack of ventilation, rehabilitation needs, deplorable and hazardous shelters.  Palestinian families have progressively left the camps. (UNHCR 2011, UNRWA 2011)

Protection

Women 

Syria's constitution guarantees gender equality, but personal status laws and the penal code discriminate against women and girls. In January 2011, Syria issued a comprehensive anti-trafficking law, which provides new grounds for prosecuting trafficking and protecting victims, and outlines a minimum punishment of seven years. Syria amended its penal code in 2009 to require a minimum two-year sentence for honour crimes.  However, Decree 121 specifically bans organisations working for women's rights.  In addition, Syria’s public health policies do not consider gender-based violence, which has grave consequences in respect of women’s health. (SK 2010, Open Democracy 2008, HRW 2011)

Human Rights

Syria ratified the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in 2004. However, even before the start of the crisis widespread human rights violations by Syrian security and military forces were committed including, torture, arbitrary or unlawful deprivation of life, politically motivated enforced disappearances and denial of fair public trial with courts being subject to political influence as approximately 95% of judges are Ba'athists or closely aligned to the Ba'ath Party.  All Syrian human rights groups remain unlicensed, as officials consistently deny their requests for registration. (HRW 2011, Reuters 2012/12/12, USDoS 2012, HRC 2012/09/30, IRIN 2012/06/10)

Kurds

With an estimated 300,000 Syria-born Kurds, they are Syria's largest non-Arab ethnic minority.  A large majority of Kurds in Syria are located in the northeast Al-Hasakeh and Deir-ez-Zor governorates. Several cities in other parts of the country, in particular Damascus and Aleppo, also have large Kurdish constituencies.  The Government has an Arabisation policy and suppresses expressions of Kurdish identity.  The Kurdish language, holidays, marriage and right to organisation are restricted.  During the 1980s, the Government forcefully relocated some of the Kurdish people.  Following the 1962 census, some 150,000 Kurds of Syrian nationality lost their citizenship.  As a result they and their descendant – currently roughly 300,000 Kurds – remain stateless and therefore are unable to access government services, including health care and education.  Stateless Kurds do not have the right to inherit or bequeath assets, and their lack of citizenship or identity documents restricted their travel to and from the country. (ICG 2013/01/22, US DoS 2011, HRW 2011, MAR 2005)

Migrants

According to the 2004 census, there were over 300,000 migrants working in Syria, primarily working in construction (13%), mining (12%) and manufacturing (11%). (CBSS 2004)  There is little information on their status or location.

Refugees

Although Syria hosts one of the largest urban refugee and asylum-seeker populations in the world, the Government is not a party to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees or its 1967 Protocol. Refugees are granted access to public hospitals and schools, but are not permitted to work, own property or obtain licenses to operate businesses.  As a result, they are fully dependent on external support, including remittances and humanitarian assistance. (UNHCR 2011, WFP 2010, HRW 2011)

The total number of Iraqi refugees in Syria remains unconfirmed but estimated are that around one million refugees from Iraq are residing in the country.  Apart from a few hundred individuals, all Iraqi refugees registered with UNHCR live in urban areas, mainly Damascus and its suburbs.  Many of these refugees have been made vulnerable by the extended duration of their displacement and the erosion of their means of subsistence.  The number of Iraqi refugee families in Syria without a breadwinner was estimated to be around 27% in 2008.   (UNHCR 2011, WFP 2010, HRW 2011, CBSS 2009, FMR 2008)

In addition to Iraqis, smaller groups of Somali, Sudanese and Afghans have found refuge in Syria, mainly in the capital. (WFP 2009)

Palestinian refugees

Registered Palestinian refugees living in Syria today number over 496,000; 75% live in Damascus.  UNRWA now provides health, education, and relief and social services to refugees living in nine official and three unofficial camps.  However, water and sewage systems need upgrading and poor sanitation increases health risks.  In most refugee camps, shelter is basic and many require repair. (UNRWA 2011, ODI 12/2011, UNRWA 2011, ODI 12/2011)

Disabled

Syrians with disabilities, especially those living in rural areas, have long lacked access to government-­sponsored services, education or jobs, according to reports by advocacy groups.  Data are scarce, but the World Bank estimated in 2002 that Syria had 500,000 to 1.4 million disabled citizens and that less than 5% of them had access to needed services. (CSM 2013/01/15)

Annex B - Definitions Humanitarian Profile

Affected

The number of affected refers to people affected by the violence in Syria. The number of affected can be divided in two groups: those non-displaced and those displaced.

Non-Displaced

The non-displaced include all those within Syria that have been, directly or indirectly, affected by the conflict, including those who have been injured, have lost access to essential services, and those whose vulnerability has increased due to the impact of the unrest on livelihoods and access to essential services (OCHA 2012/06/05). In addition, this group includes the host community, the people who are part of a community or family receiving affected people.  Due to the stress placed on the host families and communities, they are considered part of the humanitarian caseload.  As there is currently no information available on the needs of the host community, this group is currently excluded from this humanitarian profile.

Displaced

Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are those persons or groups of persons who are residing in Syria but who have been forced or obliged to flee or to leave their homes or places of habitual residence as a result of or in order to avoid the effects of armed conflict (OCHA 2004).

Refugees and Asylum Seekers are those who owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside Syria, and is unable to, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country (UN 1951).  For the purpose of this document, the category ‘refugees’ includes those registered, awaiting registration as well as those unregistered.  Within this group, both the Iraqi and Palestinian refugees are in a specifically vulnerable position, both within Syria as outside.

Others of Concern - Persons who have been displaced by the emergency and form part of the humanitarian caseload, but do not fall into either of the above categories (e.g. migrants, returnees).

Annex C - Stakeholder profile

National Actors

Baath party

The ruling Baath party is part has been in power since 1963. Its main ideological objectives are secularism, socialism, and pan-Arab unionism. Bashar al-Assad, the current Syrian president, took over from his father Hafez al-Assad in 2000.  In 2007, President al-Assad won a referendum with 97% of the vote, extending his term for another seven years. While the opposition and a part of the international community currently call for his resignation, the Syrian Government announced that talks of the President’s removal are ‘unacceptable’.  In January, President al-Assad introduced a three-stage initiative to solve the crisis which calls for national dialogue, creation of a new constitution, and a new parliament, followed by national referendums.  The opposition rejected these reforms as superficial. (BBC 2011/12/07, AlertNet 2013/01/19)

Syrian Armed Forces 

The military forces of Syria consist of the Syrian Arab Army, Navy, Air Force, Air Defence Force, and several paramilitary forces.  The number of troops are estimated at 295,000 actives (Army 220,000 Navy 5,000 Air 30,000 Air Defense 40,000) and another 108,000 paramilitary troops. Estimations in October 2012 pointed to figures closer to 200,000.  An estimated 10,000–12,000 Government troops have died in battle since the beginning of the conflict. The Republican Guard and the 4th Armoured Division compose core components of the Syrian armed forces.  The 25,000 strong Republican Guard, and the estimated 20,000 strong 4th Division have been critical in maintaining military control over Damascus and have also been deployed to Homs and other strategically important locations. (BBC 2012/06/30; France24 2012/04/03; IMRA 2012/11/28; ICG 2012/08/01, IISS 2012; BBC 2012/11/12; AFP 2012/11/22; ICG 2012/08/01)

Opposition groups

National Coalition for Revolutionary Forces and the Syrian Opposition (National Coalition) 

In a meeting in Qatar on November 11, Syrian opposition groups agreed to set up a new and more inclusive 63-member leadership council.  Led by the moderate Imam Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib, the coalition is hoped to provide a more unitary leadership, work as the opposition’s main umbrella group, and provide a single channel for all financial and possibly military aid.  It will also, administer areas controlled by rebel forces and plan for a post-Assad transition. Opposition negotiations in Istanbul ended without agreement on transitional government to run rebel-held areas of the country.  (AlertNet 2013/01/21, CFR 2012/11/14; Economist 2012/11/17; AFP 2013/01/20)

The National coalition has been recognized as legitimate representative of the Syrian opposition and people by the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council, Turkey, Libya, EU, and the U.S.  Mainstream opposition groups within Syria have generally welcomed the new coalition leadership, and so have several Islamist groups, operating in the north, which initially rejected the coalition.  Some Kurdish-Syrian parties, notably the PYD and the Kurdish Left Party, continue to reject the coalition. (Economist 2012/11/17; Al Jazeera 2012/12/12; Rudaw 2012/12/19)

The National Coalition has requested external help to bolster the opposition forces militarily through provision of anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles.  So far no country has openly accommodated such wishes, but some have sent non-lethal military aid to the rebel side. (AlJazeera 2012/11/12; ECHO 2012/11/19; Economist 2012/11/17; Al Jazeera 2012/12/12 BBC 2012/11/20; AlJazeera 2012/12/12; CBS 2012/12/12; AlertNet 2012/12/06; CiviliansinConflict 2012/12)

ACU 

The Assistance Coordination Unit of the National Coalition established in December 2012 with a remit to coordinate humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people.  It is currently based in Turkey.

Syrian National Council (SNC) 

The Syrian National Council is the previously promoted main opposition umbrella group.  Its leadership role is now principally transferred to the new national council.  Yet, leaders of SNC stated that it will remain an important actor and subsume under no one.  The SNC advocates a transition by all legal means, as well as a democratic change in Syria. (BBC 2012/11/12; SNC 2012/11/30; Economist 2012/11/17)

The National Coordination Committee (NCC) 

NCC is made up of 13 left-leaning political parties, three Kurdish political parties, and independent political and youth activists.  It differs from the SNC and the National Coalition in that it advocates dialogue with the regime on conditional withdrawal of troops, and strongly rejects the idea of foreign intervention in Syria.  In late September 2012, the NCC endorsed the FSA for the first time. (AlertNet 2012/09/23; AFP 2012/09/02; CFR 2012/10/29; al-Monitor 2012/11/20)

Free Syrian Army (FSA) 

Formed in August 2011 by army deserters based in Turkey, the FSA is the main armed opposition group in Syria. The FSA has functioned primarily as an umbrella group for army defectors, civilians who have taken up arms and Islamist militants. Fighting factions allegedly have limited or no contact with each other or with the FSA's leadership situated in Turkey. Many of the most important fighting groups acknowledge the FSA’s leadership. Rebel commanders within the FSA have acknowledged problems of internal competition for recognition and resources and its popularity among the population has decreased following reports of acts of looting and human rights violations  The FSA has welcomed the leadership of the new National Coalition (ISW 2012/11/9; BBC 2012/11/12 Foreign Policy 2012/11/21; BBC 2012/11/20; AlertNet 2013/01/09, AFP 2013/01/15)

The main part of the FSA-affiliated fighters has had limited military training. Although the FSA claims to have more than 40,000 fighters under its command, analyst estimates suggest a figure closer to 10,000 fighters.  The initially ill-equipped FSA has recently obtained more sophisticated and heavier weaponry, either captured from army forces or smuggled in from abroad. (AFP 2012/11/25; ReliefWeb 2012/11/27; AFP 2012/11/25,CFR 2012/10/29)

An Islamist dominated military command – resembling the organisational model of the National Coalition – was set up on December 8, in efforts to unite the fragmented factions of the opposition forces.  The 30-member unified command was formed during talks in Turkey, involving some 500 delegates and officials from several external actors.  The command is to be divided in regional units, with military leaders and political liaisons for each region.  However, several of the larger fighting factions have not been subjugated under the new command. (CNN 2012/12/09; AlertNet 2013/01/11)

Islamist, Salafist, and Jihadist rebel groups 

A plethora of islamist, salafist and jihadist groups comprise a multifaceted and hard-defined component of the Syrian opposition and political map in general.  These groups are geographically dispersed and operate from vast regions of the country. They range from moderately islamist and secular, to salafist and jihadist with aspirations of establishing an islamic state based on strict sharia.  Recent reports witness of a potential turf war among the islamist factions in the north, with increasing tensions between the major divisions.  The size of Islamist groups as share of the total armed opposition has grown steadily, and the FSA has expressed worries that the extremist islamist influence might pose a threat to the stability of the region, hijack the goals of the revolution, and jeopardise the credibility of the opposition’s democratic ambition.  An increasing tension between the sides within the opposition has been observed at several fronts. (ICG 2012/10/12Washington  Post 2012/11/30; Forge Today 2012/08/07; Telegraph 2012/11/03; The Guardian 2013/01/17, Foreign Policy 2012/09/12; ICG 2012/10/12; ISW 2012/09; AlertNet 2013/01/11)

  • Jabhat al-Nusra (al-Nusra Front), allegedly affiliated to al-Qaeda, is one of the most prominent of these groups with between 6,000 - 10,000 fighters. The group states it is outside the FSA and has proclaimed itself a “Syrian mujahedeen”.  The group is allegedly disciplined and well-trained, and has been bolstered by fighters from abroad and other factions.  The group has admitted numerous suicide bombings in several major cities, and was recently declared by the U.S. as a terrorist body. Jabhat al-Nusra has recently gained strong influence around Aleppo and is reported to have played a major role in recent take-over of military bases in the north of Syria.  Relations between al-Nusra and FSA are mixed, balancing between the necessity of miltiary cooperation in the short turn to oust president al-Assad, and inevitable political competition in the long turn, given the groups’ differing agendas for a post-Assad period. (CBC 2012/12/07; Washington  Post 2012/11/30; DNE 2012/12/06; AlertNet 2012/12/09; NYTimes 2012/12/10; Washington Post 2012/12/10; Quilliam Foundation 2012/12)
  • A large share of islamist groups fight nominally under the flag of FSA but do not share its secular agenda. Moreover, an increasing number of previously secular groups have adopted an islamist ideology, albeit falling on the moderate end of the spectrum.  Al-Farouq Bigade, based in Homs, is one of the largest rebel groups and falls under this category.  The faction is backed by the Muslim Brotherhood and has identified itself as a unit within the FSA. Suqour al-Sham is another major actor in this category, mainly operating in the Idlib governorate. (ISW 2012/06/26; ICG 2012/10/12 ; NYTimes 2012/06/29; AlertNet 2013/01/11)
  • Ahrar al-Sham is one of the three largest rebel organisations in the north,  together with al-Farouq Bigade and Jabhat al-Nusra.  The rebel faction has been particularly active in and around Idleb.  Other al-Qaeda affiliated groups operating in Syria are al-Qaeda Syria, Abdullah Azzam Brigades, and al-Qaeda Iraq. (ICG 2012/10/12; ISW 2012/09)

Kurdish Rebels 

Exploiting the unravelling of the Assad regime’s grip in large areas of Syria, Kurds have been asserting control in parts of the northeast, bidding for Kurdish self-rule.  Main political actors are the PKK-afiliated Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and Kurdish National Council (KNC).  The groups claim to represent the Kurdish ethnic minority and seek autonomy or a federalist solution in the Kurdish regions of northern Syria. (Reuters 2012/08/07; BBC 2012/07/27; CNN 2012/08/14)

The recently created Popular Protection Units (YPG) compose militia groups that have played an increasingly large military role in Syrian Kurdistan.  The group was founded by PYD and KNC and is responsible for maintaining order and protecting the lives of residents in Kurdish neighbourhoods.  Kurdish sources say that over the last year, the PYD has transported around 4,000 to 4,500 Kurdish Syrian fighters from their stronghold in the Qandil Mountains in northern Iraq to the Syrian north.  The total number of Kurdish fighters is unclear, but analysts suggest that a large number of Kurds (100,000 in the Aleppo province alone) could be mobilised. (IKJ 2012/10/25; AFP 2012/10/27, DailyNewsEgypt 2012/07/21; Reuters 2012/11/07)

The Kurds have avoided explicitly taking sides in the conflict between the regime and opposition, benefitting from the power vacuum created. Some groups support Assad's regime, others back the uprising and others strive to stay neutral.  On 5 November, both YPG and FSA signed a truce after power struggles between opposition forces and the PYD occurred since mid-2012.  The conflict stems from both ideological and political differences.  Moreover, incidents of jihadist-Kurdish fighting over control over towns in north-eastern Syria have been reported, specifically involving Jabhat al-Nusra. (TZ 2012/11/19; AlJazeera 2012/11/19; AFP 2012/10/27; CNN 2012/10/30; AFP 2013/01/19)

International Actors

U.N. 

In September 2012, Lakhdar Brahimi, replaced Kofi Annan as the UN-Arab League special envoy to Syria. UN Security Council resolutions, attempting to isolate the Assad regime, have been vetoed by Russia and China three times, hence ruling out any strident measures sanctioned by the Council.  On August 16 2012, the U.N. elected not to renew the mandate of the U.N. Supervision Mission in Syria, which suspended operations on June 16 due to increasing levels of violence throughout the country.  All U.N. military observers departed Syria in late August. (CFR 2012/10/29; BBC 2012/11/20; USAID 2013/01/03)

European Union 

EU Ministers accepts the National Coalition as legitimate representatives of the Syrian people.  The EU has imposed a number of sanctions including assets freezing and travel bans, as well as an arms embargo on all fighting parties in Syria.  The latter was recently extended until March 2013. (ECHO 2012/12/10; AlertNet 2012/12/03)

The Arab League 

The 22-member regional organization suspended the al-Assad regime in November 2011 and has imposed economic sanctions on the Government.  The League recently recognised the National Coalition as legitimate representatives of the Syrian people, and has given the Coalition observer’s status in the League. (CNN 2012/11/13; AlJazeera 2012/11/13)

NATO

NATO has categorically rejected the idea of military involvement and deployment of troops in Syria.  Nonetheless, on December 4 2012, NATO approved a request by Turkey to deploy Patriot anti-missile batteries along Turkey's border with Syria. (NYTimes 2012/12/03; NATO 2012/12/04)

Action Group for Syria 

Made up of interested parties with the purpose to lay out key steps in a process to end the violence in Syria.  The Action Group is made up of the Secretaries-General of the UN and the Arab League; the Foreign Ministers of the five permanent members of the Security Council, as well as the Turkish Foreign Minister; the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy; and the Foreign Ministers of Iraq, Kuwait and Qatar, in their respective roles related to the Arab League. (UN 2012/12/24)

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