The humanitarian situation in northwest Syria continues to deteriorate. The UN is deeply concerned about the safety and protection of over four million civilians in Idlib and surrounding areas, over half of whom are internally displaced.
Since 1 December 2019, more than 700,000 people have been displaced in northwest Syria, mainly from southern Idlib and western Aleppo governorates – the vast majority are women and children. With fighting ongoing, this number is likely to rise further.
This latest displacement compounds an already dire humanitarian situation. Over 400,000 people were displaced between April and August last year, many of them multiple times, and many are becoming increasingly desperate and at risk. The immediate absorption capacity of existing Internally Displaced Person (IDP) sites has been surpassed while towns and villages are overcrowded with new arrivals. Meanwhile, conditions on the ground have been further exacerbated by extreme winter weather, including flooding and sub-zero temperatures and a sharp devaluation of the Syrian Pound, which is reducing the affordability of basic commodities and services.
As part of the UN cross-border operation from Turkey, UNHCR, in conjunction with humanitarian partners, is providing emergency aid and protection services to those displaced in northwest Syria. UNHCR is increasing its capacity to respond. A release of UNHCR regional stock of non-food items (NFIs) and emergency tents has been made, and additional staff is being mobilized to support the response. Additional funding will enable UNHCR and partners to rapidly scale up activities across the shelter, NFI, camp coordination and camp management (CCCM), and protection sectors. UNHCR is regularly recalibrating its response as the crisis evolves. Should the situation require, UNHCR will further increase it budgetary requirements.
The critical needs outlined in this document fall within the inter-agency North-west Syria Humanitarian Readiness and Response Plan and will be reflected in the not yet released 2020 Syria Humanitarian Response Plan.