Syrian Arab Republic: UNICEF Syria Crisis Situation Report August 2017 – Humanitarian Results
In Syria, violence continues to impact civilians across the country despite an overall reduction of civilian casualties in areas where de-escalation zone agreements are in place. Military operations are further deteriorating the humanitarian situation in Raqqa City and Deir-ez-Zor, with severe food, water, electricity and medical shortages. Protection of vulnerable families and their children remains a key concern.
Military operations in the area surrounding Aarsal near the Syria-Lebanon border led to the evacuation and relocation of more than 4,900 people to Idleb and rural Hama, where they were provided with humanitarian assistance, including UNICEF-supported malnutrition screening for 393 pregnant and lactating women (PLW) and 1,166 children - 19 children were referred for treatment. In addition, 1,230 children and 60 PLW were provided with high energy biscuits.
In Iraq, military operations to retake Mosul City and surrounding territory have been ongoing since 2016, and have displaced 998,010 people including 548,906 children. Continued insecurity in Iraq has not had direct impact on the existing Syrian refugee population, but increased national security spending, protracted mass displacement, ongoing economic downturn and disagreements between the federal and Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) on internal budget allocations have prevented both governments from taking over services for refugees as planned.
With the approach of the new 2017-2018 school year, UNICEF and implementing partners are joining national efforts in accelerating Back to School/Learning outreach campaigns in camps and host community settings. The appeals for the Education sector in Syria and in countries responding to the Syrian refugee crisis are 59 per cent and 44 per cent underfunded respectively. Additional funding is critical to sustain current activities, particularly those for out-of-school children.
As of 14 September, UNICEF’s appeals for Syria and Iraq response to Syrian refugees are 63 per cent and 59 per cent underfunded respectively, including carry-forward. Donor funding is urgently needed to continue this critical assistance to vulnerable populations - particularly children – sustainably.
SITUATION IN NUMBERS
6 million # of children affected
13,500,000 # of people affected (HNO, 2017)
Nearly 2.5 million(2,458,074) # of registered Syria refugee children
More than 5 million(5,164,020) # of registered Syrian refugees (UNHCR, 6 September 2017)
UNICEF Appeal 2017 US$1,396 million
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs: In Syria, violence continues to impact civilians across the country although there has been an overall reduction of civilian casualties in areas where de-escalation zone agreements have been put in place. The humanitarian situation has nonetheless escalated significantly in the face of military operations in Raqqa City and Deir-ez-Zor where UNICEF remains extremely concerned about the safety and wellbeing of children facing constant aerial bombardments and caught in the cross-fire of fighting. Conditions in these areas continue to deteriorate due to severe food, water, electricity and medical shortages. In Raqqa, the population has resorted to collecting unsafe water from the Euphrates River, increasing the risk of waterborne disease outbreaks. Since the onset of the Raqqa offensive in November 2016, around 299,000 people (half of them children) have been displaced, some on multiple occasions. A large proportion of the displaced are living under poor conditions in IDP camps in Hasakeh and Raqqa. In August alone, around 2,234 people were displaced from Deir-ez-Zor. Armed groups are actively preventing the movement of people outside of area, where the fighting is intensifying with numerous risks reported for those attempting to flee including death and forced conscription. Along the Syrian-Jordanian border, approximately 50,000 people remain in a precarious protection and humanitarian situation as they have been cut-off from humanitarian assistance since June 2015. The provision of humanitarian assistance to besieged and hard-to-reach (HTR) areas continues to be extremely challenging due to delays in receiving government approvals, shifting conflict lines and deliberate restrictions by parties to the conflict. Throughout Syria, an estimated 232,000 children are living in 11 areas under siege with an estimated 2.1 million children living in hard-to-reach areas with limited access to humanitarian assistance. Also in the reporting month, military operations in the area surrounding Aarsal town near the Syria-Lebanon border led to the evacuation and relocation of more than 4,900 people to Idleb and rural Hama, where they were provided with necessary humanitarian assistance. In addition, a shift in territorial control in Idleb created concerns regarding humanitarian access from Turkey to northern Syria. Nevertheless, the major border crossings during the reporting month remained unaffected, with only one closure of Bab al-Hawa crossing on August 31 due to a religious holiday.
In August, the number of refugees, migrants and asylum seekers registered in Turkey remained relatively static at approximately 3.4 million, with just over 4,000 non-Syrians newly registered. More than 3.1 million Syrians refugees are under temporary protection in Turkey, including over 1.4 million children, while the remaining 324,100 are nationals from primarily Afghanistan (141,200) and Iraq (137,100).1 On Turkey’s western border, the number of refugees and migrants on the move toward Europe continued to rise, likely as a result of the warm weather and calm seas. Nearly 3,700 people arrived in Greece by sea in August, a 64 per cent increase over the previous month, an estimated one-third of whom were children. An additional 2,670 people were rescued or apprehended in the attempt. Under the framework of the EU-Turkey Statement, three rounds of returns took place in August for 19 people2 , bringing the total number of people re-admitted to Turkey to 1,308 since the Statement came into effect in March 2016.
The humanitarian situation in Lebanon, which hosts an estimated 1.5 million Syrian and 300,000 Palestinian refugees, remains precarious and unpredictable. In August, Hezbolah and the Lebanese Armed Forces, in coordination with Syrian Armed Forces, conducted a series of offensives against the Islamic extremist groups, clearing the border areas (e.g. Arsaal outskits) with Syria, which were long occupied by individuals/groups that are alleged to be extereme Islamists. During the offensive, around 1,900 individuals sought refuge in Arsaal town from outskirts. The offensives were concluded in agreements to repatriate militants and their families to Syria. While those returns included some refugees, the UN were not involved but monitored the situation through partners and provided humanitairan assistance to the displaced during the offensive. The UN is planning to support government’s efforts to ensure basic services in Arsaal, with estimated population of 120,0003 , and its surrounding, which has long been a contentious area with the penetration of individuals/groups that are alleged to be extreme Islamists that resulted in security restriction on movements, which in turn negatively affected the economy and livelihood of the population. Ein El Hilweh, the largest Palestinian camp, with an estimated population of 80,000-90,000, saw renewed clashes between an allegedly extreme Islamist group and the Joint Security Force that took place between 17 August and 23 August, resulting in several casualties as well as significant damagesto properties. Despite a ceasefire agreement, the presence of opposing groups within the camp are expected to lead to similar clashes in the near future.
Jordan hosts 2.8 million refugees, including 659,125 registered Syrian refugees (51 per cent children)4 , 64,258 Iraqi refugees (32.8 per cent children), and over 2.1 million long staying registered Palestinian refugees. While 78.7 per cent of the 659,125 Syrian registered refugees live in host communities, 79,879 refugees live in Za’atari camp, 53,266 are officially registered in Azraq camp, 332 live in King Abdullah Park, and 7,279 live in the Emirati-Jordanian camp. In addition, a population of approximately 50,000 Syrians, of whom 66 per cent are women and children, remain in the remote locations at Jordan’s northeast desert border area with Syria. Among the refugees living in host communities, about 17,000 Syrians live in temporary settlements. Children living in these sites are much less likely to enol in public school (only estimated at 12 per cent) due to barriers posed by child labour, high mobility, financial constraints, cultural sensitivities and fear of leaving the community.
As Iraq’s intense summer heat continued, often reaching above 45 degrees in August, the need for safe water supply, shaded spaces and cooling equipment remained high. Military operations to retake Mosul City and the surrounding territory have been ongoing since 2016, resulting in displacement of 998,010 people including 548,906 children5 . Following the retake of Mosul City, the Government of Iraq (GOI) launched a new offensive in August to retake Tel Afar in northern Ninewa, announcing their full control over this area by end of the month. While the continued insecurity in the country has not had direct impact on the existing Syrian refugee population, increased national spending on security, protracted mass displacement, continued economic downturn and disagreements between the federal and Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) on internal budget allocation have greatly restricted the capacity of the GoI and KRG to complete the planned takeover of services for refugees. UNICEF, UNHCR, and humanitarian partners therefore continue to provide significant support to the Syrian refugee caseload, while trying to increase community resilience, build the capacity of government service providers, and strengthen sustainable strategies. As of the reporting month, UNICEF Iraq remains significantly underfunded against its 2017 appeal for the Syrian refugee response, with only 36 per cent received (including carry-over), making it necessary to prioritize with government and NGO partners, on an as-needed basis by sector, location, partner and type of services.
Egypt hosts about 3,085 unaccompanied and separated children (UASC), with the majority being from sub-Saharan Africa, Iraq and Yemen.
Of these, 1,899 are unaccompanied children aged 15-17 years coming from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan and Syria.
UASC are vulnerable to many threats and face particular protection challenges. Their main needs include availability of alternative care arrangements, community support, access to sustainable services and protection from violence and exploitation, including child labour and early marriage. According to the new law that regulates the work of non-governmental organizations (70/2017), which came into effect in June 2017, new committees are being established to provide registration approvals for national and international NGOs working in Egypt. This has relevant implications in terms of the nature and type of work which NGOs can conduct at the community level.