5.6 million registered Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries
56,047 self-organized refugee returns to Syria in 2018
USD 4.0 billion injected into local economies of Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey through WFP’s cash-based transfers, local food procurement, and other expenditures since 2012
• In December, WFP reached more than 2.9 million refugees from Syria and host community members across Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey through various food assistance programmes (in-kind and cash) under the Country Strategic Plans (CSPs) in Egypt and Lebanon, and Transitional Interim Country Strategic Plans (TICSPs) in the other three countries.
Overall, WFP reached an estimated 3.3 million people in 2018.
• Tensions persist in Iraq’s parliament between the Islah and Bina blocs. In Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi’s cabinet, two education and migration ministers were confirmed, two months after the prime minister’s appointment. The Minister of Education subsequently resigned due to links to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). Education, defence, interior and justice ministerial posts remain unfilled. The continuing deadlock over appointing a full cabinet hinders the country’s recovery and progress after years of war.
• Government formation remains postponed. An uptick in the number of demonstrations by civilian groups on poor living conditions in Lebanon were observed in December. As groups gathered to demonstrate in front of the Ministry of Oil and Industry, and in front of the Ministry of Labour in Beirut, violence broke out.
Lebanese Security Forces intervened to disperse the demonstrators and restore calm. More demonstrations are anticipated amid the continued political stalemate.
• The Turkish Statistical Institute announced that the consumer price index in Turkey slipped 0.40 percent in December from 21.62 percent in November 2018.
However, consumer prices had still increased by 20.30 percent year-on-year. Over the past five years, annual inflation hit its lowest level in April 2013, reaching 6.13 percent, and its highest level in October, 2018, with 25.24 percent.