Since the outbreak of conflict on 9 October 2019, residents of Northeast Syria (NES) are experiencing a new humanitarian crisis, resulting in massive displacement from the region, both internally and, to a lesser extent, towards the KR-I. As of 18 December 2019, the UN estimated that 70,590 people remain displaced, while UNHCR reported 19,999 refugees crossing into the KR-I between 9 October 2019 and 27 January 2020. Days after a ceasefire agreement was reached on 17 October, a sharp decrease in daily refugee arrivals was observed. New refugee arrivals have been screened between the villages of Al Walid, Sahila and Kalhi in the KR-I, and have then been moved to Bardarash and Gawilan camps for registration.
There were on average 36 new arrivals per day over the last week, which is a continuation of the decrease in average daily arrivals that was seen in the last months of 2019. Numbers continued, however, to fluctuate on a daily basis, which may in part be due to adverse weather conditions. In this update, the most commonly reported recent districts of residence in Syria were Ain Al-Arab and Qamishli. This is similar to previous rounds. Furthermore, travelling by foot remained the primary mode of transportation, and was reported by 80% of KIs. Just over half (56%) of travel groups reported having travelled for several days. The most common duration was two to three days (reported by 38% of KIs) though 10% reported having been underway for seven or more days. For most travel groups, lack of water, lack of food and challenges of travelling with children and elderly were reported as the most commonly encountered difficulties on the journey. KIs reported that airstrikes, a lack of livelihood opportunities and the arrival of armed groups were the most common push factors to leave their place of residence in Syria.