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Syria: Logistics Cluster - Concept of Operations, May 2021

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Since the beginning of the crisis in 2011, ongoing fighting and widespread insecurity have continued to fuel large-scale displacements, increase vulnerabilities, and constrain humanitarian access across the country. According to the 2021 Humanitarian Needs Overview (HNO), around 13.4 million people in Syria require humanitarian assistance. Of these, 6 million people are in acute need due to a convergence of factors arising from a sharp reduction in purchasing power, the loss of essential livelihoods and income, and limited access to basic goods and services.

In addition to this, the global outbreak of COVID-19 has further increased the scope and challenge of the overall response and led to a significant expansion in multi-sector needs all over Syria.

The scale of the humanitarian crisis continues to require a large-scale, sustained and comprehensive response from the humanitarian community to provide the affected population with critical cross-sectoral assistance.

In January 2013, the WFP-led Logistics Cluster was activated in Syria, as part of a streamlined effort to enhance coordination and operational capacity among the humanitarian actors active in Syria and augment the effectiveness of the overall response through the provision of a set of tailored logistics services.

The Logistics Cluster currently facilitates access to crucial logistics services for all operations across the region, including land transport for inter-agency humanitarian convoys, cross-border transhipment, and storage services. In September 2014, the Whole of Syria (WoS) approach was adopted as a result of UN Security Council Resolution 2165, bringing together separate regional operations into a single framework.

Logistics Gaps and Bottlenecks

Access and security constraints remain the largest challenges faced by the humanitarian community in reaching vulnerable communities with life-saving relief supplies inside Syria. Based on consultations and regular review of gaps and needs, the Logistics Cluster, together with the partnering organisations, identified the following logistics gaps:

• Need for consolidated logistics coordination and information sharing to reduce duplication of effort and increase operational efficiency.

• Restrictions on movement of humanitarian cargo and the need to maintain Inter-Agency Humanitarian Convoys for crossline missions.

• Need for the coordination of cross-border transhipment services.

• Need for common storage facilities inside Syria.

• Increasing need for dedicated logistics capacity strengthening initiatives, particularly among national actors within Syria.

• Need for an air cargo transport service to the northeast in support of the COVID-19 response.