1. The present report is the seventy-third submitted pursuant to paragraph 17 of Security Council resolution 2139 (2014), paragraph 10 of resolution 2165 (2014), paragraph 5 of resolution 2191 (2014), paragraph 5 of resolution 2258 (2015), paragraph 5 of resolution 2332 (2016), paragraph 6 of resolution 2393 (2017), paragraph 12 of resolution 2401 (2018), paragraph 6 of resolution 2449 (2018), and paragraph 8 of resolution 2504 (2020), and paragraph 3 of resolution 2533 (2020), and paragraph 5 of resolution 2585 (2021), in the last four of which the Council requested the Secretary-General to provide a report at least every 60 days on the implementation of the resolutions by all parties to the conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic.
2. The information contained herein is based on data available to entities of the United Nations system and obtained from the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic and other relevant sources. Data from entities of the United Nations system regarding their humanitarian deliveries have been reported for the months of August and September 2021.
II. Major developments
1. Violence further intensified in the Idlib de-escalation area in the north-west of the Syrian Arab Republic during the reporting period, including intensified airstrikes, mutual shelling and limited clashes, amid a surge in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases. In northern Aleppo Governorate, mutual shelling, airstrikes, occasional skirmishes and raids across contact lines increased.
2. Millions of people across the north and north-east of the Syrian Arab Republic are affected by the water crisis and are unable to reliably access sufficient and safe water on a regular basis, owing to the unprecedented low water levels of the Euphrates, erratic and low rainfall, the reduced operational capacity of Uluk water station and disruptions to the water system. The prevalence of waterborne diseases in the affected areas has risen. The loss of crops and of agricultural livelihoods will likely worsen already high rates of food insecurity and malnutrition. Women and girls are disproportionately affected owing to their prominent role in the agriculture sector. To respond to pressing needs, the United Nations released a consolidated plan targeting 3.4 million people in need of humanitarian assistance.
3. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) verified 206 incidents during the reporting period in which at least 126 civilians, including 17 women and 44 children, were killed as a result of hostilities. In addition, at least 197 civilians, including 24 women and 74 children, were injured as a result of hostilities across the Syrian Arab Republic.
4. In the south-west of the Syrian Arab Republic, heavy shelling and intensified ground clashes across parts of Dar‘a Governorate in August, in particular in the Dar‘a al-Balad neighbourhood, displaced more than 38,000 people. Civilians who remained in Dar‘a al-Balad had restricted access to food and to basic goods and services. In early September, following the negotiation of a new agreement between the parties, the security situation in Dar‘a al-Balad stabilized. Most of the displaced persons returned home and public services are being restored.
5. COVID-19 transmission rates in the Syrian Arab Republic remained high, exacerbating an already dire humanitarian situation. In the northwest, a surge of the COVID-19 Delta variant since the end of August led to more than 1,000 people testing positive daily, further taxing an overburdened health system. Across the country, only 1.6 per cent of the population has been fully vaccinated.
6. Humanitarian assistance by United Nations agencies and their partners continued throughout the Syrian Arab Republic. This included World Food Programme (WFP) food assistance for 5.0 million people in August and 4.8 million people in September, across all 14 governorates, as well as increased cross-line deliveries and a continuation of the crossborder mechanism. On 31 August, WFP completed a cross-line delivery of food and nutrition assistance from government-controlled Aleppo city, Aleppo Governorate, to a warehouse in opposition-controlled Sarmada city, Idlib Governorate. This is the first cross-line delivery to the northwest of the Syrian Arab Republic since 2017.
7. The access landscape in the Syrian Arab Republic remains complex, with different geographical areas and different types of services requiring the use of different operating modalities. In the north-east, between January and September, 1,575 trucks containing humanitarian assistance crossed lines, an average of 175 a month. In August and September, the World Health Organization (WHO) delivered three cross-line shipments, including two airlifts and one road convoy, and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) supported cross-line deliveries by 31 trucks of over 40 tons of supplies, while other United Nations agencies also provided cross-line assistance. During the reporting period, 13 consignments consisting of 470 trucks crossed into the north-west of the Syrian Arab Republic from Turkey through cross-border operations, all through the Bab al-Hawa crossing.