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Recent Developments in Northwest Syria and RAATA - Situation Report No. 32 - October 2021

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Key figures

2.8 M displaced people in north-west Syria

88,423 confirmed COVID-19 cases (31 October)

1.7 M internally displaced people in IDP sites

1,020 trucks of UN cross-border assistance transshipped in October


• Shelling of civilian areas continues to take lives, including women and children.

• A total of 14,969 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 were recorded in October and 96 per cent of ICU beds were occupied.

• A third of households do not have meaningful access to fuel as winter approaches.

• People with disabilities face significant challenges accessing sanitation, livelihoods, and educational resources.

• UN cross-border operations from Turkey through the Bab al-Hawa border crossing delivered 1,020 trucks of humanitarian aid to north-west Syria. NGO assistance continued at high levels.



• Hostilities continued in the north-west, though there has been a decrease in the intensity of airstikes.

• At least one civilian woman was killed and three civilian women and two children were injured as a result of shelling and airstrikes. Unexploded ordnance (UXO) incidents resulted in the death of at least one child and the injury of at least three children, as reported by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

• However, a yet to be verified shelling incident on 20 October in Ariha town resulted in at least 10 civilian deaths, including a female schoolteacher and three children, and the injury of at least 30 people.

• The Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) cluster tracked 19,940 new displacements of people and 2,540 return movements in October, due mainly to economic opportunities or in search of better services.
More than 3,000 people left the Ehsem sub-district. Ariha, Dana and Afrin sub-districts each received around 1,500 people. Newly arrived people say their main needs are cash support, food and shelter.

• The situation in north-west Syria contributes to a protection concerns for the civilian population. According to estimates, 97 per cent of the population, even those that are in employment, are living in extreme poverty. Lack of resources causes people to resort to negative coping mechanisms, such as reducing expenditure on essential items.


The COVID-19 situation remains bleak in north-west Syria. High daily numbers of new COVID-19 cases have been recorded throughout October, with a total of 14,969 new confirmed cases.There were 34,184 confirmed cases in September. Due to a temporary lack of testing kits, a fluctuation in the infection curve was observed. The PCR test positivity rate has varied from between 36 to 58 per cent for the last two weeks of the month. Since the start of the pandemic, there has been a total of 1,847 COVID-19 associated deaths and 50,928 recovered cases. At the end of October, ICU occupancy rate was at 96 per cent. All districts of north-west Syria remain either very high risk or high risk. According to a recent funding gap analysis, the health sector has a gap of 91 per cent in available funds.

There are now 61 vaccination teams in operation. In order to better reach communities, health partners are shifting from working in fixed teams to semi-fixed and mobile teams. The vaccination rate remains very low, with only 3.83 per cent of the population of north-west Syria vaccinated as of 31 October. A total of 164,645 people received at least one dose, of which 63,885 received the second dose. Vaccination hesitancy is a major issue. Social mobilization activities are planned by partners to tackle misperceptions around the vaccines. All people over 18 are now eligible for vaccination.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs: To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit