Syrian Arab Republic
Operation: Syrian Arab Republic
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|2020 planning figures|
|1.4 million||people received integrated protection support at 94 community centres, 37 satellite centres, and through 123 mobile units across all 14 Governorates|
|1.4 million||Syrians including IDPs, returnees and members of host communities were issued identity documents through UNHCR’s support|
|600,000||refugees, asylum-seekers, returnees, IDPs and host community members received health services at UNHCR-supported health facilities|
|500,000||masks, gloves, hand sanitizers and disinfectants distributed to government and partner frontline workers, and to people of concern|
|239,161||refugees, asylum-seekers, IDPs and returnees received legal assistance|
|120,000||IDP, refugee, returnee and host community households benefited from UNHCR’s shelter programme|
|113,308||IDP and returnee households received core relief items, while 138,867 households received additional items to address their winterization needs|
|35,482||IDP children supported with non-formal education, and 110 refugee students received higher education scholarships, including 14 DAFI scholarships|
|4,851||refugee households (some 13,800 individuals) assisted with at least once a monthly multi-purpose cash grant|
|3,483||refugee households provided with a one-time cash grant to help meet their increased needs during the winter months|
|2021 planning figures|
|600,000||people of concern will receive legal assistance|
|420,000||households will receive core relief items|
|70,700||households will receive shelter support|
|20,000||people of concern will receive psychosocial support|
|20,000||at-risk children will benefit from tailored support services|
People of Concern
Syrian Arab Republic
Operational contextIn 2020, the humanitarian needs in the Syrian Arab Republic (Syria) remained extensive and significant protection risks persisted. COVID-19 eroded communities’ resilience and exacerbated an already dire humanitarian situation. As of early 2021, it was estimated that over 13 million people needed humanitarian assistance in Syria; 2 million more than at the start of 2020. The increase in humanitarian needs was largely due to the pandemic, the depreciation of the Syrian pound, fuel shortages, and the country’s challenging political and economic landscape.
New displacement took place in some areas of the country, mainly due to ongoing insecurity. At the same time, internally displaced people and Syrian refugees from neighbouring countries chose to spontaneously return to their areas of origin.
In this context, UNHCR and its partners provided protection and assistance to refugees, internally displaced, returnees and stateless persons based on identified needs and vulnerabilities.
Population trendsBy the end of 2020, the UN estimated that 6.7 million people were internally displaced in Syria, representing an increase of nearly 300,000 displaced people since the start of the year. OCHA estimated that some 448,000 IDPs returned to their areas of origin in 2020, slightly down from the 494,000 reported to have returned in 2019. Meanwhile, UNHCR verified that some 38,563 refugees returned to Syria in 2020, down from 94,971 verified returns reported in 2019.
The number of registered refugees in Syria remained stable, with limited opportunities for durable solutions. The number of stateless persons remained unchanged.
- 1.4 million people received integrated protection support at 94 community centres, 37 satellite centres, and through 123 mobile units across all 14 Governorates.
- Through UNHCR’s support, 1,430,563 Syrians including IDPs, returnees and members of host communities were issued identity documents such as identity cards, family booklets and birth certificates. A total of 239,161 refugees, asylum-seekers, IDPs and returnees received legal assistance.
- UNHCR distributed over 500,000 masks, gloves, hand sanitizers and disinfectants to government and partner frontline workers, and to people of concern.
- Over 120,000 IDP, refugee, returnee and host community households benefited from UNHCR’s shelter programme. The beneficiaries also included those who received tents and water and sanitation (WASH) assistance in camps in north-east Syria.
- 113,308 IDP and returnee households received core relief items, while 138,867 households received additional items to address their winterization needs.
- In 2020, UNHCR provided 3,483 refugee households with a one-time cash grant to help meet their increased needs during the winter months.
- Almost 600,000 refugees, asylum-seekers, returnees, IDPs and host community members received health services at UNHCR-supported health facilities.
- UNHCR supported 35,482 IDP children with non-formal education and homework café activities. 110 refugee students received higher education scholarships, including 14 DAFI scholarships.
- During 2020, UNHCR assisted 4,851 refugee households (some 13,800 individuals) at least once with a monthly multi-purpose cash grant.
- UNHCR successfully advocated with the Directorate of Immigration to renew the residency documents of refugees and asylum-seekers despite the expiry of UNHCR certificates, which could not be renewed due to COVID-19 measures.
- UNHCR Syria was 33% funded by the end of 2020.
- One third of schools in Syria are destroyed, damaged, or utilized for purposes other than education. UNHCR’s interventions only met a small proportion of the large gap in the education infrastructure, equipment and training of teachers, and education personnel.
- Some 7,600 people of concern did not receive support to restart livelihood activities.
- Over 80% of individuals in need did not receive any type of mental health or psychosocial remedial services.
- UNHCR was able to provide secondary and tertiary medical care only to a very limited number of refugees in need. Some 500 refugees and asylum-seekers suffering from chronic medical conditions were unable to access necessary medication.
Working environmentThe scale, severity and complexity of the humanitarian needs of people in the Syrian Arab Republic (Syria) remain extensive. There are significant protection risks due to continuous hostilities in localized areas, new and protracted displacements, an increase in self-organized returns and the erosion of communities’ resilience without enhanced international support. With the Syria crisis in its ninth year, more than 6.2 million Syrians remain internally displaced (as of August 2019) and over 11 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance in Syria. The humanitarian situation in north-east Syria remains dire, with an estimated 1.65 million people currently in need of humanitarian assistance, including in Al-Hol camp in Al-Hasakeh governorate (as of September 2019). As of early November, over 215,000 population movements were recorded across Al-Hasakeh, Ar-Raqqa and Aleppo governorates following the start of the military operations in north-east Syria on 9 October, including nearly 70,000 children. While some 100,000 people have returned to their areas of origin, over 100,000 people remain displaced. Meanwhile, north-west Syria continues to be characterized by ongoing conflict, which exposes civilians directly to hostilities. More than 400,000 people were displaced from northern Hama and southern Idleb governorate between April and September 2019, including many who have been displaced multiple times before.
Self-organized returns of IDPs and refugees from neighbouring countries continue to areas where stability has been restored, and that have become accessible, requiring an expanded response. Between January 2016 and September 2019, more than 209,000 Syrian refugees spontaneously returned from Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. As of end September 2019, the number of refugee returns stands at around 75,500 –– surpassing the total number of returns verified throughout 2018 (55,248). Intention surveys indicate at least three quarters of the Syrian refugee population hope to return one day. Meanwhile, according to OCHA, there were an estimated 341,000 spontaneous IDP returns between January and September 2019.
In the context of the Whole of Syria approach, UNHCR continues to play a key coordination role, leading the Protection and Community Services, Shelter and Non-Food Items sectors. UNHCR will continue to work closely with its national NGO partners to provide protection and assistance to people of concern.
Key prioritiesWithin the framework of the Syria “2019 Humanitarian Response Plan”, UNHCR’s strategic and operational priorities for 2020 are:
- Preparing for, and responding to, a potential influx of IDPs and refugees, as well as returns of IDPs and refugees.
- Contributing to fostering an environment for voluntary, dignified, safe and sustainable return of refugees and IDPs. Focusing particularly on supporting those who return spontaneously and their communities.
- Enhancing the protective environment for refugees and promote innovative solutions, shifting from individualized approaches to more community-based interventions.
- Strengthening delivery-focused partnerships to achieve the above through inter-agency and sector coordination fora.