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The Information Management Unit (IMU) of the Assistance Coordination Unit (ACU), through its network of enumerators distributed in the sub-districts of Idleb governorate and in the northern Syria camps tracked the numbers of the IDPs. The data is triangulated with secondary sources of information to assess their basic needs and locate their current places of residence. The number of registered IDPs up to the date of January 7, 2018, stood at 117,876 persons, who took refuge in 198 displacement points. Only 10% of the IDPs were able to reach the Northern camps and distributed within  Atmeh, Al-Karameh, Qah, and Al-Rahmeh clusters in Dana sub-district, and to IDP camp in Salqin sub-district with a number of 11,868 IDPs totaling 1,978 households.

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Worsening bad living conditions are increasingly engulfing IDPs in northern Syria camps; especially with the advent of the winter season, with their growing numbers and consequently the growing of their needs and the scarcity of aid provided by humanitarian organizations, especially during the past two years. It is worth noting that late humanitarian response and delay in sending emergency materials delayed the implementation of winter projects and negatively affected IDPs.

Information Management Unit (IMU) of the Assistance Coordination Unit (ACU) has prepared for the third year consecutively a study1 on the most important IDP needs for winter season in 176 camps within nine different clusters in Northern Syria with 13 camps wider coverage compared to the previous winter needs dashboard. This study aims to strengthen the planning and decision-making capacity of aid actors responding to IDPs crisis and provide humanitarian aid that meets all the needs in order to reduce the bad effects of winter on IDPs. The total number of displaced families within the assessed camps was 34,790, with a total population of 192,284.

More detailed information about IDPs needs in northern Syria camps are available within the monthly IMU’s “IDP Camps Monitoring Interactive Report”

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The ACU’s Information Management Unit launched the third version of its Syrian Public School Assessment Report, to highlight the impact of the Syrian conflict on education and the needs of students and school supplies. The questionnaire for this report was developed from questionnaires used in previous reports in order to reach several indicators… Read and download the full report.

 

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Syria has a vast desert, the Syrian Desert, where large numbers of livestock are bred. It is well-known for a distinguished breed of sheep, Awassi sheep, which is esteemed throughout the world. Sheep from this breed were widely exported before the current crisis. The Syrian desert includes also many breeds of goats and dairy cattle. This livestock kept a sort of food balance as Syrians relied on red meat and white meat. However, there was a surge in the use of white meat and a decline in the use of red during the crisis due to the increase in the
numbers of sheep and cattle which led to an increase in red meat prices. In addition, dairy products from this livestock contributed, in a different way, to the…

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The Information Management Unit (IMU) of the Assistance Coordination Unit (ACU) conducted a
multi-sectoral assessment for the fifth release of its quarterly-issued Dynamic Monitoring Report
(DYNAMO). A total of 94 sub-districts within 10 governorates were assessed to give a comprehensive
account of the humanitarian situation there, and to inform a proper response in all sectors.
This assessment was funded by the ACU and included consultation with the sector leads of the
working groups and other humanitarian partners…

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It is harvest time for Syria’s northern wheat and barley fields, but for farmers battling drought, pestilence, war and economic hardship, the season is yielding meager returns.

“This year is considered a drought year because of the lack of rainfall, and irrigation costs are exorbitant,” Mudeen al-Musa, a northeast Hama farmer told Syria Direct. “Farming is our only livelihood, and our losses are huge.”

The past three months have brought unusually low rainfall to most of Syria, as shown in a map published last month by the Regional Food Security Analysis Network, an initiative by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and iMMAP, an international data collection and analysis non-profit organization. By contrast, 2015 brought the best rainfall in years to Syria, producing higher yields of wheat than previous years but still significantly below the pre-war average.

“This year is one of the driest,” Maher Abu Faisal, a northeast Hama farmer told Syria Direct.

Wheat is Syria’s main and most important crop, “accounting for about 60 percent of cultivated agriculture land” and providing “about 40 percent of Syrian households’ caloric consumption,” according to a March 2016 policy brief published by Duke University.

Winter wheat and barley planted between October and November of last year has grown golden and tall. Like the farmers who care for it and the people in surrounding communities who rely upon it, the life-giving grain has been shaped and threatened by a war currently in its sixth year.

Over the past two weeks, Syria Direct spoke with several Syrian farmers from rebel-held east Hama province as well as a farmer from Syria’s breadbasket in Kurdish-held northeast Al-Hasakah province. They described what it means to farm their respective corners of wartime Syria: rising production costs, supply shortages, drought and farmland destroyed by pests and bombs.

In rebel-held northeastern Hama, bordering southern Idlib and Aleppo provinces, a dry winter accompanied by increased costs of labor, seeds, water and the diesel to run grain harvesters means “crop yields have fallen to less than nothing,” Maher Abu Faisal, a Hama farmer told Syria Direct.

Farming is a key industry for Hama province. In 2006, approximately 36 percent of the province’s territory was used for agriculture, according to the Syrian Ministry of Tourism.

Regime forces control the vast majority of Hama, with areas of rebel control in the province’s north, northeast and south. The Islamic State holds the province’s far east.

“Wheat and barley are our main crops in this area,” said farmer Abu Faisal, but “because wheat needs plentiful water, and we can’t bear the costs of running pumps for irrigation, most farmers are turning to cultivating barley.”

One way to do that in northeast Hama is dry farming, or relying on the rain to water their crops. However, even turning to hardier barley has not saved local farmers from losses, due to “exorbitant price increases in everything agriculture-related,” said Abu Faisal.

“A farm worker who used to accept SP500 (approx. $2.30) per day to harvest will now barely take SP2,000 (approx. $9.17),” said farmer al-Musa. Even if a farmer can afford to buy expensive diesel to run harvester machines, they “break down, since they haven’t been repaired in six years.”

“Because of the weakness of this year’s season, the land couldn’t be harvested,” Muhammad Hallaq, the agriculture representative in the rebel Hama Provincial Council told Syria Direct.

“Desert locusts have spread across and eaten what was left of the wheat,” he said. “Due to increased prices and cost, farmers haven’t been able to spray their crops.”

“Farmers are renting out their land for sheep grazing, rather than lose everything,” said provincial councilman Hallaq. Farmer al-Musa estimates that sheep are grazing in 80 percent of northeast Hama’s barley fields.

“Due to limited abilities and lack of support,” the Hama Provincial Council doesn’t have the funds needed to subsidize irrigation or support farmers with fungicides and pesticides, said councilman Hallaq.

While the council was able to spray for locusts in some Hama fields last month, much of the damage has already been done.

Making matters worse are “area battles and the regime militias’ targeting” and burning of farmland, added Hallaq. Farmer Abu Faisal cited “daily fears of bombardment, since we’re in an area adjacent to regime-held territory.”

Taken together, the many forces at work in northeast Hama have led to a single result, says Hallaq: “A single dunam of land is at a quarter of its usual productivity.”

‘A throwaway price’

In May, the United States Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) reported a 31 percent reduction in Syrian wheat production as a whole compared with last year, drawing on Syrian government statistics, economic data and satellite imagery. Barley production has fallen by 35 percent compared to last year.

Almost half of Syria’s wheat is grown in northeastern Al-Hasakah province, which witnessed normal levels of rainfall this past winter. However, one farmer from Amouda, in northern Al-Hasakah, told Syria Direct that while farmers can grow grain, they can’t sell it for a good price.

Jawan, who asked not to use his full name, claims the Syrian regime—currently the sole buyer of wheat from the province—is buying wheat and barley for “less than a quarter of the true value.”

Kurdish-led forces hold the majority of Al-Hasakah province, while Syrian government forces retain a presence in and around two major cities. The Islamic State holds the province’s far south.

Before the war, the Syrian government completely controlled grain cultivation, selling seeds and pesticides to farmers and buying all of their crops through its General Establishment for Cereal Processing and Trade (Hoboob). Hoboob still buys all the grain in Al-Hasakah.

Hoboob buys a kilo of wheat for SP100 (approx. $0.46), while barley goes for SP75 (approx. $0.34), a “throwaway price,” said Jawan.

“Farmers are selling anyway,” he said, “because they have no other option.”

Low prices and the absence of fertilizer from local markets have hurt the quality of locally grown wheat and turned farmers towards growing crops that are less costly to produce, such as lentils and cumin, he added.

The Kurdish-led Self-Administration currently governing much of Al-Hasakah province allows farmers to sell their crops to any willing buyer, but is not currently participating in the grain industry, Jamal Jamou, Vice President of the Trade and Economics Body in Jazirah canton told Syria Direct.

“We in the Self-Administration of Jazirah canton [northern Al-Hasakah] don’t buy,” currently, said Jamou, but “will buy some next season.”

With no local alternative to regime buyers, farmers have few options. Northern Al-Hasakah is cut off from all directions, with Turkey to the north, a closed border with Iraqi Kurdistan to the east and IS to the south and west.

Farmer Jamou claims that wheat production in Hasakah is only 18 percent of what it was in 2012.

Nearly 400 kilometers southwest of Amouda, farmers in Hama living in different circumstances share similar fears, depending not only on the earth and the rain, but on price fluctuations, battles and politics to decide their fates.

“Each year, we impatiently wait for the harvest, to sell our crops and live off that,” said Hama farmer Maher Abu Faisal. “If things stay the way they are, it will be disastrous for us.”

ACU’s enumerators have assessed 163 camps within ten camp clusters in Northern Syria located in three
governorates Aleppo, Idleb and Lattakia during October 2015. The Northern Hama countryside has
witnessed massive displacement wave since the beginning of the month towards Rural Idleb camps, due
to the deterioration of security situation and the intensification of bombing there.
More than 1,624 new displaced families have reached the camps, part of those families have settled
down in the assessed camps of Atma and Al Karama clusters and the other part stayed within nine newly
established camps most of them in Al Karama cluster. Most of new families had to build rooms roofed
with an insulator due to lack of new tents distributed by humanitarian organizations for the newly
displaced families. The new camps were initially named as following: Al Haneen ila Al Watan, Al Iman
Billah, Al Nahda Al Islamiyah and Mulhak Yasmeen Al Sham within Al Karama cluster.
Al Hadeel camp within Atma cluster and Shuhadaa Kafrnbuda within Qah cluster. Al Huriya wa Al Adala,
Al Ibaa and Sabiroon camps within Salqin cluster. There are other newly established camps but with no
names yet. The humanitarian organizations tried to cover the newly displaced families’ needs by increasing
the amount of provided humanitarian aid including the numbers of food baskets, hygiene and emergency
kits. In spite of this, the humanitarian aid is still insufficient especially number of tents and insulators
needed to contain this…..

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After the liberation of Idleb Governorate by armed opposition and its progress towards Al Ghab Valley, Russian
forces received an authorization from Kremlin to spread military troops and use warplanes in Syria under the
pretext of fighting terrorism in Syria.
In mid-September 2015, Russian airplanes started surveillance rounds over the out of regime control areas. The
first air strike was carried out on September, 30, 2015. Russian forces targeted Al Latmana Village and some
residential buildings there; this village is located in Kafar Zeita Sub-district in Hama Governorate. Taking into
consideration that this area is under the control of moderate opposition that was trained by Europe and USA
and now this opposition is supported and supplied with weapons by them as well. Russian airstrikes aimed to
support regime’s army on the ground. Syrian regime has started to move forward the liberated areas of Hama
Governorate under the aerial protection of the Russians.
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The Assistance Coordination Unit (ACU) has issued the 22nd monthly monitoring report on the internally displaced persons (IDPs) camps the north of Syria. Assessment has been made to characterize the living conditions of those displaced persons within the camps during May 2015.
The total number of assessed camps has increased during May compared to April, in that 168 instead of 162 camps have been assessed. The research team covered 6 additional camps – Shuhada’ Abdien, Sahl Al Ghab I, Ahbab Al Rasoul in Al Rahmeh cluster, Al Khaliej Al Arabi Martyr camp in Qah cluster, Amal Al Awdeh camp in Al Karameh cluster and Omar Al Faruq camp in Kherbet Al Jouz cluster.
The displacement surge goes on in May, with approximately 423 households from Hama governorate, 312 from Idleb and 4 from Aleppo. The total number of displaced persons has been around 3930 individuals. Most households have moved to Atma cluster, same as last months. An additional number of 280 households from Sahl Alghab in both Hama and Idleb governorates have been displaced to Salqin cluster due to battles observed in the region during May.
The Islamic State (ISIL) is still controlling Jarablus cluster with services prevented from reaching the camp dwellers. This status has many impacts on the various sections in general. Human Appeal Organization provided food baskets to some camps. 165 tents have been supplied to the Bab Salameh camp via IHH. The British Monitor Organization sprayed insecticides in a number of camps to curb the Leishmania outbreak, which has already spread over 138 camps out of 168 assessed camps.

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The Assistance Coordination Unit had finished its distribution operations for the “to learn” program dedicated to support the education of the year 2014 – 2015 which provided the needed materials for the continuation of the educational process in the liberated areas inside Syria like winter clothes for students, Stationery, bags, and heating accessories. In addition to a special campaign for supporting teachers jointly with the Ministry of Education in the Syrian interim government and its education directorates in the liberated provinces.

The “to learn” program is one of the largest educational process sector done in the Syrian liberated provinces. The value of the material provided through the “to learn” program is $17.230.489 funded with an in kind grant patronage of King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud.

The education directorates worked on distributing the materials on the students at the schools, which 762 schools were benefited from the program which divided into four provinces (Aleppo 299, Hama 191, Idlib 229, and Latakia 43).

More than 237.000 students were benefited from the “to learn” program that distributed 237.212 school bags contain a full stationary for students enough for the length of the school year, and 219.105 of a winter cloths contain a full winter cloth, coat, and a very good quality shoes for each students.

The “to learn” program also provided 179.865 white board pens, 3.099 Fireplace with accessory crane to be installed within the classrooms along with 476 tons of the Bio-gasoline and coal to be used as heaters in the classrooms. Also, it will provide 1.000 emergency kits contain complete first aid to be used to treat the students in case of emergencies and it will be delivered in the coming few days.

On the other hand, a new program called “ERFAN” was lunched through The “to learn” program to support more than 8000 teachers in total cost of $456,873, providing a complete food baskets and health baskets for female teachers to help them securing their living needs and keep their contribution in supporting the educational process in the liberated provinces. (8431 food baskets and 1394 health baskets).

It is noteworthy that the “to learn” program is a program aim to support the educational process in the Syrian liberated provinces for the year 2014 – 2015 and it was released in cooperation between the Assistance Coordination Unit and Education Directorates affiliated to the Ministry of Education in the Syrian interim government to cover four provinces Hama, Aleppo, Idlib, and Latakia in securing their schools and students needs to enable the educational process to continue in these provinces that suffer a  deterioration in the situation of services in general and also an educational retreat.

 

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