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Flash Update #6: Humanitarian impact of the military operation in north-eastern Syria as of 15 October 2019


The security situation in northeast Syria remains highly volatile as the military operation enters its seventh day. Airstrikes and intense hostilities appeared to de-escalate slightly during 15 October. Clashes continued however in Ras Al Ain.
While no further territorial advances were reported on 15 October, the humanitarian access landscape in the area has rapidly changed in the past few days as Turkish Armed Forces made significant territorial advances and Government of Syria forces continued to deploy forces across various Governorates, reportedly reaching the Al Yarobiyah crossing point with Iraq. Turkish and Syrian armed forces have reportedly been in close proximity in various locations, but clashes appear to have been avoided so far.
An estimated 160,000 people have recently been displaced since the beginning of the crisis on 9 October, fleeing military advances and hostilities. Many have displaced multiple times from one area to another. Some 1,000 individuals have reportedly fled to Iraq.
Military advances to Tal Tamer, now hosting many of the newly displaced, are of grave concern. According to health actors, the hospital in Tal Tamer – one of the few still operational in affected areas –  received hundreds of casualties in the past days, against a critical shortage of supplies.
On 15 October, the evacuation of the Ein Issa camp residents was completed, except a few households that chose to remain. The camp, previously hosting close to 13,000 displaced people, was at a cross road between three different armed forces. Most residents were transferred to Mahmudli IDP camp, while others were able to leave to other areas.
In total, close to 20,000 IDPs living in Ein Issa and Mabruka camps had to be relocated to safer areas in the past few days. Efforts to provide assistance to the new arrivals at Areesheh and Mahmudli camp are underway.  Humanitarian actors continue providing life-saving assistance to over 100,000 displaced people in various camps in the region, including Al Hol.
Humanitarian partners are also stepping up to provide life-saving assistance and protection services to the newly displaced arriving in collective shelters in Al Hasakeh, Tal Tamer, and Ar-Raqqa. Over 5,000 people are currently displaced across more than 30 collective shelters.
Significant parts of the M4 highway, which is the main transport route running east-west across northern Syria, remain cut off. Quamishli airport remains open and in use by humanitarian partners to airlift supplies, such as health-related goods. The Al Yarobiyah and Fishkabour border crossings are currently open and reportedly operating normally.  
Despite ongoing efforts, needs across the region remain significant, stretching existing capacities.  Additional resources and implementing capacities are urgently needed to adequately respond to needs.
The United Nations and its partners call for regular, unimpeded and continuous humanitarian access to people fleeing or caught in the violence, across lines of control.
The United Nations has been liaising with Turkish authorities and other parties on the ground to allow the movement of a repair crew for the Allouk water station as well as for the protection of civilians evacuating Ein Issa and Mabruka camps.

Operation(s)/ Webspace(s): 
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Original Publication Date: 
16 Oct 2019
Document type: 
Communication Materials
Syrian Arab Republic
Humanitarian Access
Humanitarian Assistance
Syria: Crisis 2011-2022