Humanitarianresponse Logo

Syrian Arab Republic: Cross Border Humanitarian Reach and Activities from Turkey - Mar 2020 [EN]


A ceasefire for northwest Syria came into effect on 6 March following an agreement between the governments of Turkey and Russia. Consequently, airstrikes came to a complete halt and shelling occurred only in limited incidences in concentrated areas along the frontlines. According to local sources, hostilities in March resulted in the deaths of 39 people, including nine children and six women, and injured 60 people including 11 children and nine women.  Under the ceasefire agreement, a six-kilometre wide “security corridor” was established on each side of the M4 highway west of Saraqab.  As of end March, some 940,000 people displaced since 1 December 2019 remained in displacement in northwest Syria. The most urgent needs were shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene, food and protection. Needs with longer term impacts, such as nutrition and education, increased in prominence as people became more settled in their places of displacement. According to humanitarian partners, three in every ten children under the age of five in the displaced population were stunted.
On 11 March, WHO declared the COVID-19 outbreak a global pandemic. On the same day, Turkish authorities introduced additional public health measures at border crossings, including those with Syria. The Bab Al-Hawa and Bab Al-Salam border crossings remained open for humanitarian and commercial shipments, albeit with occasional delays, but were closed to individual movements other than emergency medical cases. Similar restrictions were applied at crossings between the Idleb area and northern Aleppo. To prepare for a potential COVID-19 outbreak, humanitarian organisations increased pre-positioning of critical assistance items in northwest Syria. As a result, 1,486 trucks of UN humanitarian assistance were sent across border in March, the highest number recorded since the start of the UN cross-border operation in 2014. Affecting communities were precautions introduced to mitigate against the potential spread of COVID-19.  No cases of COVID-19 were identified in northwest Syria in March. On 24 March, a laboratory in Idleb city was capacitated to test for and diagnose COVID-19 cases, with all patient samples tested until 31 March returning negative results. In some instances, samples were sent for testing in Turkey, including prior to the activation of the laboratory in Idleb. In response to the threat of a COVID-19 outbreak, the Early Warning and Alert Response Network (EWARN) system in northwest Syria was revised for alert verification and investigation, while sample collection and rapid response teams were activated.


People reached numbers reported are for March-2020 only.

Education cluster provided children and adolescents with regular self-learning materials and digital learning materials, provision/rehabilitation of water and sanitation facilities in TLS/ schools, Rehabilitation of learning centers, incentives/allowances for teaching staff, non-formal education (NFE), professional development to teaching staff (active learning, self-learning, life skills), textbooks, life skills based trainings, basic education materials, psychological support and recreational activities, provision of fuel for heating in learning centers and teaching kits, develop & strengthen M&E capacities of education actors, early childhood education (ECE) / early childhood development (ECD) and awareness raising campaigns.

Early Recovery cluster: Since the beginning of the year (January to March 2020),  Early Recovery partners reached 354,775 direct beneficiaries in 33 subdistricts and 54 communities.
In particular, 332,330 directly benefitted from the rehabilitation of access to basic utilities (electricity, gas, water, sewage), 10,010 from entrepreneurial activities and 4,444 from short-term work opportunities provided.
The remaining ER activities mainly focused on the Regular employment opportunities provided from which 3,935 directly benefitted and on vocational and skills training provided for 3,529 direct beneficiaries, 330 benefitted from basic housing repair support.  66,466 HHs benefitted from the rehabilitation of basic utilities (electricity, gas, water, sewage), 3,449 m3 solid and waste removed while 15 local public service providers were provided capacity and equipment support.

FSL cluster: In March 2020, a total of 2,046,854 beneficiaries were reached with food baskets (through in kind, cash or voucher); 388,920 beneficiaries reached with emergency food rations (RTEs [ready to eat rations], cooked meals and one-off food basket); 145,342 beneficiaries reached with mixed food items, 1,298,686 beneficiaries reached with bread/flour distribution.
FSL Cluster reached In January to March 2020 278,677 beneficiaries with agriculture and livelihoods.

Shelter cluster provided rental assistance, construction materials/tools, emergency shelter kits (e.g. tents) and emergency shelter; also rehabilitation of private housing and collective centers. Moreover, shelter cluster provided information/counselling on housing, land & property rights.

NFI cluster provided NFI kits (in-kind, cash, voucher) and training of stakeholders on resilience oriented NFI skills and capacities.

WASH cluster reached beneficiaries with water provision via existing networks, water trucking and private boreholes, household water treatments, maintenance/ cleanings of communal sewage, construction or rehabilitation of communal latrines and household, Solid waste management, hygiene kits distribution, hygiene promotion and vector control. Assitance was provided at the community, camp, collective center and school levels.

Nutrition cluster: Since the beginning of 2020, 24 Nutrition Cluster partners provided life-saving nutrition services covering 215 communities in 36 sub-districts. The delivery platforms were both static sites and 78 Rapid Response Teams (RRTs). Those reached included: treatment of 501 cases of severe acute malnutrition (SAM), 1,693 cases of moderate acute malnutrition (MAM) among children 6-59 months, and 2,396 cases of acutely malnourished pregnant and lactating women (PLW); 27,247 children 6-35 months received lipid-based nutrient supplement (LNS) for prevention of chronic and acute malnutrition; 11,688 displaced children 6-59 months and PLW received high-energy biscuits for prevention of acute malnutrition; 52,185 children 6-59 months and PLW received micronutrient supplements; 45,702 mothers and care givers were reached with messages and counselling on appropriate infant and young child feeding in emergencies (IYCF-E).

Protection cluster provided awareness raising through campaigns and contact initiatives, case management, child protection and psychosocial support, including parenting programmes, develop community level referral pathways, legal assistance, material/cash assistance, outreach activities, psychosocial support, recreation and early childhood development kits, risk education, specialised child protection services, training of front line responders and humanitarian actors, women and girls accessing safe spaces and other socio-economic support.

GBV SC: The GBV Sub Cluster developed a guidance note on GBV Service Provision during the time of COVID-19 which aims to provide certain key points to be considered by the front-line GBV service providers for ensuring timely, dignified and safe GBV service provision in the time of COVID-19 with its heightened risks. The GBV SC in partnership with health cluster colleagues has organized two training sessions for 38 GBV partners inside Syria on how to communicate correct messaging about how to prevent and respond to the COVID-19 in ways they can understand

CCCM cluster tracked 1,023,176 IDPs and has coordinated the provision of lifesaving multi-sectoral response to 1,102,077 IDPs in February 2020.

Health cluster reached 740,909 outpatient consultations; 11,665 people with referrals; supported 11,537 people with physical rehabilitation and supported  6,794 people with mental health consultations in February 2020.


Operation(s)/ Webspace(s): 
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Original Publication Date: 
31 Mar 2020
Map/Infographic Type: 
Information Management
Coordination hub(s): 
Syria: Crisis 2011-2020