Khan Arnabeh, Quneitera 6 March 2018. Credit: OCHA/Ghalia Seifo
GENEVA - 27 July 2018: The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that following five weeks of sustained hostilities in Southern Syria, as many as 182,618 people remain displaced from their areas of origin.
Speaking at a press conference on Friday, OCHA spokesperson Jens Laerke said that the Government of Syria has made rapid territorial gains over the past weeks, and currently only a stretch of land near the Golan area remains under Non-State Armed Group-control (NSAG), while a 200 km2 area is under the control of the Daesh-affiliated Jaysh Khaled Bin Walid Waleed group (JKBW).
The United Nations are very concerned regarding JKBW’s policy of restricting the freedom of movement of civilians who are trying to leave the area, and only limited numbers of civilians were able to escape, he said.
While the current number of civilians trapped in the JKBW-controlled area could not be confirmed, the UN estimated that prior to the escalation of hostilities up to 55,000 people were located in said area, noting that several thousands have reportedly since managed to flee, he added.
Those who stay behind remain subject to heightened hostilities. For example, between 21 and 23 July, intense airstrikes were reported on JKBW-held areas in the Yarmouk Basin, including on al-Shajra, Hayt, Tasil, Jellin, Sahm al-Golan, Adwan and Tal al-Jumou’, and various reports suggest that at least 32 civilians were killed, including eleven children and three women, the spokesman said.
The UN is further particularly concerned about the humanitarian situation of the 100,000 individuals in the Golan area, who continue to face hostilities and lack access to assistance and services, he added.