Syria’s civilian population bears the brunt of a decade-long conflict, compounded by worsening humanitarian and economic conditions. More than ten years of crisis have inflicted immense suffering on the civilian population who have experienced massive and systematic violations of international humanitarian and human rights law. While the March 2020 Idleb ceasefire agreement led to an overall reduction in hostilities and large-scale displacement, conflict has intensified throughout 2021 along frontlines that have not shifted significantly since 2020 and is driving humanitarian needs to a significant extent.

Areas controlled by the Government of Syria, including crossline activities to north-east Syria

This report is part of a series of Whole of Syria (WoS) Protection Analysis Updates and covers the period from 1 January 2021 to 31 May 2022. It focuses on areas covered by the HCT-coordinated response (i.e. Government-controlled areas and areas of north-east Syria accessible through crossline).The most severe protection risks identified in the period covered by this report are: (1) Abduction, kidnapping, enforced disappearance, arbitrary or unlawful arrest and/or detention, torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; (2) Impediments and restrictions to access resources, opportunities, services, documentation and justice; (3) Forced displacements and restrictions on the freedom of movement; (4) Gender-based violence; (5) Exposure to explosive ordnance.

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Over a decade of sustained conflict, protracted and multiple displacements, violations of international humanitarian and human rights laws, and endemic violence have led to an acute protection crisis in North-West Syria (NWS). The continuing impact of conflict has depleted the resources and capacity for resilience of the 4.4 million individuals living in this area of Syria. The vast majority of the region’s population were forcibly displaced to the North-West because of conflict in other parts of Syria. They are now trapped by a border wall and conflict frontlines, unable to escape the extreme violence and poverty that have become part of everyday life in the North-West.

North-West Syria

This report, highlighting the protection risks in NWS, is part of a series of regional Whole of Syria Protection Analysis Updates (PAUs).The most severe protection risks identified in the period covered by this report are: (1) Ongoing Attacks Against Civilians and Civilian Infrastructure, in Violation of Human Rights and IHL, (2) Continued Practice of Arbitrary Arrest & Detention, Torture and Ill-Treatment, (3) Pervasive Gender-Based Violence, with Limited Availability of Preventive & Responsive GBV Services, (4) Worsening Trends with Respect to Child Marriage, (5) High Prevalence of Fatalities, Injuries & Movement Restrictions Due to Widespread Explosive Hazard Contamination, (6) Barriers to Inclusion for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) and Older Persons Persist, (7) Widespread Reliance on Child Labor by Impoverished Families, (8) Increasing Rates of Psychosocial Distress among Children and Caregivers, (9) Continued Inability to Secure Civil Status Documentation Due to Lack of GoS Civil Registries in NWS, (10) Systemic Challenges in Exercising Housing, Land & Property (HLP) Rights, and Forced Evictions from Informal Sites.

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Advocacy Protection Messages for Donors and Member States

The following messages reflect priority protection issues in Syria, based on recent analysis from the Whole of Syria Protection Sector, including hubs and partners operating in Government of Syria (GoS) controlled areas of the country as well as in the North West (NW) and North East (NE) regions of Syria.

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