A report just released by the ICRC estimates that fifty million people currently bear the brunt of war in cities around the world. http://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/4312_002_Urban-Warfare_web_new_EN.pdf
The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) campaign to retake areas of ar Raqqa governorate currently under IS control has been ongoing since November 2016. The operation is supported by airstrikes by the US-led coalition. On 6 June, the SDF entered ar Raqqa city from the eastern neighbourhood of al Mashlab. The campaign has generated considerable, mostly short-term displacement. As of end-May, over 205,000 had been displaced, mostly within ar Raqqa governorate. IDPs residing in organised camps and makeshift settlements have irregular access to food, drinking water, and sanitation facilities, as well as health services. Anecdotal evidence suggests similar needs among those still in IS-held ar Raqqa city.
The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and its Syrian affiliates face a stark choice: risk their gains in northern Syria through continued prioritisation of the PKK’s fight against Turkey, or pursue local self-rule in the area they have carved out of the chaos of the Syrian war.
Croatian civil society organisations Are You Syrious and Centre for Peace Studies have published a report raising concerns over the increasing trend of rejection of asylum applications by the Croatian Asylum Department following negative security recommendations by the Security Intelligence Agency (SOA).
The report, “Death by Chemicals: the Syrian Government’s Widespread and Systematic Use of Chemical Weapons,”identifies three different systems being used to deliver chemical weapons: government warplanes appear to have dropped bombs with nerve agents on at least four occasions since December 12; government helicopter-dropped chlorine-filled munitions have become more systematic; and government or pro-government ground forces have started using improvised ground-launched munitions filled with chlorine.
The report, “Attack on the Omar Ibn al-Khatab Mosque: US Authorities’ Failure to Take Adequate Precautions,” found that statements by US military authorities after the attack indicate that they failed to understand that the targeted building was a mosque, that prayer was about to begin, and that a religious lecture was taking place at the time of the attack. A proper analysis of the target and its use would probably have established at least some of these elements. Human Rights Watch has not found evidence to support the allegation that members of al-Qaeda or any other armed group were meeting in the mosque.
Six years into the armed conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic, the situation continues to deteriorate. Over 5 million Syrians have taken refuge in the five neighbouring countries – Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt, nearly half of them are children. An entire generation of Syrian children and youth are living through conflict and displacement. For many of them, this is the only life that they have experienced. They are on the verge of becoming a lost generation.
Many of the Syrian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) based in Turkey and providing humanitarian aid inside Syria have reached a high level of organizational and operational capacity that was previously absent.
Four years after plunging into Syria’s civil war, Hizbollah has achieved its core aim of preserving the Assad regime. Yet with no clear exit strategy, the Lebanese “Party of God” faces ever greater costs unless it can lower the sectarian flames, open dialogue with non-jihadist rebel groups and help pave the way for a negotiated settlement.