New displacement from Aleppo city

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A rapid assessment of Aleppo City conducted by REACH estimates that between 10-20% of the population of eastern Aleppo has fled their homes in the past days, while the anticipation of further escalation of the conflict is likely to result in further displacement.

Since the beginning of February, some 42,000 people have already fled their homes in rural areas in northern Aleppo Governorate. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has estimated that one third to one half of the current population of eastern Aleppo city may flee if the conflict advances—a figure representing 100,000 to 150,000 individuals. In the event that access to eastern Aleppo city is blocked, approximately 300,000 people could be cut off from basic supply chains and humanitarian aid.

REACH conducted a rapid assessment, based on qualitative interviews, to provide information on displacement patterns to date and to better understand the current situation in the increasingly isolated city of Aleppo. Key informants included local council members, local relief committee members, activists, journalists, medical staff, and Syrian NGO workers.

While conflict and insecurity are the primary reasons for leaving, the assessment found that new displacement comes in response to fears that entry points and supply lines will be cut off in the near future. All of those who have left took the main road to Kafr Hamra in the north west, continuing west to Anjara. From there, paths are reported to have diverged, with some heading towards camps on the Turkish border, and others travelling further to the west and south. If the conflict intensifies further, key informants estimated that 50-70% of the current population remaining in eastern Aleppo likely to leave. With humanitarian responders already struggling to provide adequate assistance to displaced families on the Turkish border, large scale displacement from Aleppo City is likely to result in humanitarian needs that exceed aid actors’ ability to respond.

In the event that ongoing conflict disrupts humanitarian access, reduced flows of food aid could have severe consequences for the remaining population of eastern Aleppo. According to a household survey conducted in by REACH in March 2015, 70% of households in eastern Aleppo relied on humanitarian assistance as their primary food source. Therefore, although the main push factor today is a search for security, if the situation escalades as anticipated, displacement dynamics could change as people are increasingly drawn towards areas with better access to aid and services. Read the full Aleppo Displacement Situation Overview assessment. 

Image: Displacement routes from eastern Aleppo city map