Syria: Qamishli Flash Update – Flash Update 1: Displacement of Al-Hasakeh (as of January 23, 2022) – Syrian Arab Republic

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STRONG POINTS

• On January 20, an attack on Sina’a prison in the city of Al-Hasakeh caused a rapid escalation of hostilities with gunshots and explosions reported in the area.

• Civilian casualties and injuries have been reported, although the figures have not been confirmed.

• Up to 45,000 people have been displaced from their homes to other parts of the city. Most people take refuge with family or friends. Some 750 people are housed in two temporary shelters.

• The humanitarian priority is to rapidly scale up emergency assistance, particularly food aid and non-food items (NFIs) as negative conditions were reported this week across Syria.

OVERVIEW OF THE SITUATION

On January 20, Sina’a prison was attacked by an unknown group, and explosions and gunfire were reported in the area and surrounding neighborhoods in southern Al-Hasakeh city. Up to 6,000 people, many of whom are accused of being associated with terrorist organizations, are imprisoned in Sina’a. Initial reports indicate that at least 80 prisoners escaped in the recent attack. Multiple attacks and riots have been reported in previous years at both prisons, although none of the previous incidents were of this magnitude.

Civilian injuries and deaths have been reported, although figures are unconfirmed. A massive security operation was launched in the nearby neighborhoods of Ghweiran and Al Zouhour with airstrikes and gunfire reported on January 23. Significant damage to public infrastructure is also reported in these areas. Since January 20, the communities of Ghweiran and Al Zouhour have not had access to public services, including health services and drinking water, as well as essential items such as fuel oil and bread. Since January 23, a total lockdown has been announced in the city of Al-Hasakeh for seven days, with hostilities confined to the southern districts. A partial curfew was announced for all towns in northeast Syria and a ban on movement between towns for seven days.

The only safe exit from the Ghweiran district is at the border with the GoS-controlled area in downtown Al-Hasakeh. People using this corridor are searched by the security services before being transferred to the SARC and NGOs who transport them to host communities or temporary shelters. Around 9,000 families (45,000 people), many of them women and children, are displaced to the GoS-controlled area in downtown Al-Hasakeh and the neighborhoods of Al-Nashwa, Al-Salihiya, Al -Aziziyah and Tal Hajar. An additional 150 families (750 people) are accommodated in two temporary shelters in Al-Hasakeh town and Tel Hajar with more expected to arrive in the coming days. Most of the displaced people have taken refuge with families or friends in areas north of the Khabour River and in the eastern neighborhoods of Al-Hasakeh town.

About 12 UN trucks moving cross-border from Tabqa to Ar Raqqa en route to UN logistics warehouses in Qamishli are stuck in Al Hasakeh town or Ar Raqqa because the southern entrance to Al-Hasakeh is closed.

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