During January, hostilities between the Government of Syria (GoS) forces and Non-State Armed Groups (NSAGs) decreased significantly following the ceasefire agreement that was brokered by Russia and Turkey in December 2016. This decrease proved to be short-lived after hostilities reignited in the Wadi Barada area, in January, and Dar’a city in February, after which the ceasefire came to an end. In March, hostilities also broke out in the northern countryside of Hama governorate between GoS and NSAGs, displacing at least 52,000 people. April saw a chemical attack on Khan Shaykun town in Idleb governorate that resulted in 87 fatalities, and at least 21 attacks on health care across the country. Meanwhile, evacuations to the northwest continued, with more than 35,000 people arriving from Al-Waer, Barzeh, Qaboun, Arsal/Flita and other locations. Following the collapse of the December 2016 ceasefire agreement; Russia, Turkey and Iran brokered another agreement, which created four de-escalation areas across the country (northwestern Syria, Northern Rural Homs, Southern Syria and Eastern Ghouta). While a reduction in hostilities was noted in north-western Syria and Northern Rural Homs, hostilities in Southern Syria and Eastern Ghouta continued at worrying levels. And while a de-escalation agreement between USA, Jordan and the Russian Federation that was reached in July 2017 significantly reduced conflict intensity in Southern Syria, hostilities in Eastern Ghouta continued despite two separate de-escalation agreements between Jaysh AlIslam and Faylaq Al-Rahman on one hand and the Russian Federation on the other. The hostilities coupled with the limited flow of commercial and humanitarian supplies to Eastern Ghouta exacerbated the living conditions of 350,000 – 400,000 people that are trapped in the enclave.
In the eastern region, the Syrian Democratic Forces led offensive against ISIL in Ar-Raqqa City continued. It is estimated that, by the end of September, more than 320,000 individuals were displaced since the offensive began in November 2016. Reports of civilian deaths due to ground-based shelling and aerial bombardment continued to emerge during the reporting period, raising serious concerns about the safety of civilians. In late August 2017, Government of Syria forces and the Syrian Democratic Forces both launched two separate offensives against ISIL fighters in Deir-ez-Zor Governorate. By the end of September, hostilities resulted in the displacement of around 109,000 individuals, with the majority of IDPs heading to SDF-held areas in Al-Hasakeh, Ar-Raqqa and Aleppo Governorates. The IDPs fleeing the violence in Deir-ez-Zor Governorate faced significant challenges, including restrictions on their movement by ISIL, security screening by SDF and the inability of the IDP sites to host the large number of IDPs