Welcome to Siege Watch, a joint initiative of PAX and The Syria Institute. The Siege Watch project aims to provide the international community with up-to-date information on Syria’s besieged communities, where trapped civilians suffer in inhumane circumstances with little help from the outside world. Data is collected on an ongoing basis from an extensive network of reporting contacts on the ground and disseminated through in-depth quarterly reports, in the interactive map below, and on the Siege Watch Twitter feed (@siegewatch).

The most recent May 2016 report found that there are still more than 1,000,000 Syrians suffering under siege in locations in Damascus, Rural Damascus, Homs, Deir Ezzor, and Idlib governorates. An additional 1,400,000 additional people live in areas on the Siege Watch “Watchlist,” which face siege-like conditions and are at risk of becoming completely besieged. Despite unprecedented international efforts in recent months, not a single siege was lifted and conditions in many areas worsened.

Use the interactive map below to zoom in and learn more about each besieged community. For further information on the map format, data, and classifications, check out the Map Guide. Finally, for background on the project and our data gathering methodology, please see the ‘About‘ page. Stay tuned for our next quarterly report.

Siege classification

Tier 1

Tier 1

Tier 2

Tier 2

Tier 3

Tier 3

Watchlist

Watchlist

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Syria

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Jobar: 33.523561, 36.334478
Al-Qadam: 33.471125, 36.285792
Yarmouk: 33.468742, 36.309981
Arbin: 33.538906, 36.365400
Zamalka: 33.524983, 36.351886
Beit Sawa: 33.539058, 36.400047
Eftreis: 33.516978, 36.401853
Ein Tarma: 33.513539, 36.349219
Hamouriya (aka Hammura): 33.527194, 36.389222
Hazzeh: 33.521311, 36.364317
Jisreen: 33.509469, 36.390156
Kafr Batna: 33.514136, 36.376178
Saqba: 33.520311, 36.385853
Deir Assafir: 33.465517, 36.418806
Zebdine: 33.482828, 36.401556
Babbila: 33.469622, 36.330097
Beit Sahm: 33.471842, 36.337756
Yelda: 33.463867, 36.322453
Douma: 33.570331, 36.403467
Hosh al Dawahirah: 33.548442, 36.460203
Hosh al Fara: 33.568692, 36.485031
Hosh Nasri: 33.558761, 36.466736
Al-Rayhan: 33.575022, 36.441250
Al-Shaifuniya: 33.558464, 36.437236
Harasta: 33.558075, 36.363847
Madeira: 33.546094, 36.384878
Misraba: 33.551647, 36.395744
Autaya: 33.522436, 36.459375
Beit Naim: 33.514744, 36.440153
Al-Bilaliyeh: 33.494794, 36.499944
Bzeina: 33.482025, 36.440919
Harasta al-Qantara: 33.492044, 36.451344
Marj al-Sultan: 33.491461, 36.469753
Nashabiyeh: 33.511069, 36.484719
Nouleh: 33.465306, 36.465681
Al-Salhiyeh: 33.514822, 36.465275
Darayya: 33.458058, 36.232931
Moadamiyet al-Sham: 33.462389, 36.198531
Hajar al-Aswad: 33.459833, 36.305553
Al-Waer: 34.741761, 36.674711
Ar-Rastan: 34.922731, 36.734564
Talbiseh: 34.842642, 36.728753
Deir ez-Zor: 35.336317, 40.137317
Al-Houleh Region: 34.894722, 36.520277
Zabadani: 33.726661, 36.094256
Fuaa: 35.983350, 36.703453
Kafraya: 35.991192, 36.677211
Madaya: 33.691119, 36.103192
Qudsaya: 33.544956, 36.219206
Al-Hameh: 33.563219, 36.217725
Al-Tal: 33.606461, 36.313892
Khan el-Sheih: 33.373200, 36.117253
Eastern Aleppo City: 36.190028, 37.190183
Barzeh: 33.556667, 36.320556

Map Guide

Siege Types

The main types of Syrian communities of concern have been designated on the map:

  1. Besieged – These are the areas that have been under long-term siege (6+ months), and are currently being monitored by the Siege Watch project, and they are further broken down into a Tier classification. These classifications are described in more detail in the next section.
  2. Watchlist – These areas are at high risk of being under long-term siege and may be added to the Siege Watch monitoring project in the future. The communities in this category are either under Partial Siege – where many of the conditions of a siege are met but there remain a limited number of un-blockaded access points that may be usable at least part of the time – or have been besieged for 6 months or less.

Notes on Data

The information for each besieged community is presented on the map in a standardized category format. Most of the data was provided by our reporting sources on the ground, exceptions and clarifications for certain categories are as follows:

  • Dates: Provided by direct reporting source in all cases where a source was available. In cases where source was unavailable, the dates were determined through additional research and extrapolation based on nearby areas. Sieges in Syria are implemented in stages, so dates may range based on individual interpretation.
  • Siege classification: Siege classification is a measure of siege intensity and designations have been made by the Siege Watch project based on the available data, not directly by the reporting sources. The designations range from Tier 1 (highest intensity) to Tier 3 (lowest intensity) following the classification system proposed by SAMS in its March 2015 ‘Slow Death‘ report as follows:
    • Tier 1Tier 1 – This is the highest level of siege, where very little is able to enter through smuggling or bribery and the UN is able to negotiate few if any aid deliveries and assistance that does enter is insufficient for the population. Residents in these areas are at a high risk of malnutrition/dehydration and denial of medical care. The area is frequently attacked by besieging forces causing medical emergencies.
    • Tier 2Tier 2 – This is the moderate level of siege. Small amounts of supplies can usually be smuggled in through bribery and supplies can be purchased on the black market at extremely high prices. Vehicle deliveries cannot enter but residents may have access to alternative food sources such as local agriculture. The UN is able to negotiate few if any aid deliveries and assistance that does enter is insufficient for the population. The area is frequently attacked by besieging forces causing medical emergencies. Residents in these areas are at some risk of malnutrition/dehydration and high risk of denial of medical care.
    • Tier 3Tier 3 – This is the lowest level of siege, where supplies still must be smuggled in but are done so with regularity and the population has consistent access to alternative food sources such as local agriculture. The UN is able to negotiate few if any aid deliveries and assistance that does enter is insufficient for the population. The area is frequently attacked by besieging forces causing medical emergencies. Residents in these areas are at low risk of malnutrition/dehydration and moderate risk of denial of medical care.
  • Besieged by: Provided by direct reporting source in all cases where a source was available. In cases where source was unavailable, the dates were determined through additional research and extrapolation based on nearby areas.
  • UN recognizes siege?: Based on the monthly Secretary-General’s reports on the humanitarian situation in Syria which are mandated by the Security Council. Reports available here.
  • Current population: All population figures should be interpreted as estimates. Many come from Local Council figures based on the number of registered families, with a conservative estimated average of 4 people per family.
  • Active Truce?: Provided by direct reporting source in all cases where a source was available. In cases where source was unavailable, the dates were determined through additional research.

Acronyms

FSA – Free Syrian Army
NDF – National Defense Forces
UN – United Nations
SARC – Syrian Arab Red Crescent
IDP – Internally Displaced Person
IRC – International Red Crescent
ISSG – International Syria Support Group
WASH – Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene

Data Sources

Information on each besieged community is gathered on a monthly basis from reporting contacts on the ground in Syria. In most cases, the reporters are affiliated with a Local Council, which already has processes in place to document the conditions of the siege such as deaths, changes in access, and price fluctuations. In some instances a Local Council partner could not be identified and an alternative local civil authority, such as a medical office or citizen journalists reporting network, has been used instead. In several of the more rural besieged areas, the remaining populations are so low and communications have become so difficult that no reporting partner was available. These cases are duly noted in the interactive map.


The Syria Institute PAX