Humanitarian Access, Protection and Diplomacy in Besieged Areas

Ismail, Z.
Publication language
Date published
10 Dec 2018
Research, reports and studies
Conflict, violence & peace, Development & humanitarian aid, Protection
Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Ukraine

What are the lessons learned with regard to the provision of humanitarian aid, the protection of civilians and humanitarian diplomacy in besieged areas, specifically Syria, Yemen and Iraq?

This rapid literature review examines the lessons learned in terms of providing humanitarian access and protection for civilians in besieged areas. The focus is on the following besieged areas: Syria (e.g. Raqqa, Aleppo, Deir-Ez-Zor and Eastern Ghouta), Hudaydah in Yemen and Mosul in Iraq. The recent literature is dominated by the conflict in Syria while there is very little in-depth analysis of humanitarian access in Hudaydah or Mosul. This review utilised grey literature produced by research organisations, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and humanitarian organisations as well as academic literature on humanitarian access. The findings reported in the literature were based on case study analyses which encompassed in-depth interviews with humanitarian actors and victims of conflict.

The Syrian conflict is distinct because of the notable presence of diaspora organisations and local humanitarian actors who are able to use their local knowledge and personal connections to gain access (Haddad & Svoboda, 2017). Consequently, the prominence of non-traditional, local humanitarian actors as providers of aid and access has grown in Syria. In contrast, the literature on humanitarian access in Yemen is focused on high level humanitarian diplomacy aimed at the Saudi coalition which is restricting access to Hudaydah port, the main conduit for food, fuel, aid and medical supplies (Coppi, 2018; WHO, 2018). Apart from one study of trauma units in Mosul this review did not find recent literature on humanitarian access in this area.