Since the beginning of the conflict in Syria, 6.5 million Syrians have been displaced, of whom more than 2.7 million are in Northwest Syria (NWS), representing 64 per cent of the population living in NWS.

In 2014, IOM Türkiye started its first Cross-Border Programme with a focus on the procurement, storage, shipment and distribution of lifesaving humanitarian relief items. Since then, IOM’s Cross-Border operations have grown to include humanitarian activities in eight different sectors, including shelter, non-food items (NFI) and operations, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), camp coordination and camp management (CCCM), protection, health, food security, and early recovery and livelihoods.

In addition to the distribution and installation of tents, IOM’s cross-border shelter team has distributed and installed thousands of dignified shelter units in NWS. Adopting a holistic approach through the response, IOM’s shelter projects are implemented in conjunction with WASH activities, including installation and rehabilitation of water networks, sewage lines and construction of sceptic pits, alongside hygiene promotion and hygiene kits distribution.

IOM’s NFI/Operations team spearheads the procurement, transshipment and distribution of NFIs across Northwest Syria (NWS) to support to the most vulnerable households living in protracted displacement.

NFI activities are carried out through two main channels: the Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM) and Single Source Procurement (SSP). The RRM addresses both the ongoing and rapid onset emergencies, the latter of which is facilitated through its Quick Release modality. The success of the program relies on the commitment of local partners operating within NWS to respond in a timely manner. These partners play a crucial role in delivering essential aid to beneficiaries, encompassing various kits such as NFI, winterization, shelter repair, hygiene and new arrival kits, as well as tarpaulins and kitchen sets. In parallel, through the SSP, IOM supports key designated partners in the pre-positioning and distribution of tents and NFI kits across a number of locations in NWS.

In the first three quarters of 2023, IOM has dispatched over 750 trucks into NWS, shipping more than 1.1 million items and assisting approximately 100,000 individuals. To support its operations, IOM relies on the region’s largest warehouse infrastructure, which includes warehouses in various locations. These facilities are strategically used for item prepositioning, thus ensuring the availability of NFI kits and tents to support partners in promptly responding to emergencies across NWS.

As of October 2021, IOM’s cross-border health team is actively engaged in various health-related initiatives, in close coordination with the health cluster and health partners operating in NWS.

The main focus is to support healthcare facilities, both secondary and primary, including the provision of medical supplies, equipment, and operational support to ensure the delivery of essential healthcare services; operate mobile clinics, which are crucial for reaching underserved populations in remote or conflict-affected areas; and support hemodialysis centers by providing the necessary dialysis kits. This assistance is vital for patients with renal conditions who require regular dialysis treatment. Furthermore, IOM supported the COVID-19 response through the deployment of rapid diagnostic tests to identify COVID-19 cases and support to intensive care units designated for COVID-19 patients with ventilators, in addition to research and analysis.

IOM provides both food security and livelihoods (FSL) and early recovery and livelihoods (ERL) assistance in order to foster the resilience of affected populations. Adopting a community participation and ownership approach, IOM's ERL programming helps beneficiaries move towards self-reliance and includes the rehabilitation of key basic services as identified with communities.

IOM’s protection team reaches out to thousands of people in need of protection support with specialized and community-based protection services.  The overarching objective of IOM’s protection programming is to contribute to fulfilment of needs and upholding rights of displaced persons and conflict-affected populations in NWS, regardless of age, gender, disability, or social status. This entails gender-based violence (GBV) and child protection (CP) prevention and response services, mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) and legal advisory services provided in dedicated community centers and through mobile outreach teams working across NWS.

In Türkiye, IOM operates an extensive logistics and supply chain management system to ensure proper management of emergency stocks at its warehouses. IOM also works with implementing partners in NWS to ensure that standards and protocols are followed during the implementation of all its activities.