The conflict map below shows the density of security incidents observed between 02 May 2016 through September 2016 (with over 5,500 events recorded). The city of Aleppo had the highest conflict density as the regime offensive to take the rebel-held east that began in April continued and intensified throughout the reporting period. The incidents in Rural Damascus, Dar’a al Balad, and northern Quneitra also represent conflict between the regime and opposition groups as does the fighting around Tartous, Lattakia and Idleb. In the east however, conflict in Manbij, Homa, Ar-Raqqa and Deir-ez-Zor represents strikes against territory held by ISIL affiliates.
A slight drop in hostilities in May due to a six-day ceasefire in Aleppo was immediately followed by a major spike in hostilities in June a month that saw heavy bombing in the Aleppo countryside, the beginning of the Manbij offensive, opposition take-over of several villages near al-Hader south of Aleppo. In July, a short-lived Eid ceasefire took place during which time the regime gained control of a hilltop that allowed them to effectively place East Aleppo under siege, slowing opposition military activities while also halting humanitarian access. Although conflict intensity steadily declined nationwide, the siege in Aleppo levied a huge burden on civilian access to food, water, and medical supplies, a condition that remained and worsened throughout the rest of the reporting period culminating in the bombing of a UN aid convoy carrying food during an attempted ceasefire in mid-September.
As the overlay with cropland areas shows, the majority of incidents are concentrated in populated areas with agricultural land. The damage to fields and agricultural infrastructure as well as restrictions on supply lines for machinery, livestock feed, seeds and other essential inputs has a devastating effect on national agricultural output, starting with a decrease in areas planted. As a consequence, the production of wheat in 2016 is estimated to be only half of what was produced in 2015, also acknowledging the impact from reduced rainfall and higher temperatures for most of Syria during the growing season. Key transportation routes from producing areas to consumption areas are also affected by the ongoing conflict. This is reflected in the price changes observed around the country, with many districts experiencing significant price increases between May and September.