The camps in northwest Syria: The next generation of emerging informal settlements

Over the past decade, nearly 2.9 million Syrians have been internally displaced to the northwest of Syria.  Since 2012 and a major closure of Syria’s border crossings with Turkey, a further 1,487 camps, formal and informal, have been established within this relatively safe border area. Displacement has been protracted, over 5 years for most camp inhabitants, leading to the rapid urbanisation of previously rural areas, including the emergence of new cities. Since 2019, non-government organisations (NGOs) have supported dozens of housing projects internally displaced persons (IDP) around Idlib, Azaz, Afrin, and Jarablus, and associated infrastructure, such as roads, water, and sanitation etc. but with limited evidence of concerted coordination that will be essential to both the immediate and longer-term liveability of these rapidly emerging urban centres.  This study aims to explore the question of coordination, existing coordination mechanisms and their extent and effectiveness, where these exist, as well as the processes and practices being used, in order to strengthen these and enhance the future functioning of these emerging urban centres in the absence of a state-led urban planning mechanisms.

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