Mercy Corps has been working in Syria since 2008 — delivering assistance and support both before and during the ongoing civil war. We are supporting those affected by the conflict in both Syria and neighboring countries by providing emergency assistance to meet basic needs, creating safe spaces for youth, increasing economic opportunities and more. In 2018, we provided assistance to 1.5 million people all across Syria.
With a population of 18.4 million people, an overwhelming majority of Syrians have been impacted by the conflict that started in 2011. Approximately seven out of every 10 people in Syria — 11.7 million in total — are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. 40 percent of them are children under 18.
What started in 2011 as peaceful anti-government protests has since turned into the most violent conflict since WWII, killing at least 220,000 civilians, and displacing nearly 12 million people.
The conflict has done severe damage to the Syrian economy. Over half of Syrians are unemployed and 69 percent of households are living in extreme poverty. 6.7 million people are facing acute food insecurity with a further 4.5 million people at risk of becoming food insecure. 90 percent of households reported spending half their income on food.
Over one third of school-age children in Syria are currently out of school, and have little access to safe spaces to get social support.
Since the conflict began, nearly 12 million people have been forced to flee their homes to escape the violence, with almost half seeking refuge in neighboring countries, including Jordan and Lebanon. 6.2 million people are internally displaced.
The people of Syria are optimistic and hopeful that a brighter future and a stronger tomorrow are coming. Our work in Syria focuses on helping them get there by providing resources such as economic opportunities and access to lifesaving food and water assistance.
The Syria field team is led by Country Director Arnaud Quemin and has 350 team members.
The team aims to support individuals and households to become more resilient so that community members — women, men, girls and boys — are able to thrive once again. We are providing emergency assistance to meet the basic needs (food, water, shelter, etc.) of conflict affected communities. We are also helping local economies by supporting small businesses with trainings and cash grants and working with farmers to increase their food production.
Discover more about Mercy Corps' work with Syrian youth and the impact of the Syrian civil war on adolescents in our new report Adolescence Lost.
Despite ongoing conflict, we have been able to provide assistance to millions of Syrians, ranging from delivering emergency kits to helping children heal from trauma. Our work has changed the lives of millions of Syrians. Here are a few of our results to date:
- Our services reach over 42,000 Syrians every month.
- We recently distributed clean water, food and other essentials to more than 70,000 people in southwestern Syria.
- In 2017, we ensured 101,000 Syrians had sustainable access to clean water.
- For more than three years we provided local bakeries with more than 150 million pounds of free flour so families in need could afford to buy bread.
How to help
Syria: A generation transformed by conflict in Syria
Mercy Corps talked with Syrian adolescents, ages 14 to 19 years old, to gain a deeper understanding of the conflict from their perspective. Here's what they told us.
Syria: "There is still a humanitarian need at an incredibly large scale": Q&A with the deputy country director for Syria
We're still at the front lines of the crisis in Syria. Learn more in this interview with our Deputy Country Director Made Ferguson, who shares his on-the-ground perspective on the current situation.
Afghanistan, Colombia, DR Congo, Indonesia, Nigeria, Syria, Yemen: 7 crises we're watching in 2019
Yemen, Nigeria, Colombia and beyond — here are the top crises we're keeping an eye on in 2019.
Lebanon, Syria: How a playground helped Farat find her voice
Farat lost her home and her husband to Syria's war. A Mercy Corps project in her community gave her the confidence to keep going.
Jordan, Syria: I lost everything when my home was bombed. So I built a school for refugees.
Ahmad was a cattle farmer in Syria when war ended the only life he knew. So he resettled in Jordan—and did something radical.
Jordan, Syria: "Treat them as they are": How a safe space helped a young refugee blossom
Young refugees like Amani are often forced to grow up too fast, faced with adult decisions and traumatic circumstances. Read more about how we're helping her gain life skills and more in her refugee camp.
Jordan, Syria: What happens now: Connecting refugees to critical information on their phones
Watch the video to experience the journey of a refugee and learn how our innovative information app helps them along the way.
Jordan, Syria: Lifting weights and spirits: How a women’s gym forged a friendship
The Syrian refugee crisis is complex and full of challenges. But Lena and Leila's story is proof of one thing we know for certain: bringing refugees and their neighbors together can transform entire communities for good.
Jordan, Syria: The dream Bashar carries
Bashar is a 21-year-old Syrian refugee who works 70 hours a week to support his family. But he hasn't given up on his dream for a better life.
Jordan, Lebanon, Syria: Q&A: How is the Syria crisis reshaping the Middle East?
More than 5 million Syrians have been forced to seek safety in neighboring countries. How will that change the fabric of the Middle East? Learn more in this Q&A with Mercy Corps' country directors for Lebanon and Jordan, George Antoun and Hunter Keith.