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: Syrian farmers sow seeds of hope in Mercy Corps' agriculture program
Mercy Corps is helping Syrian farmers feed their communities again and give displaced persons the means to raise their own food.
Greece, Syria: Ambulance boat to save lives on perilous Aegean migrant route
A new sea ambulance donated by Mercy Corps to a Turkish search-and-rescue team will save the lives of distressed seafarers, including refugees and migrants who undertake the dangerous sea-crossing to Greece.
Lebanon, Syria: How Mohammad found a future after a childhood of violence
12-year-old Mohammad leads a different life now that he's a refugee living in Lebanon. After his family fled Syria, he had to get a job to help support them. Find out how a community center helps him cope.
Syria: Voices of Aleppo: Stories from our colleagues inside Syria
Read the incredible stories from our colleagues in Aleppo who remained until the city fell in December.
Jordan, Syria: Omar's vision: How war is shaping the next champions for peace
Omar Al-Tal, a Youth Program Leader in Jordan, believes in the incredible potential of young people today. Hear him talk about the opportunities and challenges they face as they approach the next phase of their lives.
Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria: Quick facts: What you need to know about the Syria crisis
More than eight years in, Syria's civil war has fueled a massive exodus. See the staggering statistics and learn the facts behind the figures.
Youth at a Crossroads
Today, millions of youth are at a crossroads: In a world of crisis, they will either become a force for peace or one of continued instability. We must support and empower them now, while they are making the choices that will determine the fate of their lives and their communities.
Syria: Aleppo: Important update about our team
We had Mercy Corps team members working on the ground in East Aleppo, and we are relieved to share that they are all safe.
Syria, Turkey: Far from home, refugee family finds they’re not alone
When Fediya and Feras fled Syria, they left behind their home, community and the support from Mercy Corps that was helping them survive. As refugees in Turkey, they struggled to get by — until Mercy Corps knocked on their door again.
Syria: Q&A: How bread is helping families survive in Syria
Before the war in Syria, bread was a staple food for families there. Now, after more than five years of conflict, it's a lifeline. Find out how we're getting this critical food to war-torn communities, and helping Syrians feed their families.