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: British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson visits Mercy Corps’ Syrian operations in Turkey
For more than four years, Mercy Corps has been delivering lifesaving aid to people displaced by the conflict inside Syria. Today we are the largest non-governmental organization working inside Syria, reaching up to 677,000 people every month with lifesaving assistance.
Lebanon, Syria: Syrian dad determined to keep refugee kids learning
Ziad will do anything to ensure his children get an education — and a future — as refugees. At this camp in Lebanon, that meant starting a school in his tent and teaching lessons himself.
Lebanon, Syria: In Lebanon, one Syrian boy forced to grow up fast
Where school is out of reach, many Syrian refugees start work young, to learn a trade and help make ends meet for their families. We meet Hammoudi, a young teen in Lebanon, who dreams of returning to school.
Jordan, Lebanon, Syria: The stolen childhoods of refugee youth
Faced with life away from home, little access to school and destitute futures, many Syrian refugee teens are being forced into adulthood at an early age. We're trying to help them regain some of what they've lost.
Syria: Mercy Corps ready to deliver aid into Aleppo
Our team is prepared to deliver aid into the war-battered city of Aleppo as a nationwide cease-fire gets underway, but the cessation of hostilities must provide a window of safety for humanitarian aid agencies to deliver help.
Lebanon, Syria: One mother to another, Syrian refugees learn to cope
Parenting is never easy, but it's even more challenging when you are a refugee. That's why we are connecting refugee mothers in Lebanon with an expert on their situation: A Syrian refugee who can offer real-life advice.
Greece, Syria: How refugee parents comfort their children
Every parent wants their child to feel safe and protected. But how do you provide that when you're caught in a war? We asked refugee parents how they ease their children's fears. This is what they said.
Greece, Syria: Syrian refugee mother struggles to reunite family
Walaa has gone to extraordinary lengths to protect her children from the war in Syria. Now, separated from her husband and stuck in Greece, their story of survival is far from over.
Afghanistan, Greece, Iraq, Jordan, Syria: How technology is affecting the refugee crisis
The mass movement of refugees toward western Europe has spawned a modern migration, one in which smartphones, the internet and other technologies play a lifesaving and transformative role.
Syria, Turkey: What leaders can learn from Syria’s youth
They spoke of bullying, early marriage, as well as hope and their determination to build a better future. When Syrian youth spoke up at the World Humanitarian Summit in May, those leading the refugee crisis response were sure to listen.