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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: Airstrikes cut off humanitarian access to Aleppo City, Syria
Since Wednesday February 3, Mercy Corps' operations in northern Syria have effectively been sliced in half. “We are cut off from Aleppo City,” says David Evans, Mercy Corps’ regional program director for the Middle East.
Iraq, Syria: Teen Syrian refugee boy looks for community in Iraq
Sepan, 15, dances to the beat of his own drummer. A Syrian refugee, he feels isolated in Iraq, but a new Mercy Corps community center could change all that.
Syria: Airstrikes along Turkish border jeopardize aid to Syrians
The increase in airstrikes against towns located between Aleppo City and the Syria-Turkey border threatens critical supply routes for humanitarian aid. Mercy Corps is continuing efforts to deliver aid to Syrian citizens amid increasing danger.
Syria, Turkey: Follow board member Gayle Tzemach Lemmon's journey through Turkey
As Mercy Corps board member Gayle Tzemach Lemmon travels through Turkey, she is documenting her reflections. Read what she has to say about the situation and the Mercy Corps programs that are helping refugees cope.
Jordan, Syria: New glasses bring refugee child to the head of the class
It's difficult to learn if you cannot see. That's why Mercy Corps is linking Syrian refugee school children in Jordan, like Omar, with necessary eye exams and glasses.
Lebanon, Syria: Feeding the future: School lunches set kids up for success
Hunger is a stark reality for many refugee and low-income students in Lebanon. Find out how we got healthy lunches to thousands of children who needed them most.
Syria: Russian entry in Syria disrupts already strained aid efforts
Russian missile strikes in Syria are likely to lead even more Syrians to flee for safety and will make delivery of humanitarian aid to Syrian civilians even more difficult, a Mercy Corps leader warned Congressional leaders during testimony on October 8.
Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey: Turning the tide for refugee support
The numbers of the refugee crisis in Europe are staggering. But corporate partners are stepping up to help us provide the emergency relief and services that refugee families need.
Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey: Refugee crisis: What's happening on the ground in Greece
As the refugee crisis reaches a tipping point, our teams are in Greece to help people in need. Javier Alvarez, a senior team leader, spoke with us this week about the situation.
Afghanistan, Jordan, Syria: Syria crisis highlights overwhelmed humanitarian system
There are more than 59 million refugees worldwide, the highest number since World War II. There is an urgent need to change how our global community tackles complex humanitarian crises.