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
Iraq, Syria: Mercy Corps leader tells Congress: Support relief efforts in Middle East
Mercy Corps’ Michael Bowers testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in support of continuing emergency relief efforts.
Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria: Who are Syrian refugees?
Meet a few of the people whose lives have been turned upside down by the war in Syria, and learn how we're helping them survive until they can go home again.
Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria: Responding to urgent needs of refugees in the Mediterranean
Our experts are mounting a response to the situation in the Mediterranean as the humanitarian needs of refugees become more severe.
Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria: In the news: Syrian refugees fleeing crisis
This week, our own Andrea Koppel spoke to CNN about the ongoing war in Syria and what we must do to help families fleeing crisis.
Jordan, Syria: Far from home, refugees build community
When Fadia and her family finally made it to Jordan after fleeing Syria, their relief quickly gave way to frustration. But with community leadership training, Fadia found new purpose — and renewed hope.
Syria: No one hears us: A window into the lives of Syria’s youth
Hear from adolescents inside Syria as they tell us about their experiences living through war, and read our new report.
Jordan, Syria: Syrian refugees brave brutal summer conditions
Syrian refugees at Zaatari camp face difficult challenges this summer. The sun and dust are unbearable, and there isn't enough water to bring relief. Hear about their experiences and learn how you can help.
Lebanon, Syria: The struggle to build a home away from home
For refugee families like Daad’s, even the basics are hard to come by. They need better shelter, more food, and perhaps most importantly this summer: clean water.
Jordan, Syria: Q+A: What you need to know about water scarcity in Jordan
Water is alarmingly scarce in Jordan. We spoke with a Mercy Corps water engineer about how his team is working to fix the problem and ensure that Jordanians and Syrian refugees have access to clean water.
Jordan, Syria: We asked refugees: What did you bring with you?
Many Syrian refugees fled with only seconds to grab what matters to them most. These personal items are now bittersweet symbols of home and hope.