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
Jordan, Syria: The Prince of Wales visits youth and leaders at Zaatari Village
Just outside of Zaatari camp, Zaatari village is home to both Syrian refugees and their Jordanian neighbors. Mercy Corps training is helping leaders work together to build a stronger community.
Jordan, Syria: Winter's grasp deepens worries for refugees
Refugee families in Jordan need help to make it through another brutal winter. One young family’s story of survival.
Jordan, Syria: Photos from the field: Winter storm hits refugees
We're bringing in heaters and warm clothing for children in refugee camps that have been inundated by fierce snow and rain over the last week.
Jordan, Syria: Safe shelter from the cold
Most Syrian refugees like Amneh and Khaled can't afford safe, secure living spaces. We're repairing run-down homes to keep their children warm this winter.
Iraq, Syria: Meet Zeena: So much more than a refugee
What happens when war destroys a 25-year-old student's future plans? We give Zeena and other Syrian refugees the chance to become leaders in their communities.
Iraq, Syria: Helping families on the run from conflict in Syria and Iraq
When you don’t know when you can return home, how do you move forward with your life? Cash assistance, rather than handouts, helps displaced families meet their varied needs — and restores some of the dignity they’ve lost.
Lebanon, Syria: In crowded Lebanon, Syrian refugees are forced to shelter in unlikely places
Lebanon is the smallest country crowded with the largest number of Syrian refugees. We're helping families prepare for winter in the abandoned buildings they've found to call home.
Iraq, Syria: Syrian families from Kobane find safety in Iraq
After a month of fighting, many families from the besieged Syrian town have journeyed more than 500 miles to Iraq. We're helping newly arrived refugees and preparing displaced families for winter.
Jordan, Syria: Syrian wrestling champion brings hope to refugee youth
Mohammed Al Karad spent more than a decade as a star Syrian athlete. Now a refugee at Zaatari, he's channeling his past to be a positive role model for young Syrian refugees at Mercy Corps' Youth Center.
Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria: Voices of Syria's youth: What it's like to grow up as a refugee
As part of our new research, we asked youth affected by the Syria crisis to describe their struggles and hopes. See their art and photos — and learn what we must do to help this generation rebuild.