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.

The context

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.

Our team

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 report Adolescence Lost.

Our impact

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.
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