Women and baby under shelter in syria

Mercy Corps has been working in Syria since 2008 — delivering assistance and support both before and during the ongoing crisis. 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 2019, we provided assistance to 1.48 million people all across Syria.


The context

With a pre-war population of 22 million people, an overwhelming majority of Syrians have been affected 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 more than half a million people, and displacing nearly 12 million people. In 2014, the United Nations stopped estimating the numbers of those killed, as the conflict made it impossible to calculate those lost with any certainty.
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.

Our work in Syria focuses on helping those trying to survive a seemingly endless war by providing those fleeing violence with household essentials, and  access to lifesaving food and water assistance.

Our team

Syria team members handing supplies to people
The Syria field team is led by Country Director Kieren Barnes 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 skills training 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 crisis 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 emergency response teams in Idlib aim to reach new arrivals within 72 hours, giving them household supplies and help finding shelter.
  • We have reached more than 94,000 people in northwestern Syria since December while nearly a million people are fleeing indiscriminate violence approaching civilian areas.
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