Syria crisis

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Syria is the most dangerous place in the world to be a civilian. Millions of people urgently need help.

The crisis in brief

What started in March 2011 as peaceful protests inspired by the Arab Spring has turned into the world's largest refugee and displaced person crisis, described by the UN as 'the biggest humanitarian emergency of our era'.

In 2021, after 10 years of conflict in Syria:

  • An estimated 13.4 million people need humanitarian assistance. This is a 21 per cent increase from 2020 and is nearly two-thirds (64 per cent) of the current population.
  • More than 6 million of those in need are children. Around half of Syria’s children are growing up having known nothing but conflict. 2.4 million children are out of school.
  • The conflict has forced more than 13 million people to flee their homes. Around 6.7 million of them are internally displaced. Another 5.6 million are refugees in neighbouring countries.
  • Almost half of all current internally displaced people in Syria are estimated to have been displaced for over five years. Almost 40 per cent are estimated to have been displaced more than three times.
  • An estimated 12.4 million people are food insecure in 2021. Some 2 million of them are acutely food insecure. The number of food insecure people has increased by 30 per cent since April 2020.
  • The price of an average food basket is 236% higher than last year, 29 times pre-crisis levels.
  • Close to 90 per cent of the Syrian population are estimated to live below the poverty line.
  • Only 58 per cent of hospitals and 53 per cent of primary health centres in Syria are functional. Over 50 per cent of health care workers are thought to have left the country.
  • An estimated 4.8 million children have been born in Syria since the crisis started and an additional one million have been born as refugees in neighbouring countries. These children have never known anything but war and displacement for their entire lives.

Tell the government: Don’t cut UK aid to Syria

Will you tell the UK government: don’t cut UK aid to the Syrian people at a time when they need our help more than ever?

After 10 years of conflict, the people of Syria are in desperate need. Two-thirds of the population rely on humanitarian assistance to survive.

Yet the UK government has announced that it will be cutting aid to Syria by £100 million – and that’s on top of a similar cut last year. This means that in less than two years, the government has cut UK aid to Syria by nearly half.

If you think cutting UK aid to the Syrian people is the wrong thing to do, at the worst possible time, then please take a moment to email your MP. Please urge them to oppose these cuts that will put the lives and health of the Syrian people at even greater risk.

Email your MP

Helping people inside Syria

CARE supports our Syrian partner organisation, Violet, to provide vital services at the Hope Maternity Hospital in Idlib. Located in the South of Idlib, this hospital is one of the few maternal and paediatric facilities that remain fully operational and one of the few places where people can receive medical aid. It provides life-saving interventions and it is a glimmer of hope for the people of Idlib. A few months ago, the hospital suffered from lack of funds, but the doctors and nurses continued their work. CARE managed to secure some funding so that staff can receive their salary for their valuable services and to make sure that the hospital will remain open in the coming months.

Sidal, age 12, was six years old when the war began. Since then, she has been displaced several times because of the conflict. For three years, she could not go to school, but now she is back in school. CARE supports our Syrian partner organisation, Ihsan Relief and Development, to provide recreational activities for Syrian children in schools in Idlib.

Read the latest updates

  • See updates on our crisis watch page.
  • Read the latest stories from CARE’s work to support the Syrian people affected by the crisis.
  • Check our media releases page for the latest CARE statements and comments on the Syria crisis.

What we are doing

We are providing assistance to people inside Syria and to refugee families in neighbouring countries including Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. We are also providing emergency assistance to refugee families crossing into Europe. We work alongside other international humanitarian organisations, local partner organisations, UN agencies and governments.

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Background

Well over 3 million Syrians have registered as refugees across the region. It's estimated that the actual number of refugees has reached 4.6 million - meaning more than 1 in 5 Syrians has left the country, 75% of whom are women and children.

13 million people inside Syria are in need of humanitarian assistance as a result of the ongoing conflict.

Sexual exploitation and violence has risen dramatically in the region.

Many families were forced to flee their homes with little or nothing at all. Significant numbers of refugees are living in crowded camps but three-quarters are in urban or rural areas where, with extremely limited resources, they face rising rent and living costs with no way of supporting their families.

This places severe stress on the governments and people of the countries they flee to. In Lebanon, the number of registered refugees has reached one million and amounts to a quarter of the population. The government of Jordan estimates that the country is hosting 1.4 million Syrian refugees - making them one-fifth of the population of the country. In Turkey, more than 2 million Syrians are registered as refugees.

Humanitarian organisations are also under pressure to provide food, shelter, health care, education and safety.

Our response

CARE has assisted more than 4 million people affected by the Syria crisis in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, and Egypt.

Inside Syria, we've assisted more than 3.4 million conflict-affected people in south, central and northern Syria with livelihoods, food, water, sanitation and hygiene support.

In Jordan, we've helped 478,000 people, including Syrian and Iraqi refugees and vulnerable Jordanian host community members, particularly in urban areas. We have supported the construction and the day-to-day running of community centres in Azraq refugee camp. Many refugees also live in crowded conditions in Jordan's towns and cities. We provide livelihoods support to refugee and host communities, and emergency cash assistance for refugees so they can pay for urgent basic needs. Most refugees use this support to pay for rent, medication and food.

For refugees who have lost everything it is a matter of maintaining dignity by choosing and prioritising their specific needs themselves. It ensures that they do not fall deeper into poverty. -- Salam Kanaan, Country Director of CARE Jordan

In Lebanon, we've helped 295,000 people in refugee and host communities, providing hygiene kits and helping refugees access further health, legal and social support; installing water tanks; and working with municipalities to improve water supply and sanitation infrastructure for refugees as well as host communities.

In Egypt, we provide psychosocial assistance to women, men and children helping them to cope with their experience of violence, flight and loss of family and friends. We are also raising awareness among the refugees of sexual exploitation and other forms of gender-based violence to protect them from any form of abuse.

In Turkey, we’ve helped 93,000 people with food, hygiene and household items, blankets and clothing, and advice and support through our information volunteer programmes.

In Serbia and Croatia, we assisted 148,000 people mainly through food packages, hygiene kits, shelter materials and other non-food items (eg blankets, clothes, shoes).

In Greece, we helped 5,400 people with food and water, other emergency relief items, protection advice, and information and communications support.

Note: figures for people helped outside Syria include Syrian refugees, refugees from other countries including Iraq and Afghanistan, and host communities.

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