Syria (officially the Syrian Arab Republic) is a state in the Middle East with access to the Mediterranean Sea that gained independence from France in 1946. The state's capital is Damascus. The country has land borders with Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, and Iraq. Syria covers an area of 187,437 square kilometers. As of 2022, the country had an estimated population of around 21,6 million people.
The humanitarian situation
The Syrian conflict is one of the largest and most complex humanitarian crises worldwide. The crisis continues to cause tremendous human suffering to people both inside and outside the country. Since 2011 hundreds of thousands of Syrians have been killed and maimed, and millions have been forced to flee. People in Syria have been subject to massive and systematic violations of international humanitarian and human rights law. While continuing conflict in some parts of the country, record highs of food prices, an economic crisis, ongoing displacement, climatic shocks and disease continue to exacerbate humanitarian needs, more than two thirds of the Syrian population are in need of assistance.
Twelve years of conflict in Syria have led to extreme suffering and one of the two largest displacement crises in the world - the other being the military invasion of Ukraine - with more than 12.6 million people fleeing their homes. While 6.9 million women, men and children are internally displaced in their own country, the ongoing civil war has resulted in more than 5.7 million Syrian refugees, located mostly in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. Neighboring Turkey hosts the largest number of Syrian refugees, currently more than 3.6 million people. Germany is the largest non-neighboring host country, with more than 670,000 refugees from Syria.
Syria, a country that used to be self-sufficient in food, is among the six most food insecure countries in the world, according to the World Food Program (WFP). After 12 years of conflict, 12 million people are experiencing acute food insecurity, a high in the last 12 years. Another 2.9 million people are at risk of falling into hunger, meaning that 70% of the population may soon be unable to feed their families. 2.5 million people are severely food insecure, and their lives are at risk without food assistance. Child and maternal malnutrition is increasing at an unprecedented rate. WFP is providing monthly assistance for nearly seven million people.
The UN estimates that in 2023 approximately 15.3 million people - a new record - will need life-saving and life-sustaining humanitarian assistance and protection. After more than a decade of conflict, children continue to pay the highest price. 6.5 million children in Syria are in need of humanitarian assistance. While half a million boys and girls are chronically malnourished, 50 percent of Syrian children have experienced nothing but violent conflict.
The United Nations appealed for 4,44 billion US Dollar in funding for the Syria crisis in 2022. As of December 2022, only 2,11 billion had been received from donors (47% coverage).
A cholera outbreak was declared by the Syrian government on September 10, 2022, and 100 related deaths were reported since. As of January 2023, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), there have been more than 77,560 suspected cases of cholera across the country.
On February 6, 2023, two of the strongest earthquakes in the region in more than 100 years, of 7.8 and 7.5 magnitude, occurred in southeastern Turkey. At least 18 million people have been directly affected by the devastating earthquakes that killed more than 54,000 thousand women, men, and children and injured many more in Turkey and Syria. More than 240,000 buildings have been destroyed or severely damaged, and many people have been left homeless and are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, including large numbers of Syrian refugees on Turkish soil. The earthquakes have also severely affected northwestern Syria, a region where 4.1 million people already rely on humanitarian aid to survive. According to the United Nations, 8.8 million people in Syria have been affected by the devastating earthquakes.
The security situation
The Syrian conflict is an ongoing, multi-layered civil war being fought on Syrian territory between the Syrian Arab Republic, led by President Bashar al-Assad, and various domestic and foreign warring factions that, in various combinations, oppose both the Syrian government and each other. Influenced by larger popular uprisings that began elsewhere in the Arab region, unrest in Syria began in March 2011 out of dissatisfaction with the Syrian government and eventually escalated into armed conflict after protests demanding Assad's ouster were violently suppressed.
A number of foreign states, including Russia, Turkey, Iran, and the United States, have either directly intervened in the conflict or supported one faction or another. The conflict is largely defined by three military campaigns: violence between the Syrian government and opposing forces, U.S. attempts to defeat the Islamic State, and military operations by Turkey against the Syrian Kurds.
The Syrian government - with Russian and Iranian support - regained control of numerous areas from opposition forces by 2020. After the Syrian government reasserted control over most of the country, violence subsided. Opposition forces have maintained limited control in Idlib in northwestern Syria and on the Iraq-Syria border in the northeast of the country. In the northwest, a cease-fire between government and opposition forces has been in place since March 2020. In the northeast, a ceasefire was agreed in October 2019.
For two years, the fronts were almost frozen, but the international community has so far failed to take advantage of the window of opportunity offered by the relative calm to launch a credible political process. Negotiations between the Syrian government and opposition forces have not led to a resolution of the conflict.
According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the ongoing conflict in several parts of Syria continues to leave people in fear of attacks and at risk of new displacement. While large-scale hostilities have subsided following the ceasefire agreements, localized hostilities and lasting impact from previous clashes have continued throughout 2022. In 2022, 1,057 civilians were documented killed in the country by the warring parties, according to the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR).
Your donation for the Syria emergency can help United Nations agencies, international humanitarian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and their local partners to rapidly provide water, food, medicine, shelter and other aid to the people who need it most.
- UN Crisis Relief: Syria Crisis
- World Food Programme: Syria emergency
- UNICEF: Syrian Crisis
- Oxfam international: Crisis in Syria
- UNHCR: Syria emergency
- Islamic Relief Worldwide: Syria crisis
- ICRC: Syria crisis appeal
- Save the children international: Donate to the Syria Crisis
You can find more organizations to donate to in: DONARE: Humanitarian Crisis Relief , DONARE: Refugees and IDPS , DONARE: Children in Need and DONARE: Hunger and Food Insecurity.
- UN OCHA: Syria
- World Health Organization (WHO): Syria crisis
- USA for UNHCR: Syria Refugee Crisis Explained
- Council on Foreign Relations: Global Conflict Tracker: Conflict in Syria
- ACAPS: Syria conflict
- Concern USA: The Syria crisis explained
- International Crisis Group: Syria