After 11 years of war, the Syria crisis is characterised by unparalleled suffering and humanitarian needs. Hostilities continue in various parts of the country. Some 6.9 million Syrians are internally displaced, and another 5.5 million are refugees abroad.
Food prices are on the rise while food availability is decreasing. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has further reduced wheat imports and raised prices, leaving 65% of the population food insecure.
The EU and its Member States are the leading humanitarian donors for Syrians in need across the region.
What are the needs?
Some 14.6 million people in Syria require assistance, and almost 2/3 of Syrians face food shortages.
The country is experiencing a deep economic crisis compounded by conflict and COVID-19. March 2022 saw the highest rate of inflation in the past 30 years. According to the World Food Programme (WFP), in June, food prices were 45% higher than in January and almost doubled in a year.
In government-controlled areas, over 3 million people are internally displaced, and 8.2 million vulnerable people need life-saving aid. The security situation in the South remains volatile, with a risk of escalation.
In north-west Syria, 4.1 million people, including 2.7 million internally displaced, require urgent humanitarian assistance. The UN’s Security Council resolution on cross-border aid from Tϋrkiye, which expires in January 2023, offers them a vital lifeline.
Over 650,000 people are displaced in the north-east, of which 135,000 are in camps and rely on aid.
In 2021, Syria experienced its worst water crisis in 70 years. The lack of safe water and the destruction of water infrastructure created a perfect breeding ground for the cholera outbreak that was declared in September 2022.
There are continued reports of violations of international humanitarian law while restrictions and bureaucratic impediments continue to hamper the work of humanitarian organisations.
How are we helping?
The EU and its Member States are the leading donors of international aid to those affected by the conflict in Syria. Since the crisis started in 2011, the EU has mobilised more than €27.4 billion to support the most vulnerable Syrians inside the country and across the region.
From 2017 to 2022, the EU has organised Brussels conferences to support the future of Syria and the region. These have been the main pledging events for the Syria crisis and are preceded by civil society consultations.
So far this year, the European Commission has mobilised €150.7 million in humanitarian aid to provide vital assistance to millions of people inside Syria.
In light of numerous attacks on civilians, hospitals and other civilian infrastructures over the past decade, the EU has continuously urged all parties in the conflict to allow unimpeded and safe humanitarian access to people in need. It has also repeatedly called for the respect of international humanitarian law.
Inside Syria, EU humanitarian assistance is channelled through our humanitarian partners. They are providing Syrians with (i) health care; (ii) food assistance and livelihood; (iii) shelter; (iv) water, sanitation and hygieneservices; (v) psychosocial support; (vi) essential household items; (vii) education; and (viii) protection including actions to prevent sexual and gender-based violence and support to survivors.
Following the declaration of a cholera outbreak in September this year, the EU allocated €700,000 to help contain the epidemic. This came on top of €4 million already mobilised for cholera preparedness and response through improved healthcare, water and sanitation services.
Also in October, the EU mobilised an additional €15 million for food assistance to vulnerable Syrians struggling to feed their families.
The EU’s humanitarian interventions in Syria focus primarily on addressing urgent humanitarian needs. The actions also try to promote sustainable life-saving assistance (early recovery) by improving access to basic services for those in desperate need.
Partners provide emergency aid tailored to the needs of vulnerable people and try to protect them from harm. They attempt to reach Syrians across the country, in underserved or newly accessible regions and in areas where people are at risk of being repeatedly displaced. As many are caught in a cycle of lasting displacement, the aim is to avoid their situation further deteriorating.
With needs greater than ever, the EU also supports the UN’s humanitarian air services. Their domestic flights facilitate the delivery of aid and the transport of humanitarian staff to areas with limited access where aid is needed.
Humanitarian organisations operate in very challenging circumstances, obstructed by insecurity and continued access constraints. They strictly adhere to the humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence.
Last updated: 11/11/2022
Facts & figures
More than 6.9 million internally displaced.
Over 5.6 million registered refugees, including:
- 3.6 million in Tϋrkiye
- 825,000 in Lebanon
- 677,000 in Jordan
- 261,000 in Iraq
- 145,000 in Egypt
- 42,000 in North Africa
(UNHCR, October 2022)
Total assistance by the EU and its Member States to the Syria crisis:
more than €27.4 billion since 2011
EU humanitarian funding inside Syria:
€150.7 million in 2022