• Crisis Severity ?
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Impact ?
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Humanitarian Conditions ?
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Complexity ?
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Access Constraints ?
    No constraints
    Extreme constraints

Key figures

  • 17,500,000 Total population [?]
  • 17,500,000 People affected [?]
  • 15,509,000 People displaced [?]
  • 13,400,000 People in Need [?]



Since the Syrian civil war began in 2011, more than 226,000 civilians – including 29,000 children – have died as a result of the conflict.?6.5 million people are internally displaced in Syria, and 5.6 million are registered refugees in neighbouring countries. Turkey hosts the largest number of Syrian refugees, followed by Lebanon and Jordan. An estimated 11.1 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance. The humanitarian needs in Syria are severe across all sectors, with significant health, education, WASH, shelter, protection, and food needs. Years of conflict have left healthcare centres, hospitals, schools, and water and sanitation systems damaged or destroyed.?

Syria faces an economic crisis, and the value of the Syrian pound has dropped to record lows. The economic downturn – which began when the conflict erupted – has accelerated since late 2019, leading to soaring prices of food, fuel, and other critical items. The cost of basic staples has increased by over 100% since late 2019.?Food prices are 20 times higher than their pre-conflict levels. Households are forced to adopt negative coping mechanisms, including child labour, early marriage, and cutting or reducing meals. As of 2020, an estimated 9.3 million people in Syria – more than half the current population, and the highest level ever recorded in the country – are food insecure, up from an estimated 7.9 million in 2019.?

Military operations in Northwest Syria in and around Idlib displaced nearly a million people between December 2019–February 2020. There are an estimated 2.8 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in Northwest Syria. Over four million people reside in Northeast Syria, including thousands of internally displaced people and imprisoned members of Islamic State who are living in severely overcrowded conditions.?

Latest Developments


04/04/2021: Teachers' strike over unpaid work has been ongoing since early February in northwest Syria. About 35% of teachers in 320 schools in northwest Syria have not received a salary for over a year. 25% of schools are relying on unpaid teachers’ work in the area. Inability to pay teachers and the ongoing strike are likely to disrupt children's access to education ?.

24/03/2021: A surgical hospital in Al-Atareb in Aleppo was hit by artillery shelling on 21 March. Six civilians were killed and 17 injured, including 5 medical staff. The hospital went out of service. It was providing services for around 100,000 people in the area and provide medical care to about 3,820 patients per month ?.

21/03/2021: About half of the 4.4 million people in northwest Syria didn't meet their minimum daily bread needs in December 2020There is a significant gap in bread and bakery assistance in 25 sub-districts where less than half of the population met their bread needs. Half of those sub-districts have high numbers of IDPs ?.

10/03/2021: More than 60 teachers have been detained and 550 dismissed from their jobs in northeast Syria by Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) this year, as at 19 February 2021. Teachers are at risk of arrest, dismissal, or persecution if they refuse to follow the SDF's educational curricula, or reject military conscription ?.

For more information on the humanitarian impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, please see the relevant paragraph below.

Humanitarian Access


Extreme Constraints 

Extreme constraints on humanitarian access are still widespread across Syria. The availability of and access to basic services provided by humanitarian organisations remain limited. The delivery of humanitarian aid continues to be hindered by deliberate restrictions posed by all parties to the conflict. Checkpoints belonging to different armed groups restrict humanitarian aid and prevent residents from maintaining livelihood activities, such as selling goods, as well as from seeking services away from their place of residence. Violence targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure such as markets, hospitals, schools, and residential areas is reported across the country. Violence and hostilities continue to affect humanitarian workers, particularly in northwest Syria where at least 14 deaths of humanitarian staff were reported from January 2020–February 2021. On average, one humanitarian worker is killed every 30 days in northwest Syria as a result of airstrikes, shelling, and explosive weapons. Humanitarian organisations face multiple bureaucratic and logistical constraints. UN agencies have to request permissions from different counterparts in the Government of Syria and from local armed groups in order to deliver aid, especially in northeast Syria. Securing humanitarian access within areas that have come under government control in the past two years is particularly challenging. Some government-held areas in northwest and northeast Syria remain completely inaccessible for humanitarian organisations. Economic hardship has resulted in limited fuel availability, impacting humanitarian operations.

Read more in the latest ACAPS Humanitarian Access Overview.

COVID-19 Outbreak


As of 7 October, 4,457 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 209 related deaths were registered in Government of Syria controlled areas. In northwest Syria, as of 1 October, 1,072 cases were reported, including six deaths. Almost 100 new cases are being reported every day in northwest Syria, where 2.7 million people remain displaced, mostly in overcrowded camps. In northeast Syria, the number of confirmed cases continues to rise, with 1,998 cases and 71 deaths confirmed as of 6 October.?

Because of a lack of testing capacities in the area and perceived underreporting, the actual number of positive cases is probably much higher.?

Densely populated areas, notably Damascus/Rural Damascus and Aleppo and Homs cities, have a higher risk of the virus spreading. People living in congested areas such as camps, informal settlements and collective shelters are also at higher risk of the spread of COVID-19. A dozen health facilities suspended operations in August after cases were recorded in Al Hol refugee and IDP camps (in northeast Syria), because of a lack of personal protective equipment and fears of staff being infected.?

Find more information about the global impact of COVID-19 here.




The deepening socio-economic crisis in Lebanon leads Syrian refugees to opt for unsafe return to Syria, increasing humanitarian needs

Lebanon continues to experience a deepening socio-economic crisis with a deteriorating political and healthcare situation. Poverty among Syrian refugees in Lebanon dramatically increased in 2020. Around 90% of the 1.5 million Syrian refugees in the country live in extreme poverty, up from 55% in 2019.? The number of Syrian refugees who are food insecure also increased, from 29% in 2019 to 49% in 2020.? COVID-19 contingency measures resulted in increased humanitarian needs and aggravated difficulties in sustaining livelihoods and income. This increased people’s reliance on negative coping mechanisms, particularly among the poorest and most vulnerable in the country.? Overall poverty and access to basic services in Lebanon is likely to continue to worsen in 2021, affecting all population groups.?

Despite these circumstances and the severity of needs, the total number of Syrian refugee returnees in 2020 was 9,351 - less than half of the 22,728 returns registered in 2019.? This can be attributed to the fact that the decision of refugees to go back to Syria is influenced mainly by the security and safety situation, economic growth and possibilities, public service availability, and personal ties to their places of origin in Syria - and less so by the poor living conditions in Lebanon.? In a needs assessment conducted in 2020, 81% of key informants among the Syrian returnees from all countries of displacement - including Lebanon - said that the worsening economic situation in their place of displacement was the most important factor for returning, followed by a need to protect properties, cultural ties, and the improvement of the security situation in their location of origin.? Unless the situation significantly improves in Syria, refugees are unlikely to return; this differs from the risk highlighted in the October 2020 Global Risk Analysis.

Key Priorities


Protection: 13.2 million people, including 4.1 million children, are estimated in need of protection assistance. ?

WASH: 6.2 million people need acute WASH-assistance. ?

Health: 13.2 million people require health assistance. The conflict has significantly damaged health facilities. Fuel shortages further hamper access to health services. ?

Food security:  9.3 million people are food insecure as of May 2020, with another 2.2 million at risk of falling into food insecurity. Food prices are higher than a year ago: the cost of a WFP food basket is 133% higher in May 2020 than it was in May 2019.?