• Crisis Severity ?
    5.0
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Impact ?
    4.8
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Humanitarian Conditions ?
    5.0
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Complexity ?
    5.1
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Access Constraints ?
    5.0
    No constraints
    Extreme constraints

Key figures

  • 17,500,000 Total population [?]
  • 17,500,000 People affected [?]
  • 15,698,000 People displaced [?]
  • 13,400,000 People in Need [?]

Overview

21/11/2021

Since the Syrian civil war began in 2011, more than 227,400 civilians – including 29,520 children – have died as a result of the conflict ?. 6.7 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 13.4 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 200% 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 2021, an estimated 12.4 million people in Syria – more than 70% of the current population, and the highest level ever recorded in the country – are food insecure, up from 7.9 million in 2020 ?

Military operations in Northwest Syria in and around Idlib displaced nearly a million people between December 2019–February 2020. There are an estimated 4.9 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

25/01/2022

23/01/2022: Heavy snowfall in northwest Syria has affected 22 displacement sites in Aleppo governorate and 9 sites in Idleb governorate. About 360 tents were damaged and over 2,100 people have been affected. Severe weather has blocked key roadways and humanitarian access is disrupted. Shelter, heating materials, winter clothes, and food are needed. Further snowfall is expected. ?

Humanitarian Access

07/12/2021

Extreme Constraints 

Overall, humanitarian access remains severely constrained across Syria. Access requirements for humanitarian responders vary according to the different areas of control, and movement between these areas is constrained at crossing points by armed groups belonging to opposing sides of the conflict, often requiring further negotiation of access at the ground level. Checkpoints, insecurity, and the closure of the M4 highway limit the movement of people and vehicles, affecting the delivery of aid.

Conflict between armed forces and armed groups and generalised violence still affect the population and humanitarians across the country. Access challenges for humanitarian agencies are compounded by operational bureaucratic impediments and COVID-19 restrictions. The lack of civil documentation for Syrians continues to be a major concern, limiting their freedom of movement and access to public services and humanitarian aid. Widespread destruction and damages to basic infrastructure in the areas most affected by conflict, particularly by airstrikes, continue to affect humanitarian operations and the functionality and capacity of facilities.

Read more in the latest ACAPS Humanitarian Access Overview.

COVID-19 Outbreak

21/11/2021

A dramatic increase in monthly COVID-19 cases was reported between August–September across Syria. Caseloads reported in September reached the highest levels since the pandemic started. Regions outside of the Government’s control are most affected as at mid-October 2021: in northwest Syria, more than 82,950 cases were reported, including 1,586 associated deaths; in northeast Syria, over 32,700 cases and 1,134 deaths were reported. Over 39,900 confirmed cases with 2,446 related deaths were registered in areas controlled by the Government of Syria as at mid-October ?

Cases reported in northwest Syria alone increased by over 166% from August to September. Daily caseloads reported in this period in northwest Syria reached up to around 1,500 cases – the highest number ever recorded and well above the average of 771 for the same period. Northern Syria is suffering from shortages of COVID-19 testing kits and oxygen supplies. About 16 out of 33 COVID-19 treatment centres in the area are not fully functioning. Only around 2.5% of over four million people have received the first vaccine dose ?

COVID-19 cases are also on the rise in Government-controlled areas. Hospitals in Damascus and Latakia reached their full capacity in late September, indicating a sharp rise in infections ?. Health services are at risk if COVID-19 cases and hospitalisations continue to climb. 

Densely populated areas, such as the cities of Damascus/Rural Damascus, Aleppo, and Idleb, face higher risk of the virus spreading. People living in camps, informal settlements, and collective shelters are also at higher risk of contracting the virus ?.

UPDATE FROM OCTOBER 2020 RISK ANALYSIS

06/04/2021

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

06/12/2021

Protection: 13.1 million people, including 5.9 million children, are estimated in need of protection assistance ?.

Gender key priority: Women and girls in northwest Syria face multiple forms of protection and mental health concerns. Displacement, negative coping mechanisms (such as child marriage), lack of education, and the economic crisis contribute to increasing trauma and depression rates, which trigger higher risk of suicide. Access to psychiatric and psychosocial support remains very limited ?.

WASH: 12.2 million people need acute WASH-assistance ?.

Health: 12.4 million people require health assistance. The conflict has significantly damaged health facilities. Fuel shortages further hamper access to health services ?.

Food security:  12.4 million people are food insecure, with another 1.3 million at risk of falling into food insecurity. Food prices are higher than a year ago: the cost of a WFP food basket is 247% higher in April 2021 than it was in April 2020 ?

Drought

28/12/2021

Northern Syria faces critical water shortages because of poor seasonal rains, heatwaves, fires, interrupted river flow, damming, poor infrastructure, and conflict. Water has been declining in the Euphrates River since January 2021 and reached a critically low level in May. Around 5.5 million people who rely on the Euphrates River and its subsidiaries for drinking water, irrigation, and electricity are affected by the drought in northeast Syria ?.

Lower water levels have reduced available water for irrigation and the electricity needed to operate irrigation systems. There is a significant failure in rain-fed crops: 18 subdistricts in northeast Syria recorded crop losses of up to 75% in rain-fed harvested areas, affecting about 229,000 people dependent on agriculture for their livelihoods. Wheat production in 2021 is less than half of the production in 2020. The water shortages and wheat production drop have already led to an increase in bread prices and caused a loss of income for agricultural families in 2021 ?.

About 80% of electric power in northeast Syria is hydraulically generated. Limited electricity production has compromised water pumping capacity in northeast Syria. People are relying on emergency water trucking and/or unsafe open sources, increasing the risk of spreading waterborne diseases ?.