• 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

  • 14,942,000 Total population [?]
  • 14,942,000 People affected [?]
  • 12,939,000 People displaced [?]
  • 11,708,000 People in Need [?]



At least 224,000 civilians, including 29,000 children, have died as a result of conflict since the civil war began in 2011. ?An estimated 11.7 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance. ?6.2 million are internally displaced and 6.8 million refugees have left the country, mostly to neighbouring Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan.  ?

The humanitarian needs in Syria are severe across all sectors, with health, shelter, and food needs most critical in areas where fighting continues, including governorates in the northwest and northeast of the country. Protection interventions are required countrywide. Access for humanitarians remains extremely problematic, even in areas retaken by the Syrian Arab Army. ?

Since late 2015, the Syrian Arab Army has been slowly regaining territory across the country. With only governorates in the northeast and northwest remaining outside government control, the war is widely seen as entering its final and possibly most violent stages. Turkish, Russian, Iranian, American, and Syrian troops are stationed inside Syria, as well as a range of non-state armed groups ranging from more moderate opposition groups to Salafist Jihadi groups. 


Latest Developments


ACAPS' team is daily monitoring the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Find more information related to the outbreak.

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

30/04/2020: On 28 April a bomb exploded in the central market of Afrin, Aleppo governorate, killing at least 43 civilians including 11 children, with another 40 people wounded. Buildings and shops have been damaged, potentially jeopardising the livelihoods of local families. Under Turkish control since March 2018, the city has witnessed 51 violent episodes since the beginning of 2020, including 26 incidents of remote violence and explosions.?

02/04/2020: A conflict over resources such as water and electricity between Turkish-backed and Kurdish actors is ongoing in Al Hasakeh governorate. Water provision from the Allouk water pump that normally reaches 460,000 people in the governorate, including three camps, came again to a halt in the last week of March. This has hindered sanitation efforts, such as handwashing, in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, and has put humanitarian operations under further strain. Water trucking has begun, but meets only half of the needs. The Al Hol and Areesha camps have been affected by the water shortage, and already had a higher risk of outbreak due to overcrowding and poor living conditions. Humanitarian access in northeast Syria is restricted since the closure of the Al Yaroubiah crossing with Iraq in January 2020 cut off an entry point for health supplies.?

20/02/2020: Almost a third (900,000) of the 3 million people residing in the north-west of Syria has been displaced since 1 December 2019. Several have experienced secondary displacement as they fled to Idleb from other conflict areas. While the Turkish border remains closed and clashes draw further north in the governorate, IDP camps have reached their full capacity and IDPs are filling other public spaces, including outdoors. The number of civilian casualties is growing due to indiscriminate violence and the persisting freezing temperatures of the Syrian winter. Despite funding allocations for the humanitarian response, as well as regional prepositioning of aid, aid actors are struggling to provide a timely response.?

For more information on the humanitarian impact of the conflict in north-west Syria, please see the relevant paragraph below.

16/01/2020: On 10 January the UN Security Council (UNSC) approved resolution 2504 prolonging the delivery of UN humanitarian aid through the border crossings of Bab al Salam and Bab al Hawa between Turkey and north-west Syria just before its final deadline. Following the resolution aid will no longer be delivered through two additional crossings, the Jaber-Naseeb crossing with Jordan and the Al Yaroubia crossing with Iraq. This increases the workload for humanitarian operators within north-east Syria, with the closure of an aid lifeline which had been active since 2014. While in previous UNSC resolutions delivery of cross border aid was authorised for one whole year, this time operations have been allowed for a reduced period of six months. As of November 2019, 4 million Syrians were benefiting from cross-border aid deliveries, 1.3 million in the North East only, through the Al Yaroubia crossing. ?

Humanitarian Access


Extreme Constraints 

Humanitarian access remains severely constrained in Syria amid ongoing conflict, even in areas retaken by the government. Escalated fighting in opposition-held territory in the northwest since April 2019, and a military operation by Turkish Armed Forces into the SDF-controlled northeast since October 2019 has resulted in the suspension of humanitarian operations. Local humanitarian staff have been displaced and international staff have been evacuated around the frontlines. Health workers and other humanitarian actors continue to be impacted by shelling, airstrikes, and small arms fire. High presence of unexploded ordnance and explosive remnants of war, ongoing insecurity in government-held and SDF-controlled areas, and administrative challenges, including irregular cross border authorizations, hinder humanitarian operations. Access to the 12,700 people in need in the Rukban makeshift settlement at the Jordanian border continues to be restricted. 

Read more in the latest ACAPS Humanitarian Access Overview.


COVID-19 Outbreak


Syria has registered 47 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and three deaths, as of 11 May. Areas of concern are crowded IDP camps in Idleb and Al Hasakeh where containment measures are difficult to enforce and coping capacities low. Bigger cities with high density populations such as Homs, Aleppo, and Damascus might also be at risk of outbreak. A curfew has been enforced countrywide, with strict restrictions in the northeast, where one death and at least two positive cases were reported. Increasing food prices and higher rates of unemployment due to COVID-19 restrictions risk exacerbating an already deteriorating economic situation and might expose more Syrians to food insecurity. Only 57 hospitals are completely operational nationwide and several communities in the northeast reported long distances to reach the closest operational health centre. The UN has called for an immediate countrywide ceasefire to allow an unrestricted outbreak response, but sporadic exchange of fire has been observed in the northwest, where an estimated 840,000 people remain displaced. Some exemptions for the passage and movement of relief items and workers have been implemented, but humanitarian operations are still affected by COVID-19 restrictions.?

Conflict in northwest


Conflict between the Government of Syria (GoS) and armed opposition groups has intensified since the beginning of 2019, and escalated since 28 April in northwest Syria, causing a high number of civilian casualties. ?Waves of barrel bomb attacks and artillery strikes have hit houses, schools, medical facilities, markets and IDP camps in southern Idleb, northern Hama, eastern Lattakia and western Aleppo governorates.  

The humanitarian situation in the northwest is deteriorating, with ongoing clashes, airstrikes, and shelling restricting the humanitarian access. Since 1 May 2019, some 400,000 people have been forced to flee their homes, most of whom have sought shelter near the Turkish border in densely populated areas where humanitarian response is overstretched. Humanitarian conditions are dire and are expected to worsen as winter approaches. Over 630,000 people are staying in IDP camps in the northwest. Displaced families living in tents and makeshift shelters are facing severe protection and health concerns as temperatures are dropping and rains are causing flooding. Acute needs include shelter, food, and healthcare. ?

In August 2019, the Syrian regime retook control over Khan Shaykun, a strategic town on the M5 highway that stretches from the capital Damascus to Aleppo city. The advancement represented the first significant territorial gain for the regime since the start of the campaign. ?Indiscriminate attacks by regime and allied forces increased since late October after a period of relative calm since the announcement of a ceasefire on 31 August.​​​​​​ ?

The northwestern region was declared a demilitarised zone under a deal between Turkey and Russia in September 2018 which aimed to avert a government assault on the area. The Syrian government has stepped up their attacks in an attempt to regain strategic points. The regime and its allies have claimed they have been targeting extremist groups in the area.


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. ?


Violence in Daraa governorate


Violence has soared in Daraa governorate in southern Syria amid rising tensions between the local population and Syrian regime forces. Over 2019, assassinations, enforced disappearances, looting, fires, localised clashes, and other security incidents carried out both by regime and opposition forces have wreaked chaos in the region. ?

Read the full narrative here. 

Conflict in the northeast


On 9 October 2019, Turkey started a long-threatened offensive, named “Operation Peace Spring”, into the Kurdish-controlled northeast of Syria. The operation was launched just days after an announcement from US president Trump that the US would be withdrawing its troops from the Turkish/Syrian border. Turkey’s offensive aims at removing Kurdish forces from the border area and creating a buffer zone of 115km long and between 5 and 30km wide along the border, to which millions of Syrian refugees can be relocated from Turkey. ?

Despite recent ceasefire agreements, sporadic clashes between Turkish-backed armed forces and the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)as well as the allied Syrian Arab Army (SAA) have continued in different locations across Hasakeh and Raqqa governorates in northeast Syria as of December 2019. Joint Russian-Turkish patrols started on 1 November 2019, indicating that the terms of the Sochi agreement between Turkey and Russia of 22 October, that stipulated the removal of SDF troops from the planned buffer zone, continue to be implemented. ?

Airstrikes and ground attacks have killed and injured hundreds of civilians. Despite a decrease in fighting since the implementation of the ceasefires, at least 75,000 people remain displaced as of 19 November 2019. The majority of the displaced are residing in host communities across Hasakeh, Raqqa and Aleppo governorates, where towns are overwhelmed by the influx. Some 17,500 IDPs are staying in collective shelters, mostly schools. Infrastructure has been severely damaged. Increased food prices, restricted food supply, and a disrupted planting season as a result of the clashes are likely to further strain the already dire food security situation in the region. The people living in northeast Syria have experienced multiple displacements. Cities where people are likely to flee are heavily contaminated with mines and lack basic services, and IDP camps in the area are already overstretched due to years of conflict. Humanitarian operations are severely hampered by fighting, disrupted supply chains of humanitarian goods, and shifts in territorial control. ?