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Country analysis

Syria


Syria is facing multiple crises, with an estimated 16.7 million people needing humanitarian assistance in 2024. Conflict since 2011 has led to one of the largest displacement crises in the world. 12 million people from Syria remain displaced, including around 6.8 million internally displaced and approximately five million registered refugees, mainly in neighbouring countries. The conflict has also deteriorated the country’s economy, especially from late 2019 as a result of the combined impacts of US sanctions, COVID-19, and the collapse of the financial system in neighbouring Lebanon.

In February 2023, three major earthquakes hit southeastern Türkiye and northwestern Syria, affecting 8.8 million people in Syria alone and aggravating the existing humanitarian crisis. The earthquakes caused more than 5,900 deaths and 12,800 injures in the country. Severe basic and critical infrastructure damage included an estimated 10,600 buildings. In northwestern Syria, the area most affected by the earthquakes and conflict, over 800,000 people were still living in tents and makeshift shelters as at early 2024, and around 2.1 million people will require shelter support throughout the year.

(UNHCR 14/03/2023, UNHCR accessed 19/02/2024, GSC accessed 08/02/2024, UNHCR accessed 08/02/2024, OCHA 22/12/2022)

Syria is facing multiple crises, with an estimated 16.7 million people needing humanitarian assistance in 2024. Conflict since 2011 has led to one of the largest displacement crises in the world. 12 million people from Syria remain displaced, including around 6.8 million internally displaced and approximately five million registered refugees, mainly in neighbouring countries. The conflict has also deteriorated the country’s economy, especially from late 2019 as a result of the combined impacts of US sanctions, COVID-19, and the collapse of the financial system in neighbouring Lebanon.

In February 2023, three major earthquakes hit southeastern Türkiye and northwestern Syria, affecting 8.8 million people in Syria alone and aggravating the existing humanitarian crisis. The earthquakes caused more than 5,900 deaths and 12,800 injures in the country. Severe basic and critical infrastructure damage included an estimated 10,600 buildings. In northwestern Syria, the area most affected by the earthquakes and conflict, over 800,000 people were still living in tents and makeshift shelters as at early 2024, and around 2.1 million people will require shelter support throughout the year.

(UNHCR 14/03/2023, UNHCR accessed 19/02/2024, GSC accessed 08/02/2024, UNHCR accessed 08/02/2024, OCHA 22/12/2022)

Latest updates on country situation

07 February 2024

One year after the earthquakes that hit Syria and Türkiye in February 2023, humanitarian needs in both countries persist. In Türkiye, as at 18 January 2024, over 670,000 earthquake-displaced people still lived in temporary shelters, mainly in container sites, and needed shelter, NFIs, and WASH assistance. In Syria, the earthquakes aggravated an already existing humanitarian crisis driven by a 12-year conflict accompanied by economic deterioration. In 2024, the number of people estimated to be in need throughout the country increased by 1.4 million compared to the 2023 projection. In northwestern Syria, the area most affected by the earthquake and conflict, over 800,000 people lived in tents and makeshift shelters as at 5 February 2024. Around 2.1 million will require shelter support in 2024, while 1.1 million will require NFI support. WASH, health, and protection needs also remain high in the region. (OCHA 21/12/2023, GSC 05/02/2024, Global Shelter Cluster 25/01/2024)

19 January 2024

On 16 January 2024, heavy rains in Syria resulted in high water levels in the Orontes River and its tributaries. The flooding, accompanied by strong winds, significantly affected IDP sites and towns in Northwest Syria, particularly in Idleb governorate, with the western countryside suffering the most damage. Preliminary estimates indicate that as at 19 January, the floods and strong winds had affected approximately 9,700 people in 276 IDP sites. As at 2023, there were 2.87 million IDPs in Northwest Syria, with around 1.99 million residing in over 1,500 IDP sites. The harsh winter conditions, including floods and strong winds, have heightened their existing needs for shelter, WASH, and health assistance driven by continuing conflict and the February 2023 earthquakes. (ECHO 19/01/2024, Enab Baladi 19/01/2024, OCHA 27/12/2023)

12 October 2023

The Syrian Government fired air strikes on Idleb and western Aleppo governorates between 5–13 October 2023, killing more than 50 people, injuring over 300, and displacing nearly 70,000. The displaced are staying in existing IDP sites and camps in Idleb and Aleppo. They need shelter, food, and NFIs. Most injured people have received treatment at hospitals in the area, such as the Sham Surgical Hospital, but insecurity has fully or partially suspended operations in about 25 other health centres. The air strikes resulted in widespread infrastructure damage, including 17 schools and education centres, disrupting education for about 28,000 displaced children. The shelling also affected markets, humanitarian organisation offices, and the main power station in Idleb. The air strikes came after an attack on Homs governorate that killed 100 people on 5 October, which no armed group has claimed responsibility for. (OCHA 13/10/2023, ECHO 12/10/2023, The New Arab 10/10/2023)

06 September 2023

By 6 September 2023, ten days of clashes between the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces and the Arab-led Military Council militia had resulted in at least 54 unconfirmed deaths. The fighting erupted in the countryside of Deir-ez-Zor city in northeastern Syria. Displacement has been observed, mainly to Al-Mayadeen west of Euphrates River, but there is not enough information on the numbers or scale. Curfews, blockages in the main roads of many towns, and road damage have resulted in shortages of essential commodities, such as bread and flour. Clashes have also damaged critical public infrastructure, such as hospitals and water treatment facilities. Some of the immediate needs include shelter, drinking water, and food. Deir-ez-Zor and northeastern Syria in general already face a humanitarian crisis, with 12 years of conflict displacing almost 700,000 people in northeastern Syria alone. These people are almost entirely dependent on humanitarian aid. (Enab Baladi 05/09/2023,
OCHA 04/09/2023, MSF accessed 06/09/2023)

18 July 2023

As at 19 July 2023, the UNSC Resolution 2672 (2023), which expired on 10 July, has still not been renewed. The resolution allowed the delivery of humanitarian aid and assistance to northwest Syria through Bab Al Hawa crossing, on the Syria-Türkiye border.
Following the February earthquakes, the Syrian government allowed the use of two other crossings on the Syria-Türkiye border to deliver aid and assistance to the affected population in northwestern Syria. The permission comes to an end on 13 August.
The 12 years of conflict and the earthquakes in February 2023 resulted in significant humanitarian needs for the population in northwestern Syria. Priority needs are shelter, food, and health assistance.
Failing to renew the cross-border resolution on the use of Bab Al Hawa border-crossing jeopardizes the main UN-coordinated aid delivery mechanism to northwestern Syria. The cross-border humanitarian operation provides aid for around four million people in the region, including around three million IDPs, of which around 1.9 million live in 1,420 camps and informal sites.
(ACAPS 16/06/2023, AP News 15/07/2023, Aljazeera 13/05/2023)

23 May 2023

As at 24 May 2023, the Semalka border crossing connecting Northeast Syria with Iraq had been closed for four days following disputes between the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and the Kurdish-controlled Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria. Around three million people live in Northeast Syria, including over 655,000 IDPs. The Semalka border is a vital crossing for the movement of people and goods between the two regions, and it is the only one that is not controlled by either the Syrian or Turkish Governments in Northeast Syria. Around two million people in Northeast Syria are in need of humanitarian assistance. The crossing has been used by humanitarian organisations, and its closure will have an impact on humanitarian operations, including the transport of supplies and staff. Before the Iraqi authorities closed the border on 20 May, over 300 international staff were evacuated.


(Al-Monitor 21/05/2023, ECHO 23/05/2023, WHO 27/01/2022)

current crises
in Syria


These crises have been identified through the INFORM Severity Index, a tool for measuring and comparing the severity of humanitarian crises globally.

Read more about the Index

REG015 - Turkiye / Syria earthquake (regional crisis)

Last updated 30/11/2023


Drivers

Earthquake

Crisis level

Regional

Severity level

3.6 High

Access constraints

4.0

SYR002 - Türkiye / Syria earthquake

Last updated 31/01/2024


Drivers

Earthquake

Crisis level

Country

Severity level

4.1 Very High

Access constraints

4.0

REG004 - Syrian Regional Crisis

Last updated 27/11/2023


Drivers


Crisis level

Regional

Severity level

4.2 Very High

Access constraints

4.0

SYR001 - Conflict

Last updated 31/01/2024


Drivers

Conflict
Displacement
Violence

Crisis level

Country

Severity level

4.5 Very High

Access constraints

4.0

Analysis products
on Syria

Syria: Capacity-strengthening needs in NWS non-government-controlled areas

29 September 2023

Syria: Capacity-strengthening needs in NWS non-government-controlled areas

DOCUMENT / PDF / 290 KB

This report explores the capacity-strengthening needs of the local NGOs (LNGOs) headquartered and registered in Türkiye and the local responders operating in the nongovernment- controlled areas of Northwest Syria (NWS) – Idleb and northern Aleppo – following the February 2023 earthquake response and the July 2023 non-renewal of the UNSC cross-border resolution. The capacity-strengthening needs are categorised based on the three strategic pillars of the Humanitarian Leadership Academy (HLA).

Syria: data and analysis ecosystem

13 August 2023

Syria: data and analysis ecosystem

DOCUMENT / PDF / 3 MB

This report highlights the main information producers in Syria, the dynamics around data collection and analysis, and the associated challenges. It also seeks to improve the understanding of humanitarian analysis in Syria.

Northern Syria: key crises to watch

04 August 2023

Northern Syria: key crises to watch

DOCUMENT / PDF / 1,016 KB

This report provides an overview of three key humanitarian crises in northern Syria that are expected to deteriorate or see a significant humanitarian impact in the next 6 to 12 months. 

EconomyHumanitarian access

Attached resources

Syria: Cross-border resolution expiration

21 July 2023

Syria: Cross-border resolution expiration

DOCUMENT / PDF / 2 MB

This report aims to provide an overview of the humanitarian impact of the failure of the UN Security Council to renew the mandate for crossborder delivery of humanitarian aid into Northwest Syria (NWS) after its expiry on 10 July 2023 and the contextual dynamics around this.

Humanitarian access
Syria: Assessing increased protection risks and vulnerabilities after the earthquakes

16 June 2023

Syria: Assessing increased protection risks and vulnerabilities after the earthquakes

DOCUMENT / PDF / 288 KB

The report provides an overview of the main protection threats in NWS that the February earthquakes have worsened. It is not a comprehensive list of all protection threats in the region. The analysis includes the differentiated impact on the population and the most at-risk groups.

Natural hazards
View more

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