Eight Years of War: The Syria Crisis

15 March 2019

On this day in 2011, war broke out in Syria. The violent suppression of anti-government protests fuelled a multi-front armed conflict that has drawn world powers into the fight for Syria’s liberation and, over the course of eight years, we have continuously witnessed disturbing images of destruction, violence, families torn apart and people risking their lives in search of safety.  Reportedly in its final stages, the conflict continues to drive the world’s biggest refugee crisis and one of its most urgent humanitarian emergencies.

The Crisis in Figures

370,000 people have died in the conflict including 112,000 civilians. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claims more than 21,000 children and 13,000 women were among the dead.

13 million Syrians have been displaced or sent into exile, causing billions of dollars worth of damage to the economy, which has been set back 30 years as conflict has destroyed much of its infrastructure.

• More than 3 million children under 5 years require nutritional support, including nearly 20,000 children suffering from Severe Acute Malnutrition.

13.1 million people require humanitarian assistance, including 6.2 million people who are internally displaced.

1.75 million children aged 5 to 17 years out of school and 1.35 million children at risk of dropping out.


Critical Developments Over the Past Three Months

• In northwestern Syria, an estimated 2.7 million men, women and children are in need of some form of humanitarian assistance, according to reports by UN OCHA. This figure includes 1.7 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) many of whom were displaced “several times” and have been living in camps for many years. 40 per cent of Syria’s children are currently denied an education and nearly 2 million residents depend on water trucking for most of their clean water.

• In December, the UN released the 2019 – 2020 Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan to confront the crisis in Syria.  UN OCHA has reported that the $5.5 billion plan has been drawn up to support the national efforts of neighbouring countries which have been offering asylum to Syrian refugee populations since 2011. 5.6 million Syrians are registered across the region with records showing that one million refugee infants have been born in exile over the course of eight years.

• The battle to defeat ISIS is reportedly in its final stages as US-backed troops escort civilians from the Jihadist group’s last enclave in the village of Baghouz near the Iraqi border, according to the Guardian. In February, more than 40 trucks transported thousands of men, women and children in a large-scale evacuation effort. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the armed group backed by the US, estimates there are 2000 other  civilians inside the territory, and SDF fighters have drawn up a plan to drive out the remaining members of the extremist  group once they are evacuated.

HART partners with St Ephrem Patriarchal Development Committee (EPDC) in Maaloula, Syria, supporting a programme which seeks to empower local women as they return to their town which had been captured by ISIS who not only desecrated holy places but also looted and destroyed homes.The project enables women to preserve fruits and vegetables in order to provide food for their families and to sell produce to generate some income.


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