What is happening in Syria?
The conflict in Syria dates back to March 2011.
It started out as a peaceful protest, with public demonstrations calling for democratic reforms. But the peaceful demonstrations were met by swift government opposition, eventually giving way to a brutal war.
Eleven years later, the Syrian conflict has shifted into a seemingly unsolvable crisis, leaving a country scarred by terror and instability. Right now, at least 13 million people within Syria need humanitarian assistance.
11 years of conflict
The Syrian crisis has been ShelterBox’s largest and most sustained response in our history. As we mark this tragic 11-year anniversary, over 13 million people have been displaced by the conflict (source: UNHCR).
News of the conflict rarely makes headlines, but it rages on. And the political stalemate means the future is as uncertain as ever. As the fighting continues, millions of displaced Syrians face brutal winters, floods that wash away shelters, financial issues and the additional threat of coronavirus.
Learn how the war in Syria began, who is involved and how families have been affected with our interactive timeline.
What challenges do people face?
Financially, Syria is on its knees. The Syrian pound has halved in value and widespread sanctions affect the flow of money coming into the country.
Basics like fuel, food and medicines are now out of reach for people who were already struggling to access them. The cost of a food basket, for example, has increased by 236% in just 12 months.
Coronavirus poses a deadly threat in a country already at war. In February 2021, a WHO official said that an initial vaccine rollout may only reach 3% of the Syrian population – and there were serious concerns over how fairly those vaccines would be distributed.
The mitigations we’re familiar with at home, such as widespread lockdowns, social distancing and enhanced hygiene measures, are almost impossible in a fractured country, where millions are displaced and living in emergency shelter, with little or no sanitation.
Syria faces extreme heat in the summer and freezing temperatures in the winter. Just this February, days of heavy rain caused widespread floods in the northwest of Syria, destroying thousands of tents and soaking families’ possessions.
Without warm clothes, blankets and proper insulation, families have no choice but to group together in shared shelters to ensure they survive the winter.
How are we helping families?
We are providing shelter for families who have been forced to leave their homes due to the conflict in Syria.
When families are far from home, and traumatised from their experiences, having a safe place to call home is invaluable.
More than 400,000 people in the region have received ShelterBox aid since we first responded to the crisis in December 2012. This makes it the largest, most sustained response in our history.
And since spring 2020, ShelterBox has been incorporating items like soap, handbasins and face masks to help limit the spread of COVID-19.
Our aid items in Syria
Working with partners
Our partners help us provide aid in some of the most remote and dangerous conflict zones around the world.
In Syria, we’re working with ReliefAid and Bahar Organisation to get our aid to those who need it the most.
But what motivates these extraordinary individuals to risk their lives to deliver aid in such dangerous circumstances?
Meet Farid and find out what life looks like for aid workers in Syria.