Our work in Syria

You are here

Our work in Syria

As of March 2018, the crisis in Syria is seven years old. It is estimated that over half a million lives have been lost. Since 2013, our programmes in Syria have been helping those affected by the conflict. We also have programmes helping Syrian refugees in Turkey and Lebanon.

Humanitarian crisis

Over 11 million people have been displaced by the war, with 5.5 million fleeing the country as refugees, the vast majority of whom are now hosted by Syria’s neighbouring countries of Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt. In Syria, over 13 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, including 6 million internally displaced persons.

Concern has been working with Syrians affected and displaced by the conflict in Syria and in the region for five years, responding to one of the largest refugee crises since the Second World War. Our programmes meet the urgent needs of the newly displaced, while also responding to the longer terms needs of conflict-affected people both in camps and in vulnerable host communities. We currently work with Syrians in Syria, Turkey and Lebanon.

In March 2017, to mark the sixth anniversary of the war, we published the report, “Shattered Lives – Protecting civilians in War-torn Syria”. The report examines the devastating impact of war on civilian lives and analyses what needs to be done to provide more robust protection services, end the conflict and begin the road to recovery.

Latest updates

Ongoing work in Syria

Concern’s work supports some of the highest priority needs in Syria, including: providing food, shelter and other emergency items, water and sanitation services in internally displaced persons (IDP) camps and in host communities; assisting the displaced and the most vulnerable returnees and host communities with livelihoods support through vocational trainings, agriculture vouchers and cash for work projects; and supporting conflict affected children through the establishment of Child Friendly Spaces.

In 2017, we reached up to 4,000 IDP households per week with multi-sector humanitarian assistance including food, water and sanitation, shelter and non-food items (NFIs).

Water, sanitation and hygiene

Member of the Concern team in Syria spraying a building in order to control the spread of pests and insects. The bombing of buildings and the breakdown of municipal systems has meant a build-up of dirt for pests to thrive in. Photo: Concern Worldwide.

The lack of clean water is one of the most pressing concerns because of the high risk of waterborne disease outbreaks such as typhoid, cholera and dysentery. The situation is compounded by the disruption of sanitation services due to damage from the war and a lack of funds for operations and maintenance.

Water, sanitation & hygiene (WASH) services provided by Concern in Syria include water supply and sanitation system rehabilitation, solid waste removal for environmental health and vector control activities to prevent the spread of vector-borne diseases. In 2017, our projects reached over 600,000 returnees, displaced people and host community members through these activities, including the rehabilitation of 51 water supply systems and the rehabilitation of 24 sewage systems.  

Emergency response

Concern provides multi-sector emergency assistance for the most vulnerable IDP, host community and returnee families in conflict affected areas of Syria. These projects jointly reached almost 500,000 Syrians in 2017.

We provide emergency food baskets, ready to eat rations or food vouchers to families fleeing conflict. Where access to shops is possible, we utilise food vouchers to so that IDPs can purchase food in the local markets.

Working in IDP camps in 2017, we installed emergency latrines, provided chlorinated water supply, conducted water quality monitoring and were responsible for solid waste management. As part of an integrated programme to prevent the outbreak of disease, we distributed hygiene kits and information to promote improved hygiene practices and hired close to 3000 camp residents through cash-for-work projects to help maintain living and hygiene standards.

We also respond outside of camps to the acute needs of newly displaced populations who settle in cities and rural areas. We do this through the stockpiling and distribution of shelter kits, hygiene kits, water tanks, tap stands, and NFI kits, such as mattresses, blankets, plastic sheets, plastic floor mats and jerry cans. We also ensure water chlorination or emergency water trucking, and water quality monitoring.

Food Basket distribution in northern Syria, Dec 2016. Photo: Concern Worldwide.

Building livelihoods

Concern is also responding to early recovery needs in the fields of agriculture, vocational and technical training, in regions where a degree of stability has been achieved.

We're implementing livelihoods programmes to help displaced families earn an income. In 2017, 40 graduates of our vocational training in sewing were equipped with sewing machines and basic supplies to enable them to establish their own home-based businesses. A further 170 students have enrolled in vocational trainings on carpet weaving and mobile phone and computer repair.

543 households were supported by employing a family member in Cash-for-Work activities, aimed at providing the most vulnerable with a short term basic income. These activities include cleaning of the latrines in camps and solid waste management activities.

Child protection

In Syria, our work in child protection benefitted 1202 children through the establishment of seven child friendly spaces in Syria. The spaces are designed to meet the psychosocial needs of children in dealing with the trauma of conflict and upheaval. In the CFS, Concern staff organize stimulating activity-based learning and basic psychosocial support, through activities such as drawing, music and sports.


Our donors in Syria include: the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations Department (ECHO), Food for Peace, the British Department for International Development (DfID), Irish Aid, the Centre for Disaster Philanthropy, and the USAID Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA)