Thirteen years have passed since the beginning of the war in Syria and the humanitarian needs in the country continue to grow inexorably. It is estimated that, by 2024, 16.7 million people will be in need of humanitarian assistance or protection. This is the highest number since the beginning of the crisis in 2011.


Military hostilities in Syria continued in 2023, causing continued displacement, destruction of civilian infrastructure and suffering among the population. Moreover, due to military operations, especially in areas close to the frontlines, humanitarian access is largely compromised.

According to reports from OCHA, in October 2023, northern Syria and the governorate of Deir-ez-Zor witnessed the most significant escalation of violence since 2019, resulting in the temporary displacement of more than 153,000 people in northwestern Syria. From the 1st of January to the 31st of October 2023, 454 civilians, including 88 women and 115 children, were killed as a result of the conflict.

Protection needs in Syria are reaching crisis levels. Children continue to be killed and women and girls live in conditions of extreme insecurity. The widespread and unaddressed presence of unexploded ordnance also impacts people’s livelihoods and ability to move within the country. 

The February 2023 earthquakes in northern Syria and Turkey further aggravated an already catastrophic situation, increasing pressure on services, causing displacement and inflicting widespread damage. According to OCHA, the earthquake in Syria killed at least 8,476 people, over 14,500 were injured and 5.37 million were left homeless.

Syria is one of the largest displacement crises globally, with over 12 million Syrians forcibly displaced. Of these, more than 6.7 million Syrians are internally displaced, including 2.8 million in the north-western region alone, in dire living conditions and with limited access to essential goods such as clean water, food, medicine, healthcare and livelihoods. In this area of the country, 3.7 million people suffer from food insecurity.

Moreover, more than 5 million Syrians are hosted in neighbouring countries, mainly in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt. In countries affected by the Syrian crisis, the combination of prolonged displacement and unfavourable socio-economic conditions is having a heavy impact on the living conditions of both the refugee population and host communities. The same combination of factors is causing negative feelings among host communities towards refugees and encouraging pressures to return to Syria. At the same time, international support for countries hosting Syrian refugees is decreasing. 

INTERSOS has been working in Syria since September 2019. Specifically, our teams are active in the rural governorates of Damascus, Hama, Idleb, Tartous and Aleppo, with protection activities, access to primary care and education, conducted in part in collaboration with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor.

Specifically, we offer psychosocial support, care for the most vulnerable and legal support. We also conduct awareness-raising sessions for the local community on protection issues, including informing the population about the risks of unexploded mines, which are unfortunately widespread in the country. In 2023, our protection activities reached around 150,000 people.

In Hama and Idleb we provide health care through our clinics and mobile medical teams, while in Hama, Idleb and Damascus we carry out activities to improve access to medical and reproductive health services for vulnerable communities. We also distribute medicines and medical equipment, provide training for health personnel and conduct awareness-raising sessions on health promotion to support the country’s health system in a severe crisis. 

To facilitate access to education for boys and girls who have been forced to leave school due to displacement or school closures, our teams have rehabilitated schools, including providing furniture, school supplies and school kits for the children. This year, we carried out rehabilitation work in 17 schools and distributed more than 6,000 school kits.

We also do distributions for people who do not have access to basic necessities. We distribute hygiene and dignity kits for women and girls, which mainly contain menstrual hygiene products, as well as winter kits to get through the winter. This winter we distributed more than 1,800 winter kits to a total of more than 11,000 people.