Crisis in Syria

Sara, 11 from Homs, Syria stands by an Oxfam-supplied water tank on the roof of her family's home in Zarka, Jordan. Shot in the head in Syria, the bullet grazed her skull, bits of shrapnel remain in her scalp. Photo credit: Sam Tarling /Oxfam
Sara, 11 from Homs, Syria stands by an Oxfam-supplied water tank on the roof of her family's home in Zarka, Jordan. Shot in the head in Syria, the bullet grazed her skull, bits of shrapnel remain in her scalp. Photo credit: Sam Tarling /Oxfam

Five years after the beginning of the conflict in Syria the war shows no sign of abating. Today, half the pre-conflict population of 22 million Syrians have fled their homes and more than 13 million people are in need of your help.

We are acting to support the millions of people who are sheltering in countries that are not their own. We have now reached many people affected by the crisis, across Syria, Lebanon and Jordan and we are also helping refugees crossing the Mediterranean Sea and arriving to Greece, Serbia and Macedonia. With your support we can reach more.

The scale of the Syrian crisis

The humanitarian suffering caused by the crisis is overwhelming. More than 250,000 lives have been lost and more than 4.5 million people have fled to neighboring countries since the start of the conflict in March 2011, according to the UN. Refugees are now citing a deteriorating economy and health system as reasons for flight, alongside the violence that continues to escalate across northern Syria and its western border.

  • The UN estimates that, just in Syria, 13.5 million people are in need of assistance, including 6.6 million internally displaced from their homes.
  • The steady arrival of families displaced by the conflict in neighboring countries is putting extreme pressure on local infrastructure and economies.

Additionally, according to the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, the majority of Syrian families sheltering in neighboring countries live in urban areas, outside of formal camp settings. This makes it harder for them to access vital help. 86% of refugees outside camps in Jordan live below the poverty line.

Our work in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria

In 2014 we reached nearly half a million refugees in Jordan and Lebanon with clean drinking water or cash and relief supplies, such as blankets and stoves and vouchers for hygiene supplies. We are helping families get the information they need about their legal and human rights and connecting them to medical, legal and support services.

We have built shower and toilet blocks in refugee camps, informal settlements and on deserted routes used by people fleeing Syria and have installed or repaired toilets in communities hosting refugees. Piped water schemes are being developed for Jordan’s Zaatari refugee camp and in host communities in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon.

We are also providing clean water to Syrians inside their country through rehabilitation of infrastructure, water trucking and repairing of wells. 

Campaigning for a political solution to the conflict

Providing life-saving support to the millions of people affected by this devastating conflict is essential but it is not enough. We have been campaigning and advocating for a sustainable and inclusive political solution since the beginning of the crisis. We continue to ask for an immediate cease-fire and call for all parties to the conflict to stop any arms transfers and guarantee humanitarian access and protection of civilians, whether inside Syria or in neighboring countries. We are also calling for rich states to commit to fully funding this year’s Syria crisis response appeal and to resettle 10 percent of all registered Syrian refugees by the end of 2016.


Help us respond to the refugee crisis

Your support is vital in helping us reach refugee families in crisis. Support our work with Syrian refugees

Updated 01 February 2016