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12 years of conflict in Syria

15 March 2023
Syria Local expert

Local experts responding to the earthquake

Thank you to everyone who has supported our work in Syria through donations and prayers. Your donations continue to make a real difference to the people of Syria.

What is the situation in Syria like now? 

CAFOD has worked with local experts in Syria and in neighbouring countries for over ten years, responding to the ongoing crisis.

More recently, on the morning of 6 February 2023, a powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck near Türkiye’s (Turkey) border with northern Syria. This was yet another tragedy for the people of Syria who have suffered from 12 years of war.

  • Currently 15.3 million people across Syria, 70 per cent of Syria’s population, are in need of humanitarian assistance.

  • 6.6 million Syrians have left their country since the beginning of the conflict.

  • A further 6.7 million have been internally displaced within Syria since 2011.

It is the largest forced displacement crisis in the world, accounting for 25 per cent of the global refugee population.

The provision of public services such as water, electricity, heating, and social services were already under strain before the earthquake but are now are under severe pressure.

It is heart-breaking that this disaster has hit people who have already suffered so much. The impact has been catastrophic and will be felt in the country for years to come.

Hombeline Duliere, Emergency Programme Manager for CAFOD’s Syria Crisis response

How your donations have helped

We have worked with local experts in Syria since 2012. Responding to the crisis in Syria and in neighbouring countries. This work includes:

  • Rebuilding and repairing schools and houses

  • Supporting with income generating activities to help people restore their businesses

  • Provision of emergency food, water and shelter

  • Cash assistance for people to provide for their needs.

  • Child friendly spaces and psychosocial support to help people deal with the trauma of war.

  • Technical support to grassroot organisations to enable them to carry out their activities in a more effective, autonomous, integrated, and collective manner.

Emergency Response

Emergency response when a crisis hits

Most recently we have responded to the earthquake in Syria and Turkey with:

  • food baskets, hygiene kits, and non-food items such as blankets and mattresses, rehabilitation of water and sanitation units

  • rent assistance to families who have been relocated

  • direct support to our partners who have been directly impacted by the earthquake

  • medication for people with chronic disease and baby nappies and milk.

Fadi*: “When we first got home, our house was in ruins. No doors, no windows, they ruined the lot. It was uninhabitable. I have a family and my expenses are getting bigger, how could we buy doors and windows?

They came and registered me, took a look at our family card and how many children I have. They re-installed windows and doors even better than what I had before. They brought me a water heater and a water tank, a sink and some faucets. I used to wash dishes on the floor but now they’ve provided me with a two-basin sink. I’m speechless. I don’t know how to thank them enough for what they gave and installed for us.”

Tarek* was helped by local experts to revive his family business, making bags and shoes. He now has eight employees and is teaching his trade to his four children. His hope for the future are “to rehabilitate my home.”

While Mohammad*, a father of five, returned to his house as soon as he could, despite the damage and the looting. “There was nothing left when I came back,” “Everything had been stolen. But at least it was not completely razed to the ground.” Mohammed received support for repairs for his home. In spite of everything, Mohammad has faith in the future. “I hope that my children will have a better life than mine,

*names have been changed

How is the crisis affecting women and girls in Syria?

Rima was helped by local experts to repair what was left of her home. A widow with six children and a mother-in-law to look after, she had nowhere to go, despite daily shelling. When her house was rat-infested and open to the elements, the family had no choice but to find a slightly less damaged dwelling nearby. A year after returning home, she said: “Providing safety and security to my children is what matters the most to me.

Hombeline Duliere, Emergency Programme Manager for CAFOD’s Syria Crisis response, explains how it is women in Syria who are particularly affected:

"Over the past decade, as a UK charity, we’ve supported many civil society organisations including female-led initiatives that are working to help Syrians deal with the trauma of this brutal war. But, the impact of other crises in the world, it is getting more difficult to find funding, and much of this work is now in jeopardy."

What can I do to help?

Syria Crisis Appeal

You can provide vital emergency aid to vulnerable families both inside Syria and in neighbouring countries.