Now in its ninth year, the Syrian war continues to inflict incomprehensible levels of suffering on civilians and fuel the largest displacement crisis in the world today. Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed. More than 6 million Syrians are displaced inside the country, while another 5.6 million have fled to the relative safety of other countries.

International Medical Corps works in Syria as well as in Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq—the four countries hosting the highest number of Syrian refugees—to provide medical care, mental health and psychosocial support, gender-based violence prevention and response, and other vital services to Syrian families whose lives have been shattered by conflict.


Countries Impacted











11.7 Million

people inside Syria need assistance

5.6 Million

Syrian refugees have fled to the safety of other countries

50 %

Half of the displaced are children and youth

Brutal Civil War in Syria Enters Ninth Year

Violence, barbarity go on unabated, but global outrage wanes as the world begins to view the century's bloodiest conflict as Syria's new normal


Syrian Refugee Crisis

More than 11 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance. International Medical Corps has been on the front lines of the crisis.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • When did the Syrian war start?

    The Syrian civil war started in March 2011 amidst the “Arab Spring,” when peaceful protests escalated to violence following a government crackdown. In the years since, the conflict has steadily become more intense, fractured and complicated, as the number of armed Syrian opposition groups fighting for power multiplied and the Islamic State emerged as a major presence in 2013. That mix drew in outside powers both from the region and further afield.

  • What is happening to families inside Syria?

    Civilians in Syria have been exposed to horrific levels of violence that have claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people and reduced entire cities and towns to rubble. More than 6 million Syrians have been displaced from their homes inside Syria, while 11.7 million across the country are estimated to need humanitarian assistance.

  • Where are Syrians taking refuge?

    The Syrian crisis has fueled the largest displacement crisis since World War II. More than 6 million Syrians are displaced inside Syria, while another 5.6 million have fled to other countries. The vast majority of Syrian refugees are living in neighboring countries—Turkey (3 million), Lebanon (1.5 million), Jordan (660,000), Iraq (240,000) and Egypt (122,000)—while another 1 million have requested asylum in Europe.

  • What specifically is International Medical Corps doing?

    International Medical Corps works inside Syria to provide emergency medical care as well as mental health and psychosocial support, protection and emergency assistance to families caught in the conflict. We also support Syrians living in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq by delivering healthcare and other lifesaving services to families living both in camps and host communities. With no end in sight to the war, we are also providing informal education and training opportunities to help refugees integrate and rebuild their lives in their new communities.

Support Those Suffering

The Challenges

Ongoing Conflict

Fighting continues to endanger civilians and force them from their homes.

Weak Systems

The war has decimated much of Syria’s infrastructure.


More than half of Syria’s pre-war population of 21 million has been uprooted from their homes, fueling the largest displacement crisis since World War II.

Our Response


We support existing health centers, manage clinics and hospitals in camps, and operate mobile medical clinics to reach refugees and internally displaced Syrians who do not otherwise have access to local healthcare. Our support for Syrians living in Syria and neighboring countries includes preventative and curative health services, as well as more specialized services such as maternal and reproductive healthcare, in-patient care, surgical care, dentistry and ophthalmology.

Mental Health and Psychosocial Support

Syrians have been exposed to extreme levels of violence and suffering. To ensure that families’ emotional and psychological needs are addressed, International Medical Corps integrates mental health care into healthcare facilities in refugee camps and urban areas when possible. We also train general healthcare and other service providers—many of them Syrians—in mental health care and psychological first aid, so that basic emotional and psychological needs can be addressed and referrals for higher-level care can be made as needed.


International Medical Corps establishes safe spaces for women and girls, as well as children and youth, in refugee camps, giving vulnerable groups places to connect as well as somewhere they can access services. We also work to prevent gender-based violence through community outreach and education, and respond to existing cases with medical care, counseling and other support.

Health education

We train Syrians in neighboring countries to become community health workers, who then help their peers stay healthy through education that emphasizes health promotion, disease prevention and appropriate health-seeking behaviors. They also help connect their peers to our medical facilities. We also distribute personal hygiene materials and other items that help Syrian families stay clean and healthy.

Emergency Relief Items

International Medical Corps regularly distributes relief supplies to Syrian families in need. This includes medical aids for people suffering from physical disabilities, such as wheelchairs, walkers, air mattresses and toilet chairs, as well as hygiene items such as soap, shampoo and diapers. We also provide medicines and medical supplies to hospitals and clinics inside Syria, and in neighboring countries hosting Syrian refugees.

Psychological Toll of War and Uncertainty

Like nearly 5 million others, Hana and her family lost everything to Syria’s brutal and unending civil war. They left their home in the western Syrian city of Homs more than three years ago, and today are scattered across the globe, unsure of when they will reunite again, if ever.


In the Media