Now in its eighth 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 six million Syrians are displaced inside the country, while another five and one-half 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 shouldering 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











13.5 Million

people inside Syria need assistance

5.6 Million

Syrians who have fled Syria and are living as refugees

50 %

Half of the displaced are children and youth

Brutal Civil War in Syria Enters Eighth 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 12 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance. International Medical Corps has been on the frontlines of the crisis.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • When did the Syrian war start?

    The Syrian civil war started in March 2011 amidst the so-called “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 are exposed to horrific levels of violence that have claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people and reduced entire cities and towns in rubble. Millions of Syrians have been trapped in hard-to-reach and besieged areas, where they are at-risk of grave human rights abuses and are cut-off from receiving very basic assistance, from food to medical care. More than six million Syrians are also displaced from their homes inside Syria, while 13.5 million across the country are estimated to need humanitarian assistance.

  • Where are Syrians fleeing to?

    The Syrian crisis has fueled the largest displacement crisis since World War II. More than 6.6 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 one 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 health care and other lifesaving services to families living in both camps and host communities. With the war in Syria raging on with no end in sight, 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

Health Care

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 health care. Our health care 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 health care, 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 families’ emotional and psychological needs are addressed, International Medical Corps integrates mental health care into health care facilities in refugee camps and urban areas when possible. We also train general health care 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 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 also train Syrians in neighboring countries to become community health workers, who then help their peers stay healthy through education emphasizing health promotion, disease prevention and appropriate health-seeking behaviors and connecting them 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 five 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