Syria’s relentless civil war enters its eighth year this month with no sign of any end to what has...
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Now on its seventh 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 million have fled to the relative safety of other countries.
International Medical Corps works in Syria and 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.
people inside Syria need assistance
Syrians who have fled Syria and are living as refugees
Half of the displaced are children and youth
The Syrian civil war started in March 2011 amidst the so-called “Arab Spring” when peaceful protests escalated to violence following a government crackdown. The conflict has since become more and more fractured and complicated over the past six years, as the number of armed opposition groups fighting for power multiplied, including the emergence of the Islamic State in 2013.
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 are 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.
The Syrian crisis has fueled the largest displacement crisis since World War II. More than 6.3 million Syrians are displaced inside Syria, while more than five 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.
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.
Fighting continues to endanger civilians and force them from their homes
The war has decimated much of Syria’s infrastructure
Half of Syria’s population are uprooted from their homes, fueling the largest displacement crisis since World War II
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.
Syrians have been exposed to extreme levels of violence and suffering. To ensure families’ emotional and psychological needs are supported, 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.
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.
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.
International Medical Corps, together with a local Turkish partner, offers a variety of social services to refugees and asylum seekers through multi-service centers in Turkey. In these centers, refugees can receive health screenings, access legal and social assistance, and participate in skills-building courses such as language classes. The goal is to help Syrian refugees better access important services of daily life in Turkey. We are working to open similar centers in Iraq.
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.READ MORE