A Decade of Despair: Time to End Syria's Suffering

March 15, 2021

War Child providing psychosocial support for Syrian refugee children
This week marks ten long years of humanitarian catastrophe in Syria. Amid this grim milestone, the violence and indiscriminate attacks against children, families and communities continue unabated. More people in Syria than ever before currently lack clean water and don’t know when they will have their next meal. War Child is joining international calls for urgent diplomatic and humanitarian action.

Hospitals, schools, markets, homes and roads in Syria have been damaged or destroyed over the past ten years. Many that are still standing have become shelters for those displaced by the conflict. Some 2.4 million children are out of school. The devastating health and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the human suffering.

Unprecedented displacement

The protracted displacement as a result of the violence is the worst since the Second World War. Some 6.2 million people remain displaced inside Syria’s borders. 5.6 million Syrians have sought refuge in neighbouring countries - 2.5 million of them children. Most have little legal protections and few opportunities to provide for their families.

Acute poverty

Inside Syria over 80 per cent of people are living in poverty - the result of a toxic combination of hyperinflation, widespread unemployment and increasing fuel shortages. Basic goods are no longer affordable for many, forcing families to reduce the amount of meals they put on the table or trade what little food they do have for medicine.

Not forgotten

Together with its Syrian partners, War Child continues to provide desperately needed protection, psychosocial support and education services to affected children and their families - both inside Syria and to Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries as well as parts of Europe.

“The world must show it has not forgotten about Syria and act to end the unimaginable human suffering,” says War Child’s Syria Response director Lukas van Trier. “We call on governments with influence over the warring parties to use their pressure to seek an end to this brutal conflict and spare millions more Syrians from the violence.”


The international community needs to invest in both urgent humanitarian needs and long-term development to enable increased resilience - both now and in the future. We must allow Syrians to live a better life, where they can live in a repaired house and don’t go hungry. Where children can go to school, be free from all forms of violence and have hope for the future. Otherwise, the impact of a decade of conflict could become irreversible.

War Child is among 35 leading aid agencies warning of the prolonged suffering and increased, irreversible damage if growing humanitarian needs in Syria are not met and a political solution is not found. Read more