Syria Response

An emergency response programme to uphold the safety and wellbeing of children affected by the conflict in Syria

Facts and figures

  • Total population: 18.3 million
  • Total population under 18: 8.2 million
  • Children affected by conflict: 5.9 million
  • Number of War Child projects in 2019: Six
  • Number of implementing partner organisations: 11
  • Number of partners providing funding: Six
  • Total child participants: 51,063
  • Total adult participants: 11,114

National Situation

Syria has been beset by violence and instability for more than nine years. The country’s brutal civil war has been marked by indiscriminate aerial bombing in civilian areas. The past two years have seen Syrian regime forces take control of several major rebel strongholds - most significantly Deraa Province - as well as large swathes of territory in the south of the country.

Hostilities remain active in other parts of the country. The violence is at its worst in the north east of the country around Idlib - with some two million people in need of humanitarian assistance. The civil war has seen 6.2 million people leave their homes in search of safety inside the country’s borders. A further 5.6 million Syrians are now living as refugees in neighbouring states.

Yet despite the ongoing violence a proportion of Syrian refugees and IDPs are beginning to return ‘home’ to areas still affected by violence. These journeys home are not always made voluntarily.

These people will return to face widespread shortages of food, water and health care - as well as the ongoing violence and destroyed homes and livelihoods. Some 11.7 million people inside Syria are currently classified as in need of urgent humanitarian assistance - with depleted resources and livelihood opportunities making it difficult for families to meet their basic needs.

Situation of Children

Syria’s children are the ones who have suffered most from the effects of the country’s brutal civil war. Children have no safe place to learn, play or live in peace with their families. Repeated displacement and exposure to violent conflict are known to have both immediate and long-term impacts on a child’s psychosocial wellbeing.

The ongoing conflict continues to limit access to education. An estimated 2.15 million school-aged children inside Syria and more than 40 per cent of Syrian refugee children remain out-of-school. More than a third of the country’s schools are either damaged, destroyed, used as shelters or occupied by armed groups.

Children who have found sanctuary in neighbouring states face a number of threats to their safety. Among refugee populations, early marriage and child labour are becoming increasingly common as coping mechanisms as families struggle to survive.

Could you cope if your education was disrupted by war? Syrian refugee children Ahmad and Manal are not only coping - but thriving

“The day I was supposed to go to school, war started. We were moving places constantly. And I couldn't go to school."
Ahmad (11) from Aleppo

What We Do

War Child has been actively responding to the Syrian crisis since 2012. War Child is currently the leading agency providing emergency psychosocial support and education services to Syrian children in Lebanon. We are also present in Jordan to support the urgent needs of displaced Syrian children through our education and child protection programmes.

The aim of our Syrian Response is to ensure the improved psychosocial wellbeing and resilience of the thousands of children taking part in our programmes. These programmes - together with our network of ‘Safe Spaces’ - allow children to process their experiences and be able to plan for a better future.

Our Projects in Lebanon and Jordan

Can’t Wait To Learn

Global programme to provide conflict-affected children with quality education - no matter where they live. The programme sees children play curriculum-based educational games on tablets to learn in an effective and fun way. In Jordan the programme is currently being trialled to respond to the urgent education needs of Syrian refugees and vulnerable children from host communities.

Back to the Future

Major consortium-led education initiative for refugee children affected by the crisis in Syria. The project ensures Syrian refugee children in Lebanon and Jordan can access education and vital psychosocial support.

Time to Be a Child

Project to set up a network of Safe Spaces across Lebanon where vulnerable Syrian refugee children can play, learn and develop in peaceful environments.

Child Friendly Space

Recreational activities delivered in the UNHCR refugee registration centre in Lebanon. These activities enable child refugees to cope with the effects of their displacement and help make the waiting period during registration less stressful for both parents and children.

Strengthening Protection and Resilience

This programme is designed to actively engage communities to enhance protection and build the resilience of both children and caregivers within refugee and host communities.

oog jongen Libanon

“I was riding my bike when armed men rushed into my street,” Habib from Syria remembers

Photo: War Child

Voices of Children

Struggle to Survive

Habib fled the violence in Syria together with his parents when he was just 12 years old. “I was riding my bike when armed men rushed into my street,” he remembers. “They dragged people out of their houses and then shot them.”

A rocket attack wiped out his family’s home - and wreckage of the explosion hit Habib’s head. He was thrown over by the impact of it but survived the explosion.

“I lost consciousness,” Habib explains. “When I woke up again, I didn’t feel any physical pain. It was my heart that was in pain because of what I saw around me. There were dead people on the ground, everywhere. Two of my friends were killed.”

Habib now lives with his family in Lebanon. He wants to go to school because he loves to learn but his family doesn’t have the money. Habib sells things in the street - because it’s the only way he may make a little money to keep the family alive.

War Child helps children like Habib. In our Safe Spaces we deliver catch-up education for children who have not been able to attend school. We provide psychosocial support and protection to enable children to build their resilience and develop a more positive attitude towards the future.