Crisis
in Syria
Image depicting Crisis in Syria
The number of hungry Syrians has risen 22% in just one year
A country in crisis

Since violence first erupted in 2011, the crisis in Syria has become one of the most complicated operations for WFP. More than 6.1 million people are displaced inside the country, many of whom now live in squalid, overcrowded camps.

On March 25th, the Syrian pound reached the lowest exchange rate ever recorded, putting increased pressure on families. The price of basic commodities has increased 67% since this time last year, with further increases since the COVID-19 pandemic. Citizens are in desperate need of food and shelter, and WFP is working around the clock to scale up and save lives.

75%

The proportion of the population that lives in extreme poverty

6,000

The number of people who are displaced every day

1M

The number of children out of school due to COVID-19 closures

Nine Years of War

December 2019

Escalating levels of conflict displaced nearly one million people across Northwest Syria starting in early December. It was the largest wave of displacement in nearly nine years of conflict. More than 80 percent of the displaced were women and children. In February, WFP scaled up its work in the area to reach 626,000 people with monthly food rations and another 487,000 newly displaced people with ready-to-eat rations that can feed a family of five for one week.

October 2019

Conflict in Northern Syria erupts when Turkish airstrikes destroy hospitals, schools and other public infrastructure. The violence forces more than 176,000 people - 74,000 of which are children - to flee their homes. To save themselves, many escape on foot with only what they can carry. WFP delivers emergency five-day food rations to 83,000 people in the north and is scaling up to reach a total of 580,000 there each month.

Photo: WFP/Marwa Awad

May 2019

Recent fighting in northwest Syria has forced nearly 200,000 people to flee their homes towards northern Idlib, aggravating the already dire humanitarian situation in camps where more than 300,000 displaced people are now living. WFP assists more than 3 million people every month.

Photo: WFP/Marwa Awad

October 2017

The fall of Raqqa and the departure of ISIS.

Photo: WFP/Hussam Al Saleh

April 2017

The United States launches a military strike on a Syrian government airbase in response to a second chemical weapon attack on civilians.

December 2016

The fall of Aleppo after hundreds of government airstrikes leaves the city of roughly 4.6 million people in ruins.

March 2011

The Arab Spring protests erupt and the Syrian civil war begins, pitting the Assad government against the rebels.

Photo: OCHA/Josephine Guerrero

Meeting the challenge

WFP overcomes daunting obstacles to feed Syrian families and refugees across the region. Smart, innovative solutions include iris scans, truck convoys, bakeries and greenhouses.

Photo: WFP/Mohammad Batah
Iris scans

Cash, vouchers and e-cards can be lost, stolen, or forged, putting recipients at risk. This technology allows Syrian refugees to safely purchase food from camp supermarkets using a scan of their eye instead.

Photo: WFP/Hani Al Homsh
Truck convoys

WFP’s trucks reach hungry families in need, carrying more than 1 million pounds of lifesaving food. The trucks carry large bags of food, nutritional supplements and other supplies to hard-to-reach communities.

Photo: WFP/Dina El Kassaby
Bakeries

Bread is a staple food and a powerful cultural symbol in Syria. When bakeries inside eastern Aleppo were destroyed in conflict, WFP provided bundles of bread to nearly 12,000 displaced people.

Greenhouses

Greenhouses are being rebuilt and farmers have been provided with tomato seeds and irrigation kits, as well as with food rations to get through the lean season before their tomato harvests are complete.

Because of these efforts, the United Nations World Food Programme feeds more than 4.5 million people inside Syria and 1.5 million Syrian refugees each month.

Square photograph of Shadia Detailed photograph of Shadia
Photo: WFP/Partner

Shadia

Shadia was eight years old when a bomb hit her house, leaving her with extensive scarring. Her family now lives in a refugee camp in Idlib.

Read Shadia's story +
Detailed photograph of Roua
Photo: WFP/Hussam Al Saleh

Roua

Roua loves art and won her school's art design competition last year. She is able to learn in her classroom thanks to a school meal.

Read Roua's story +
Detailed photograph of Mustafa
Photo: WFP/Marwa Awad

Mustafa

“I feel I am living in a grave, forgotten,” says Mustafa. He runs a makeshift bakery in a basement because it's safer than anything above ground.

Read Mustafa's story +
As of March 2020
7.9M people don't know where their next meal is coming from.
$75 dollars is all it takes to send a box of emergency food
that will feed a family for an entire month.

Help us realize a future beyond emergency assistance where our help is no longer needed.

Let’s build people’s knowledge, skills and resilience. Let’s invest in economic opportunities and sustainable food systems so that all Syrian families can get the nutrition they need to reach their full potential.