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The ‘Arab Spring’ in 2011 brought thousands of Syrians to the streets to peacefully protest against the Ba’ath regime that had dominated the country for around half a century. Following the jailing of some school children for painitng anti-regime graffiti in March 2011, demonstrations in the southern city of Deraa were met with brutal reactions from regime forces. What began as peaceful protests then escalated to a full-scale civil war. Since the war started in 2011, nearly 500,000 people have lost their lives and millions have been displaced. As of 2018, 6.2 million Syrians were internally displaced within Syria while 6.3 million were refugees abroad. In the Idlib region alone, more than two million people are dependent on external assistance. The Syrian War has led to one of the worst refugee crises of in recent history.

Severe challenges for international aid

A confusing array of groups are now party to the conflict. Air strikes by external actors have resulted in an unprecedented scale in the destruction of social infrastructure in the country, while the growth of Islamism and the territorial expansion of IS has contributed to the suffering of the civilian population. The poor security situation and a series of targeted attacks on foreign aid workers have made it almost impossible for international aid organizations to work in Syria.

Malteser International has been working to provide aid to the people of war-torn Syria since 2012. Millions in the country are either unable or unwilling to leave their country, and these displaced people are the focus of our work with Turkish and Syrian partners to organize and support cross-border medical aid projects. The difficult security situation in Syria makes working there very difficult, and the staff of our partner organization live in the shadow of constant danger.

Medical aid for internally displaced people

Only 40 percent of Syria's pre-war health infrastructure is still functional. Since 2011, health care in the country has steadily deteriorated due to severe damage to health facilities, inadequate power supply and a glaring lack of medicines, consumables and medical personnel.

  • Improving access to primary and secondary health care
  • Special health services for children
  • Rehabilitation of medical facilities and infrastructure

Our activities are carried out in partnership with the Syrian organization Independent Doctors Association (IDA), with whom we are operating:

  • 1 hospital equipped with 100 beds on the Syrian-Turkish border in Bab al Salam
  • 9 basic health care centres ( of which 3 are mobile) in the Northern and Western Aleppo region
  • 1 facility for the production of medical oxygen
  • 2 blood banks in Azaz and Al Atareb
  • An ambulance services with 6 rescue vehicles
  • 1 mobile surgery room, currently used for emergencies in Al Ghandoura Birth Hospital
  • 2 clinics for the treatment of children with thalassaemia (genetic anaemia)


Since 2017, we have been working with our Syrian partners Hand in Hand for Syria and Maram Foundation as well as with the Turkish Red Crescent in the Idlib region to provide aid to displaced persons. Our aid includes the distribution of material good and tents to the displaced. We are also supporting the operations of a hospital in Balayun and three basic health centres.



Syria: Our work in pictures

Country info

Capital: Damascus
Area: 185,180 km²
Population: approx. 18 Million

Project donors: German Federal Foreign Office (AA), German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Germany's Relief Coalition (ADH)

Last Updated: December 2018


Janine Lietmeyer
Email: janine.lietmeyer(at)malteser-international.org

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