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The ‘Arab Spring’ in 2011 brought thousands of Syrians to the streets to protest against the Ba’ath regime that had dominated the country for around half a century. Following brutal attempts at repression by government forces and supporters, hostilities with opposition groups escalated to a state of armed conflict that has cost the lives of more than a quarter of a million people.

A confusing array of groups are now party to the conflict. Air strikes by external actors have added to the devastation of the country, while the growth of Islamism and the rise of ISIS has contributed to the suffering of the civilian population.

Severe challenges for international aid

The instability of the situation in the country and a series of targeted attacks on foreign aid workers have made it almost impossible for humanitarian organizations to work in Syria. By August 2016, 4.8 Million Syrian refugees were registered living in neighboring countries, while a further 6.1 Million live as internally displaced people – refugees in their own land. Around 13.5 of the estimated 18 Million people remaining in the country are thought to be in urgent need of aid.

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 in the Aleppo region:

Syria is in its fifth year of civil war, and a political solution to the conflict remains elusive. Meanwhile, state structures in the country have degenerated to a situation of extreme fragility. The war has caused widespread damage to infrastructure – in particular medical facilities: reducing the quality and availability of medical care to a level bordering on nonexistent for the vast majority of the population.

We are providing support for primary and secondary healthcare facilities in the vicinity of Aleppo through our Syrian partner organization. More than a million people live in the project area, where massive air attacks, ground fighting between a variety of armed groups, and the poor supply situation place extra demands on medical infrastructure struggling to meet even the needs of day-to-day healthcare.


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

Country info

Capital: Damascus
Area: 185,180 km²
Population: c. 17 Million

Project donors: German Federal Foreign Office, German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, ADH - Germany's Relief Coalition, 'Ein Herz Für Kinder', Bergmann Foundation, private donations


Crisis and Conflict in Syria

The situation in Syria makes humanitarian relief efforts extremely difficult, but the level of need remains immense. Together with our partners, we are doing the best we can to help those in need.

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