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Eight years of war in Syria: ‘The scale of human suffering cannot be expressed in numbers’

Malteser International calls for continued assistance for people in Syria.

Malteser International has been working with local partners to provide life-saving medical help for people affected by the Syrian conflict since 2012. Photo: Hand in Hand for Syria

Cologne/Idlib. The Syrian war seems to be nearing its final stages, but there is no end to the suffering of the people affected by the conflict. “Half a million people have lost their lives and millions have been displaced, but the scale of human suffering cannot be expressed in numbers,” said Janine Lietmeyer, Head of Malteser International’s Middle East program. “The country has witnessed severe physical and economic devastation. The economy has collapsed by 50% since the war began in 2011 and many people are living in extreme poverty as unemployment and desperation continue to prevail. The war has also left profound marks in the fabric of the Syrian society which is now almost devoid of social cohesion. Academics and skilled workers have left the country in droves, most likely never to return.”

On 12 March 2019, the EU and the UN will co-chair the third conference on 'Supporting the future of Syria and the region' in Brussels. According to Lietmeyer, the conference must now focus on strengthening efficient civil society structures in Syria. “Despite the challenges and horrors of war, out partner organizations in Syria have become actors in a civil society guided by the values of humanity and non-political aid,” she said. “Every effort from now on should be aimed at maintaining these values even in post-war Syria. This will be our joint message at next week's conference.”

More than half of Syria’s population – some 12 million people – have been forcefully displaced from their homes as a result of the conflict, with 5.6 million seeking refuge abroad. Many still have no prospect of returning home in the near future.

By mid-March, the Syrian conflict will enter its ninth year. It has become one of the longest and bloodiest wars in recent history. Malteser International has been providing life-saving medical help for people affected by the conflict since 2012 and assists a total of nine health centers, three hospitals, two blood banks and a production facility for medical oxygen in north-western Syria.

Malteser International on Ash Wednesday launched its annual fundraising campaign “Make Lent Count”, calling for donations to support people affected by the war in Syria.

Learn more about our work in Syria

Note to editors:
Janine Lietmeyer
, Head of the Middle East department at Malteser International, is available for interviews.

Press Contact:
Katharina Kiecol

Tel.: +49 (0)221 9822 7181

We are urgently calling for donations to support our projects in Syria.

Reference: "Make Lent Count for Syria"


Katharina Kiecol
Email: katharina.kiecol(at)malteser-international.org

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