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Syria: three years in crisis

Syria is now the biggest humanitarian crisis facing the world, causing deprivation and suffering inside the country and a heavy spill-over effect in the neighbourhood. 

Syria: three years in crisis

The uprising has evolved into a full-blown civil war which has killed hundreds of thousands, displaced more than 6.5 million people inside the country, and forced more than 3 million to flee for their lives beyond the borders.

Around 10.8 million people need assistance inside Syria. Of those, an estimated 4.6 million people remain trapped inside areas which so far have seen little or no aid.

Those who were able to cross the border to safety are now living in hardship in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, Egypt and North Africa - struggling to find shelter and food for their families and schooling for their children. The number of refugees exceeds 3 million people.

An entire generation of children have been exposed to war, violence and death, and have been deprived of their basic freedoms, protection and education.

The needs 

The humanitarian situation has deteriorated dramatically in recent months. Also, the escalating violence and increased insecurity in the country is making it harder and more dangerous for humanitarian workers to do their jobs. Attacks on humanitarian workers continue: dozens have been killed in the line of duty, and ambulances and UN vehicles are being attacked. 

Emergency needs such as medical and food assistance and shelter have increased in the country. Treating and evacuating the wounded are a priority. Civilians attempting to flee from fighting need urgent assistance and protection. Beyond emergency needs, shortages of all kinds are affecting the civilian population, including growing fuel shortages. 

Europe's commitment 

The European Union is the most active and generous humanitarian aid donor for the victims of this crisis. Our priorities are to give aid to the displaced people in Syria and to give assistance to the Syrian refugees hosted in other countries.

To this end, the European Commission and the Member States of the EU have provided over €2.87 billion to assist Syrians inside their country, as well as refugees and their host communities. 

The European Commission has mobilised €615 million in humanitarian assistance for Syria and neighbouring countries. A further €526 million has also been disbursed through other EU instruments (i.e. for education, support to host communities and local societies). Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva has visited the region on several occasions to assess the situation and draw attention to the plight of the victims. 

In addition to more than €1.1 billion of humanitarian funding, some member states have also provided in-kind assistance for Syrian refugees through the European Emergency Response Coordination Centre.

  • In Syria, the European Commission's humanitarian funding provides emergency medical aid, protection, food aid, water, sanitation, hygiene and shelter.
  • Beyond the Syrian border, EU funding brings life-saving assistance to refugees such as health, food, shelter, hygiene kits, water and sanitation services, and protection.


On initiative of the European Union, the humanitarian community has launched a vast action to prevent a loss of an entire generation of children: the No Lost Generation campaign to help Syrian children escape misery, isolation and trauma through education and protection activities.  

The Commission's funding is channelled through the Red Cross/Red Crescent movement, various NGOs and UN humanitarian agencies. The Commission is in daily contact with its humanitarian partners and is coordinating its humanitarian activities with EU Member States and all other significant donors. 

Europe's humanitarian assistance is generous, but it's just a patch on a bleeding wound. The solution to this crisis is a cessation of all violence and a sustainable political solution. Only when this happens can the Syrian people return to their homes and rebuild their country. In the meantime, the European Commission will remain committed to assisting those affected by this terrible crisis.