As the Syria crisis enters its ninth year, the magnitude of human suffering remains overwhelming, with 11.7 million people, including 6 million children, in need of humanitarian assistance. Since March 2011, more than 400 000 Syrians have lost their lives and over one million have been injured. Up to 6.2 million people have fled their homes inside Syria and 5.6 million have been forced to take refuge in neighbouring countries. Without a political solution in sight, the conflict is likely to persist in 2019. The EU and its Member States have mobilised almost €17 billion inside the country and in neighbouring countries since the start of the conflict.
Civilians continue to be the primary victims of the conflict with children and young people comprising more than half of the displaced population. In 2018, various military offensives resulted in thousands of newly displaced people. Clashes took place in the south west of the country which resulted in the displacement of an estimated 184 000 people. At the same time, aid convoys have been prevented from delivering assistance to those who need help the most such as children, the elderly, disabled, and sick.
Aid workers have been unable to deliver humanitarian assistance in many parts of Syria due to continued fighting along shifting frontlines, bureaucratic hurdles and ongoing violations of international humanitarian law. Protection of civilians remains a serious concern in large parts of Syria. Rape and sexual violence, enforced disappearances, recruitment of child soldiers and forced conscription, executions and deliberate targeting of civilians remain commonplace.
The EU and its Member States are lead providers of international aid to those affected by the Syria war. Almost €17 billion have been mobilised for humanitarian, stabilisation and resilience assistance to Syrians inside the country and in neighbouring countries. This includes over €2.4 billion for 2018 and almost €2.4 billion for 2019-2020 pledged by the EU and its Member States at the Brussels conference in April 2018. To date, millions of people have been reached by EU humanitarian assistance, including emergency medical treatment, healthcare, psycho-social support, protection of children and vulnerable people, food, safe drinking water, essential items, and shelters.
Inside Syria, almost half of the EU’s humanitarian assistance goes to immediate life-saving and emergency humanitarian operations; the rest is spent providing safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene, food, child protection activities, education, psycho-social support, and other essential services. Since 2011:
In Lebanon, the EU provides cash assistance, secondary healthcare, non-formal education and shelter (including water, hygiene and sanitation) to improve the often abysmal living conditions of displaced families. EU humanitarian partners regularly monitor the main protection concerns and provide counselling and legal assistance. Since 2012, the EU’s humanitarian aid to Lebanon has reached around 750 000 Syrians. Since 2011, the EU humanitarian funding has amounted to €580 million.
In Jordan, the EU supports almost 660 000 Syrian refugees, most of them women and children, through the provision of cash assistance, protection, and healthcare among other things. In 2017, €55 million of EU humanitarian funding allocated to Jordan also targeted the emergency needs of more than 45 000 refugees stranded along its northeastern border with Syria and Iraq. Another €36 million was allocated for 2018.
In Egypt, hosting over 122 000 registered refugees, the EU has allocated €7.8 million to help refugees living in substandard conditions in urban areas through protection, healthcare, education and cash assistance. An additional €4 million was earmarked for 2018.