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 more than 1 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 continuing 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 2019, a humanitarian catastrophe is ongoing in north-western Syria. More than 3 million civilians living in the Idlib area, including more than a million children have been severely affected by devastating bombing and shelling. More than 440,000 people have been displaced in north-western Syria between May and July 2019. Those displaced people and the host communities live in extremely harsh conditions. Violations of international humanitarian law continue to threaten civilian’s life and delivery of humanitarian aid.
Needs continue to persist in the rest of the country including Rukban, where 25,000 internally displaced people remain in dire conditions, in the north east, and in government controlled areas.
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 more than €2 billion for 2019 and €560 million for 2020 and beyond pledged by the EU and its Member States at the Brussels conference in March 2019. 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.
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, 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 more than 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.