Until 2011, Syria was an ethnically and religiously diverse country with a population of approx 22 million people. An ancient civilisation, its capital, Damascus, is famous in the Bible as the Apostle Paul was converted on the road there.
Civil war broke out following protests in March 2011 triggered by the Arab Spring. This war has turned into the worst humanitarian disaster of our time. As of mid 2015 at least 220,000 people are estimated to have been killed, around half of them civilians.
Over half Syria’s population (12m) have had to leave their homes, often multiple times: 7.6 million are homeless inside the country, and almost 4 million have fled to neighboring countries as refugees, the majority to Lebanon and Jordan. Over half of them are children. This is the world’s largest refugee crisis.
The once prosperous country has been destroyed. There are daily bombings, horrific human rights violations, and in September 2013 the UN confirmed that use of chemical weapons was widespread.
The original factions have splintered; at one point it was estimated that over 1,000 separate armed groups were fighting within the country. In 2014, the radical militant group Islamic State (IS) took over large areas to the east of the country and now control about half of Syria. In September 2014, the UK, USA and other countries joined forces to start airstrikes to combat ISIS.
The war is predicted to last for many years to come. With no end in sight and the humanitarian response critically underfunded, this is a tragedy of colossal proportions producing a scale of human suffering almost impossible to comprehend.
Our work in SYRIA
We work through networks of local churches in various locations (we can’t be specific for security reasons). Our brave local partners are risking their lives to carry out:
- Distribution of food packages.
- Distribution of basic supplies, such as blankets, fuel and stoves for the winter.
- Peacebuilding workshops for young people, training them to become leaders and ambassadors for peace in their communities.