Hope in the ashes: seven years of war in Syria


‘The scale, severity, and complexity of needs across Syria remain overwhelming,’ says the UN, as the country enters its eighth year of conflict. It has been a devastating time for the people of Syria, who’ve seen little sign of peace. But there is hope in the ashes. 

The need is great
Nearly half of the world’s 22.5 million refugees come from just four countries. Syria tops the list, with 5.6 million refugees. That’s nearly a quarter of the world’s refugees, and many of them are children.

‘There are children being born in refugee camps and informal settlements who have not known anything else but being displaced from their home country, which they have never seen,’ says Kieren Barnes, Tearfund’s Middle East Response Director. 

The statistics make for shocking reading:

  • 13.1 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance
  • 5.6 million people have fled Syria
  • 6.1 million people have been displaced within the country itself

The fighting has escalated in recent weeks. UN reports are that 400,000 people are trapped inside the eastern region of Ghouta. They have little food or medical supplies, as aid convoys struggle to reach them.  

Life, healing and hope 
Against the backdrop of a complex crisis brought about by ongoing conflict, our staff and partners are working relentlessly to reach those in most need, including refugees in neighbouring Lebanon and Jordan. 

We are bringing life through the provision of essential food and hygiene parcels for refugee families, but also through mental health programmes to help people learn to live beyond the shadow of terrible experiences. 

We are bringing emotional healing through trauma counselling and other interventions. Among those benefiting are survivors of sexual and gender-based violence, an injustice that so often goes hand in hand with war. 

We are also bringing hope through crucial peacebuilding initiatives. One of our partners in Lebanon is uniting young people from various ethnic and religious backgrounds, to journey together in exploring the power of forgiveness. The young people are learning how to respond to conflict and violence in ways that are peaceful. 

The strength to smile 
Diana* is one of many Syrian refugees in Jordan to benefit from the work of our partners.

‘When I entered the programme, I was surprised by the wonderful way I was treated,’ says Diana. ‘I witnessed an unprecedented respect for our humanity, loss, challenges, grief and for the difficulty that we have experienced. We learned that we still have value despite the circumstances, and we did not lose our values and respect because of the war.’

Tragically, Diana did lose her parents, husband, two brothers and one of her sons when a bomb exploded close to where they were taking shelter. Her surviving son lost a leg, and Diana was struggling to find the strength to deal with her own pain in order to support her son. This changed through the work of our partner.

‘I realised that I was able to overcome my difficult circumstances, and that I should be strong for my children,’ says Diana. ‘As a result I decided to restore the relationship with my children, especially to stand by my son Mohamed who lost his leg in the war.’

‘I thank Tearfund’s partner, because they managed to draw a smile on our faces again, despite all our pain.’

*names changed to protect identity