After eight years of fighting, much of Syria has been reduced to piles of rubble – and millions of its people have fled.
Kieren Barnes, Tearfund’s Middle East Response Director, was there recently. He saw first-hand the impact the conflict has left:
‘I've worked in a number of countries in the midst of conflict. But I've never seen devastation on this scale.
‘We would look down streets that, as far as the eye could see, were empty. It was like driving through a ghost town. There was no reassuring glow of street lights in the evening, no lights on in apartments. Yet people are returning to these empty streets and crumbling buildings, determined to pick up the pieces.’
I've never seen devastation on this scale.
‘We had to leave’
Countless civilians have died as a result of conflict since the civil war began on 15 March 2011. An estimated 11.7 million people require humanitarian assistance. There is an urgent requirement for basic but essential services such as healthcare, and help with the livelihoods people need in order to provide for themselves and their families.
Millions of Syrians have fled their homes, with 5.6 million becoming refugees in neighbouring Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and Jordan.
Rahel* is a mother from Western Syria with two young children. ‘When the crisis started we didn’t want to leave, but things were getting worse,’ she explains.
‘We said, why are we staying here under all of this panic and there is no work and nothing to do here? I was very scared and I heard that many children were dying, so we decided we had to leave.’
Many families are now wanting to rebuild their homes, businesses and livelihoods. Together with our partners, Tearfund is passionate about helping people reactivate old businesses, or start new ones. In the long term, we want to enable families to lift themselves out of the current crisis.
‘We can play a key role in helping people get back on their feet,’ says Kieran. ‘It's going to be a long journey, but it’s a road that Tearfund will be travelling with the people of Syria for as long as it takes.’
- Ask God to comfort and heal people like Rahel, who have faced the trauma of war and having to flee their homes.
- Pray for peace to come to this nation, so that its people can live in freedom and safety.
- Thank God for our partners, who are helping meet people’s urgent needs, improving access to basic services and supporting people to work towards long term recovery.
*Name changed to protect identity.