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Syria Crisis 10 years: The Futures of the entire generation of displaced Syrians threatened


Syria Crisis 10 years: The Futures of the entire generation of displaced Syrians threatened

1 April 2021 Also available in:

Across the Middle East and North Africa region, many Syrians that have fled the conflict over the past decade are facing unprecedented difficulties. Originally from Homs, 45-year-old Ahmad left the country in late 2011 and went to Libya, where he hoped the relatively lower number of Syrian refugees would offer him more chance of finding work as an experienced tiler.

“At first when we came here, things were okay. But then the situation changed. We witnessed war in Syria, then we saw war again here in Libya,” said Ahmad, referring to the renewed violence and instability that erupted in 2014, following the country’s first civil war in 2011.

“2020 was the hardest year for me. Not only was the fighting still going on, but the coronavirus pandemic started,” said Ahmad, who lives with his wife and five children in Tripoli. “My biggest worry is how I can make a living nowadays. Just a few years ago it was very easy to find work, there were many jobs, and I could find work every day. That’s not the case now.”

Their precarious situation in Libya has led Ahmad to consider uprooting the family once more, but he and his wife Ghadir said they could not contemplate returning to Syria at present.


Ill single mother struggles to support children to school

The protracted crisis has taken a disproportionate toll on vulnerable groups such as children – who make up almost half of all Syrian refugees – older people, those living with disabilities and single women and mothers.

Asma*, 40, is originally from Raqqa in Syria, but in 2015 fled with her three children to Izmir in western Turkey, which hosts the largest number of Syrian refugees globally at more than 3.6 million.

“I left Syria because I lost my husband during the war – he was killed during the bombing,” Asma explained. “When I came to Turkey, I borrowed money from people and started working. Also, some people helped me when I first came here. I started receiving financial assistance. My children started going to school. We felt safer here.”

But after several years of being able to support herself and despite finding safety, Asma’s declining health and difficulty accessing medical care due to the language barrier means she is unable to continue her work in a garment factory and is struggling to cover her costs. Only her middle son Ahmed, 13, is still going to school.

“The biggest problem for me now is how to pay the rent and the bills,” she said.  “For food, thank God we have people around who help us. But for the rent and the bills, it’s expensive and we need to pay for the electricity, water and internet. Especially for my son Ahmed, who has online schooling, we need internet.”


The futures of an entire generation of Syrians are threatened

Renewed and long-term financial support from the international community is required to mitigate the economic impacts of COVID-19 and halt the decline in living standards, Last year, only around half of the total funding requested by aid organizations to meet the growing needs of Syrian refugees and their hosts was delivered, the lowest level since 2015.

With no end to the crisis in sight, there is a risk that dwindling international support and deteriorating economic conditions for millions of refugees and vulnerable members of the local communities that host them could unravel previous progress and reduce access to education and livelihoods, threatening the futures of an entire generation. Many already feel it is too late.

Since the start of the crisis, UNHCR teams have been working on the ground to support these families for 10 years. We have been providing safe shelter to families forced to flee and distributing core relief items, such as tents, blankets and kitchen sets. Meanwhile, we help displaced Syrians access health services and support the education of Syrian children.

And yet – 10 years on, the desperate situation of displaced Syrians is like a new emergency. UNHCR’s funding requirements for the Syria Emergency Situation in 2021 amount to US$1.996 billion and are only 11% funded as of 23 February 2021.

We need your support to address the increasing humanitarian needs of Syrian refugees.


*Name changed for protection reasons.

Reporting by Caroline Gluck in Tripoli and Cansin Argun in Ankara.

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You can provide core relief items to 10 households in Syria



The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was established on 14 December 1950 by the United Nations General Assembly. The agency is mandated to lead and coordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee issues. It strives to ensure that everyone has the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another state, with the option to voluntarily return home when conditions are conducive for return, integrate locally or resettle to a third country. UNHCR has twice won the Nobel Peace Prize, in 1954 for its ground-breaking work in helping the refugees of Europe, and in 1981 for its worldwide assistance to refugees.