Our primary purpose at UNHCR is to safeguard the rights and well-being of people who have been forced to flee.
The 1951 Refugee Convention spells out that a refugee is someone who “owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country.”
Before the crisis erupted in 2011, Syria used to host large numbers of refugees, which accounted for 12% of the Syrian population. These numbers have decreased dramatically after the crisis due to the insecurity and the limited resources in the country.
Having to seek refuge in Syria, where the ongoing crisis is the world’s single-largest driver of displacement, UNHCR registered 21,495 refugees and asylum-seekers inside Syria as of March 2016.
UNHCR started its operations in Syria, in response to the refugees’ influx, with the first Iraqi war in the early nineties, and expanded its operation exponentially with the massive influx of Iraqi refugees in the middle of the last decade.
Like most Syrians, refugees residing in the country have been suffering from the adverse effect of the crisis in addition to other difficulties such as documentation issues, detention and lack of social networks to receive the necessary support.
UNHCR is providing the refugees in Syria with cash assistance, educational assistance, vocational training, legal assistance, health services, and protection for the survivors of Sex and Gender Based Violence SGBV.