Main Activities


UNHCR-supported community centres provide protection services such as child protection activities,  psychosocial assistance, and support to prevent and respond to gender-based violence. UNHCR and partners also provide legal assistance, for instance to obtain civil documentation and register vital events like births and marriages. The services provided at the community centres are available for refugees and asylum seekers, IDPs, returnees (i.e. refugees and internally displaced people having returned to their home areas) and host communities.

Besides the community centres, satellite centres (smaller versions of community centres providing only some services) and mobile units also offer protection services based on identified needs in underserved or remote locations. The latter respond flexibly to population movements and increase outreach to the most vulnerable populations who do not have easy access to the community or satellite centres.

The community and satellite centres are supported by a network of outreach volunteers. The outreach volunteers selected from the IDP and affected communities, are the first responders and assist those in need in a timely manner. They inform communities of the services available, identify needs, provide initial support and refer cases to community centres for further assistance.

As of January 2024, UNHCR is supporting 117 community and satellite centres and 115 mobile units in all 14 governorates of the country and engages 2,500 outreach volunteers to strengthen its protection activities.

For refugees and asylum-seekers, UNHCR conducts refugee status determination, registration, and resettlement, when applicable. Some refugees and asylum seekers may also benefit from additional protection services such as multi-purpose cash grants and scholarships for students.

Cash-Based Interventions

UNHCR uses cash-based interventions to help the most vulnerable refugees meet their urgent needs. Vulnerability is determined using either a scoring system based on age and gender special needs or a panel review of individual protection risks. Eligibility is reviewed every two months. The monthly multi-purpose cash grants value has increased as of September 2023 to 680,000 SYP per family (of three), and entitlements are provided in cash at the counter. For urgent and unforeseen protection needs, a one-off emergency grant of up to is also available for refugees. During the winter, eligible refugee households receive cash grants of 2,975,000 SYP per family (of three of five) to help them meet additional seasonal costs such as for clothing and heating.

While primary and secondary public schools are open to refugees free of charge, they need to bear some associated costs by themselves. To support the continuation of education, UNHCR provides refugee and asylum-seeker families with education grants of 400,000 SYP for children at primary school age (6-14) and 650,000 SYP for children at secondary school age (15-17) to cover transportation and education material costs. 

In March 2023, UNHCR provided a total of 3,150,000 SYP cash assistance to Syrians as part of the earthquake emergency response. Affected populations in Aleppo, Hama, Latakia and Tartous, whose shelters were deemed uninhabitable, received multipurpose cash assistance. Meanwhile, individuals whose shelters required minor repairs also received cash assistance of the same amount, specifically for minor repairs.

Additionally, in October 2023, the UNHCR initiated a pilot project involving cash assistance. This project replaced the distribution of general and medical in-kind assistance in physical form, as well as core relief items, targeting vulnerable families using a score card system. The value of the cash transfers ranged from 800,000 SYP to 3,120,000 SYP, equivalent to the value of the physical assistance previously provided. Notably, 2023 marked the first year that UNHCR extended cash assistance to individuals other than refugees and asylum-seekers after several years of programme suspension.

UNHCR aspires to mainstream and expand cash assistance for the vulnerable Syrian population in its programme going forward.

Core Relief Items

UNHCR provides core relief items including blankets, sleeping mats, mattresses, jerry cans, plastic sheets, kitchen sets, and solar lamps to IDPs, returnees, and vulnerable host community members. Supplementary seasonal items such as winter clothing and rechargeable fans are also distributed to IDPs, returnees, host community members and asylum-seekers based on needs.

Shelter Interventions

In the camps in north-east Syria hosting mainly Iraqis and Syrian displaced persons, UNHCR distributes tents and emergency shelter kits and helps maintain camp infrastructure. In urban and rural areas, UNHCR helps people repair houses damaged due to the crisis by providing materials such as doors, windows, electrical equipment, water and sanitation facilities at the household level. At the community level, UNHCR also restores basic services such as pavements and communal facilities and installs solar streetlights. In areas where spontaneous returns of IDPs and refugees are ongoing, UNHCR removes debris; restores sewage systems, water networks and boreholes; and distributes solid waste bins.  

UNHCR also distributes cash to families to repair their houses damaged by the earthquakes in Aleppo, Latakia, and Tartous Governorates. Cash for rent was provided to earthquake-affected families who have departed from the collective shelters in Aleppo Governorate.

Livelihoods and economic inclusion

UNHCR supports vulnerable people to increase self-reliance and reduce their dependency on assistance by providing agricultural support (seeds and livestock), restoring vocational training schools and irrigation systems, and assisting people to start-up small businesses through trainings and grants.


UNHCR health points are run by community health workers in some of the UNHCR-supported community centres. A range of health promotion, disease prevention, and referral services are provided  there  including  health counselling,  health  support  groups,  screening  for  early detection of health problems, and support of community-led health initiatives. Trained doctors also   provide   medical   consultations   in   some   health   points   such   as mental   health   and psychosocial  specialized  services.  UNHCR  focuses  on  building  sustainable  health  capacity  in the community through community health outreach volunteers.