The crisis in Syria, now in its ninth year, continues to cause tremendous human suffering to people both inside and outside the country. Hundreds of thousands of people have died. More than 12 million people have fled their homes, many more than once. Fighting has destroyed schools, hospitals, and homes, as well as water systems in towns and cities. More than five million people have fled Syria, creating the largest refugee crisis in the world.
Conflict in Syria is affecting millions inside the country and creating a refugee crisis across the Middle East. Oxfam is helping people affected by the conflict in multiple countries, including Syria.
How we’re responding
In 2018 and 2019, Oxfam in Syria has helped more than 1.2 million people with aid including clean water, cash, essential clothing items, and support to help make a living and grow nutritious food. In Lebanon and Jordan, Oxfam has to date helped some 300,000 people affected by the Syria crisis.
Syria: Oxfam’s operations inside Syria focus on the provision of clean water through the rehabilitation of water infrastructure, providing water by truck, and repairing of water sources in eight of Syria’s 14 governorates. We work with communities to prevent the spread of diseases by promoting good hygiene practices in schools and by training local community volunteers. We distribute food where needed and support farmers to grow food and make a living through training and cash. In all these program areas, Oxfam in Syria strives to ensure that it works with women to address their needs, and encourages their leadership and active participation in decisions that affect them.
Lebanon: Over the past five years, Oxfam has scaled up our activities in response to the Syria crisis, improving water and sanitation, and providing emergency cash assistance for refugees and poor Lebanese. Oxfam is also helping refugees with legal issues relating to their safety and supporting small businesses and private-sector job creation. Oxfam is currently working in North Lebanon, the Bekaa Valley, and in Palestinian camps and informal settlements. In the past year, we have helped approximately 23,500 people directly and approximately 39,500 indirectly through our work in Lebanon.
Jordan: Oxfam is working in Za’atari refugee camp and in the nearby Jordanian communities. The main activities include providing water and sanitation and waste management, enhancing the economic participation of youth and women, and addressing gender inequality by working with women's rights organizations so that women, including Syrians, can find decent work opportunities.
Across Jordan, Oxfam works with partners and allies on business development, skills building, and mentoring and coaching of youth and women. In Za’atari camp Oxfam runs a greenhouse project and upcycling handicrafts projects which provide practical and enterprise training and some income for women refugees in particular. In the past year, we have helped approximately 76,000 people directly and a further 191,000 indirectly through our work in Jordan.
Working for peace
Oxfam works with partners and allies across the region as well as in Europe and the US to advocate for peace, and ensure that the voices of women, youth, and refugees are included in discussions about policies that affect them.
To achieve a just and lasting peace, we need a peace process that represents all Syrians – including women – and commits to upholding their human rights. We call on world leaders to set aside their rivalries and prioritize efforts to support inclusive political negotiations.
Oxfam in Turkey supported some of the earliest coalitions of Syrian-led civil society organizations working towards the peaceful resolution of the conflict, peace building, local ceasefires, and mechanisms for maintaining those. In 2018, we organized the International Refugee Congress, which brought together more than 600 refugee-led and civil society organizations from major refugee-hosting countries to enhance their participation in the negotiations around the Global Compact on Refugees.
In response to increased fighting in northern Syria in October 2019, Oxfam joined with 14 other humanitarian organizations to call on parties to the conflict to fully respect International Humanitarian Law and ensure that they refrain from using explosive weapons in populated areas. They called on armed groups to take measures to protect civilians and facilitate safe, unhindered humanitarian access. People living in the area affected by this military action have the right to freedom of movement and must not be forcibly displaced from their homes.
In the US, Oxfam collaborates with a wide network of Syrian diaspora actors and other NGOs to advocate for an end to the Muslim ban, continuation of Temporary Protected Status for Syrians and others, and more resettlement of refugees from conflict areas such as Syria. We also work in coalition to educate policy makers, government officials, and the public on the most pressing needs in Syria and for Syrian refugees, and to make sure the US provides humanitarian support to those affected by the crisis.
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