Syria was a middle income country of 20 million people before the war.  It was ranked 116th in the UN’s Human Development Index out of 186 nations.  The Assad family have been in power for a quarter of a century, with current president Bashar al-Assad taking over from his father in 2000.

In early 2011 there were anti-government protests in Syria in the wake of a series of revolutions across the Middle East and North Africa.  The protests were suppressed and a number of demonstrators were shot dead. What started as an anti-government protest quickly evolved into a full-fledged civil war. 


  • 9.3 million people are in need of aid within Syria
  • 6.5 million people are internally displaced within Syria
  • 2.5 million people have fled the country, seeking refuge in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt, Iraq and North Africa.
  • Over 4 million people are in need of food
  • Over 100,000 civilians killed


The Syrian humanitarian response is largest ever in monetary terms with the UN asking for 1.5 billion to help people in Syria and the region during 2014. So far, only 12% of this is funded.
The DEC launched its appeal on 21 March 2013 and, despite huge challenges and real dangers, DEC member agencies have helped over 300,000 in the first six months of the response. Of those helped, the vast majority - 86% - have been inside Syria itself.
Of the DEC money spent so far, over half has paid for the most basic support imaginable - food, water and sanitation. While more than a quarter of the rest paid for emergency shelter and healthcare. Of the £12 million given directly to the DEC for the Syria Crisis Appeal over the past year, £4.43 million or 37% was spent in the first six months of the response.
You can find the latest DEC Syria Crisis Appeal fundraising total here.