After nine years of war in Syria, the entire region is deeply marked by the effects. Millions of refugees have sought refuge in neighbouring countries, while other countries are actively involved in the war or have been affected themselves by offshoots of armed groups. Johanniter has had no project activities in Syria since 2019, due to the shift in power in the country. Refugees in Iraq and Lebanon are the focus of relief efforts. The desolate situation in most countries and for millions of refugees is described here.
In Syria, more than eleven million people need humanitarian aid. 4.7 million are in acute need, while more than seven million are internally displaced. In the north-west of the country, more than 1.2 million people have been displaced as a result of violent attacks in the last three months. More than 5.5 million Syrians have now sought refuge in neighbouring countries.
Lebanon has received the highest number of refugees in the world, with 173 refugees per 1,000 inhabitants. Around 910,000 people from Syria have sought refuge there. Many of them are subject to curfews, expulsions, arbitrary arrests and other restrictions on movement. The government recently announced that, for the first time in its history, it is no longer able to repay national debt. The deterioration of the economic situation also has a direct impact on the refugees' situation in terms of access to services and the labour market.
Jordan is home to more than 650,000 registered and a large number of unregistered Syrian nationals. Almost 81 percent come from the poor rural Syrian areas around Dara'a, where the conflict escalated until 2018. After nine years of displacement, more than 90 percent of Syrian refugees are living below the poverty line. They are dependent on humanitarian aid or struggle alone for daily survival. According to UNICEF, 94 percent of Syrian refugee children under the age of five are deeply impoverished, 38 percent do not attend school.
In Iraq, the military struggle against the Islamic State (IS) reached its peak in December 2017. Two years later, deep social, ethnic and religious tensions continue. In August 2019, the Iraqi government closed a number of IDP camps with the declared goal of all IDPs returning to their homes by the end of 2020. However, the current conflict in Syria makes this impossible. Out of six million people displaced during the conflict with the IS, 4.1 million people need humanitarian aid. Almost 400,000 are still living in IDP camps. Most are located in the provinces of Ninewa and Al-Anbar.