Syria’s Humanitarian Crisis

2 year old Syrian boy washed ashore in Turkey

Popular photo of 2 year old Syrian boy washed ashore in Turkey following migrant boat accident

Barrel Bomb erupts in Aleppo province

Barrel Bomb erupts in Aleppo province

great tragedy of the century

The war taking place in Syria is considered the greatest crisis of the 21st century. The impact domestically has been massively negative: due to President Assad’s refusal to take part in negotiations and rebel distrust of UN or government mandates, the end of the conflict is not in sight. There are many who have called for everything from peaceful negotiations or cease-fires to demanding international military intervention.

The economic and social deterioration within the nation has also called for the aid and support of the global community. The following are some examples and statistics of how the armed-conflict has had an impact both domestically and internationally.

Economic Impacts 

  • As of March 2015, four out of every five Syrians live in poverty, 30% in abject poverty.
  • There has been a loss of over $202.6 billion USD. Many trade policies and routes have been obstructed or destroyed, causing the biggest hits to GDP.
  • The capital (along with the market) has shifted into weaponry within the blackmarket as the conflict has increased
  • Over 2.9 million people lost their jobs, which will in turn also decrease the consumer base, further damaging the economy.
  • The dependency on foreign support has increased greatly as the economy fragmented and deteriorated.
  • Unemployment has reached over 57.7% as of 2014.
  • This damage of the economy makes the possibility of reconstruction extremely difficult.

Social Impacts

  • Over twelve million people are in need of humanitarian aid within the nation as the health infrastructure is either destroyed (destruction of hospitals, pharmacies, etc) or access to treatment is no longer a possibility (barricades, medical professionals available, access to facilities themselves)
  • The civil war has now become a proxy war. It is no longer a war between rebel, pro-democratic parties and the Alawite government- which had already entangled the lives of civilians- but it has grown to include the Islamic State (extremist organization that has considerable control over the region). Moreover, nations have chosen allies: The United States had initial armed intervention then limited its involvement with Sunni rebel forces, but the UK, France, Turkey, and Arab states have been showing support of Sunni forces. Russia, Lebanon and Iran have been backing the Alawite government.
  • The war has led to the largest exodus of refugees in recent history, an estimated four million people (according to BBC) and over eleven million who are internally displaced. The largest number of refugees have fled to neighbouring nations of Jordan, Turkey, Iraq, along with nations throughout Europe and the northern middle-east.
  • The war has led to greater than 250,000 people presumed dead- although the United Nations has stated that the death toll could be much higher.
  • Lack of access to water
  • Human rights violations for civilians by barricading towns or communities to prevent the arrival of food and water
  • War crimes such as murder, rape, torture by the government, rebel groups, and terrorist activity by the Islamic State- in the form of public executions and amputations.
  • Life expectancy went from 75.9 years in 2010 to 55.7 years in 2014.


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