The conflict in Syria is now entering its seventh year. With no end in sight, it has become one of the worst humanitarian crises of the 21st Century. Since the start of the hostilities in 2011, OCHA estimates that, tragically, over 250,000 Syrians have been killed. Some independent Syrian organisations cite upwards of 450,000 deaths - among them up to 19,000 children. More than 1 million people have been injured.

The situation in Syria is heartbreaking, and it is deteriorating.

A World Vision refugee camp in Jordan

Over 5 million Syrians – nearly half of them children - have been forced to flee their homes and seek safety in neighbouring countries including Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq. In other words, more than 2.5 million Syrian children are growing up as refugees.  Another 6.3 million people have fled their homes, but remain in Syria, mostly in hard-to-reach regions. As the conflict lines shift and attacks on civilians increase, families face continual uncertainty and fear. Across both Syria and Iraq, schools, hospitals, roads and water supplies have all become targets of violence, left in disrepair.

As families flee Aleppo, three young boys stopped to tell us about their experiences in the bombings, where they lost both their parents. You can support World Vision's work with them and other children like them, by donating here.

13.5 million people, including six million children, are in need of humanitarian assistance. This includes protection, shelter, water and food.

According to OCHA, Syria's standard of living has regressed by almost four decades.

  • Four out of five Syrians now live in poverty
  • Life expectancy has dropped by more than 20 years.

 The devastating effects of this conflict will ripple within Syria and the wider region for decades to come.

Fears and dreams of Children

Six years of violence has left an indelible mark on the lives of children. Six million children have lost their homes, friends, family members and seen or experienced violence that no child ever should. Now their development and well-being are at risk... Children continue to pay the price of this brutal war.

To understand the impact of war on children, we asked 100 Syrian children about their fears and dreams. Compared with answers from children living in relatively safe countries, the effects are clear:

  • 43 per cent of the Syrian children told us they fear airstrikes, shelling and explosions
  • Just three per cent of Canadian children feared for their safety

But, the Fears and Dreams survey also revealed that Syria’s children remain hopeful of a better tomorrow:

  • 33 per cent told us they dream of a particular career when they grow up. The most popular occupations were teachers and medical professionals
  • Eight per cent dream of an education
  • Half of Syria's children dream of peace and returning to Syria

People affected by conflict have the right to humanitarian assistance, including access to clean water, health care and food, and the right to protection from violent attacks. The thought of children scared by the sound of bombs and not knowing what tomorrow might bring keeps me awake at night.

- Wynn Flaten - World Vision's Syria Response Director

Iraq - Mosul

According to UN OCHA, approximately 3.3 million people have become homeless within Iraq (half of whom are children) and over 245,000 Syrians have fled into Iraq in search of security, food and shelter.

The military offensive to retake Mosul saw about 154,000 people displaced from the city. The UN believes that up to 650,000 civilians could remain trapped in the western part of the city and most of the population is expected to become displaced.

Children are living with stress and fear. They need safe spaces, recreational activities and  psychological support and counselling.

Donate to the Syria appeal now


We're working, with partners, inside Syria and with refugees in neighbouring Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq. Our focus is on education, child protection including Child Friendly Spaces, food and cash assistance, water, sanitation, health, and winter supplies.

Children deserve better. A safe and caring environment is critical for children to progress and benefit from opportunities in education, health services, nutrition and livelihoods.

In 2016, our Syria Response served more than 2.2 million people , of which close to 1.2 million were children. We are determined to continue serving these children and families in need, with a particular focus on food and cash assistance, water and hygiene, child protection and education, health and shelter.

Read all about our Syria Crisis response in the latest annual report which details our work across the region ›

Our work in Syria

Our work in Syria

Most of the estimated 7 million people displaced inside Syria, left their homes with few clothes. Now they're living in tents in the IDP camps, and extremely vulnerable to winter weather and freezing temperatures.

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Through your support, we've helped people in camps with blankets, mattresses and fuel for heaters.

In 2016 we helped to maintain or restore basic needs and services for 216,321 people - including 114,577 children - trapped at the heart of the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

In northern Syria, we’re running 23 Child Friendly Spaces and three women’s and girls’ safe spaces, helping displaced people adapt to their new lives. More than 13,000 children have visited the centres so far. Specialised support is offered to women who have been widowed and for children with injuries or recent disabilities.

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Our work in Lebanon

Our work in Lebanon

Since 2011 we've been working with Syrian refugees in Lebanon and with the local communities, providing e-card cash and water and sanitation for households. And we're supporting children with educational and psychosocial programmes.

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Last year we helped 240,886 people including 144,351 children in our Syria Crisis Response in Lebanon.


As well as our standard Child Friendly Spaces, we've also adapted the model in Lebanon to meet more long-term and deep-seated psychosocial support needs. The psychosocial support centres work with children referred by parents or the community because they're struggling to cope with the changes around them. The centres provide psychosocial support and education to build children's resilience, confidence and self esteem.

Courses culminate in community events where children share and learn information on child rights and safety. Speaking with children who've attended the sessions, we've heard that they found the surroundings ‘beautiful’ and the activities and gifts – for instance, toothbrushes and soap – useful. After the course over 90 per cent of children share what they've learned with other children. In one instance we found boys were resisting pressure on them to work because of their newfound child rights awareness.

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Our work in Turkey

Our work in Turkey

In 2015 we expanded our operations to support Syrian refugees in Turkey. We're particularly focusing on protecting and providing basic services to vulnerable groups including women and children in isolated and underserved areas:

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Over 5,000 newly displaced Syrian babies (under-two) received baby kits.

Over 35,000 Syrian refugees have been to a multi-service community centre where they have access to:

  • non-formal education, including life skills, computer classes and language lessons
  • pre-school activities
  • vocational training
  • psychosocial support
  • workshops on refugee rights
  • special funds for the most vulnerable families
  • medical consultations and counselling
  • home visits and community awareness raising events

Along the Turkey-Syria border, we are providing opportunities for children and young people to learn lifeskills including languages (English, Turkish and Arabic) and computer skills. We're also running vocational training including web design and photo editing, basic beautician skills, and hardware skills.

We've also helped 14,965 recently arrived refugees to access legal services, protection, translation and non-formal education.

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Our work in Jordan

Our work in Jordan

Since 2013 we have been working alongside Syrian refugees in Jordan and with the local communities who are hosting them.

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We're providing remedial learning for school-aged Syrian and Jordanian children, helping nearly 3,000 children who might otherwise have dropped out of the school system. We're also running extracurricular and psychosocial activities for children of all backgrounds. And we're working to ensure safe water, hygiene and sanitation facilities are available in local schools and the refugee camps.

Last year our crisis response in Jordan helped 75,270 people including 35,964 children.

In 2015 we built football pitches at Azraq camp. Today 35 different children's clubs, including boys and girls aged 5 to 17 use them.

We visited Azraq last year. Read more about the difference one simple change can make.

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We've been working in the northern Kurdish Region of Iraq (KRI) since 2014. We're helping people who've fled their homes, with food assistance, safe water and sanitation. We're also providing primary healthcare, safe learning spaces, protection services, and psychosocial support for children affected by the crisis.

Many of the arriving children have survived extremely distressing experiences, some even to the point of being unable to speak.  

Our specialist staff have been providing psychological and emotional support in our Child Friendly Spaces, which is just as important as the immediate physical needs that people have.

- Ian Dawes, Response Manager for World Vision Iraq

We’re supporting children and families fleeing Mosul with much needed Child Friendly Spaces - safe places where children can find some normality in the chaos and receive emotional support. Last year the response helped 1,722,371 people including 885, 515 children.

We were one of the first emergency response organisations to help the vulnerable families of Mosul in Qaymawa camp. Here we're helping with practical items including hygiene kits (given to over 27,000 people), cooking stoves (reaching over 5000 individuals), water, showers and toilets.

Education: Learning and fun for displaced children in Iraq

Iraq’s education system is in crisis.

In February 2015, we started the Let Us Learn project to support displaced children living in two camps and in host communities in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Our Let Us Learn programme is not school based; instead, working alongside UNICEF and the Ministry of Education, we provide learning opportunities for children and young adults until school becomes possible. The programme includes learning spaces for 1,100 children, teacher training, a mobile reading and evening adult literacy classes.

Having fled the war in Syria, 12-year-old refugee child Radwan was working on a construction site in Jordan when he encountered World Vision. With our help, he’s now back in school and in charge of his own future, with a smile on his face. See his story in the video below.

Please share Radwan's story using the icons below

How can you help?

You’ve helped so many. But in the seventh year of the conflict, humanitarian needs continue to grow, and more and more families need urgent support.

13.5 million people need humanitarian assistance now, including more than 6 million children who have lost homes, friends, family members and seen or experienced violence that no child ever should.

But they're still children. They deserve a childhood and hope for the future.

Donate now to help Syria's children overcome the past, thrive today and hope for the future.

We remain committed to supporting children until the crisis ends, allowing them to live in peace and dignity.

Stories and Blogs

Syria's Refugees: Ahmad never had a hobby before

Thursday 01, Jun, 2017

Joining our Child Friendly Space in Lebanon gave Ahmad an opportunity to learn new skills and games, make new friends and start …

A $4 meal for a taste of home

Thursday 06, Apr, 2017

For Mayssa, a Syrian mother displaced by conflict, the $4 dollars she rations for each meal is enough to give her three children…

11 things you can do right now to help end violence against children

Thursday 09, Mar, 2017

World Vision’s campaign ‘It takes a world to end violence against children’ was named because no one individual, group or organi…

Latest Reports

15 March 2016 will mark the fifth anniversary of the Syrian conflict. The conflict has quickly become the worst assault on children in a decade; the situation is becoming increasingly worse, with growing reports of violence and targeting of children.

Bringing Hope to Forgotten Faces: 2015 Syria Crisis Response Report

View Bringing Hope to Forgotten Faces in a new window ›

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The cost of conflict for children: Five years of the Syria Crisis

Ibrahim, an 8-year-old Syrian refugee living in Lebanon is forced to work on a farm to help support his family. This conflict is costing Ibrahim and many others their childhood.

We partnered with Frontier Economics to produce The cost of conflict for children report, evaluating the economic losses to countries affected by the conflict; helping to show what life might have looked like for children like Ibrahim had there been no war, and the likely impacts as it continues.

View 'The cost of conflict for children: five years of the Syria Crisis' in a new window ›

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You can read more about the crisis and World Vision's response by downloading the reports below.


Thank you

So far you've helped us raise over £1,347,483 for those impacted by the war in Syria.

But as the fighting continues more children and families need help.

Donate to the Syria Appeal now