The International Rescue Committee (IRC), funded by the European Union (EU), has supported communities in northern Syria affected by over a decade of conflict. This partnership has provided essential aid to over 260,000 Syrians, almost 60% of whom are women and children, including critical protection, health services, and cash transfers. However, with the conflict now in its 14th year, the need for humanitarian funding and assistance continues to grow.

In partnership with the EU, the IRC has provided health services, including mental health and psychosocial support, as well as protection and cash assistance programmes, to vulnerable Syrians in the north of the country. Since April 2023, these health services have reached over 220,000 individuals with essential medical and reproductive health care, along with critical mental health and psychosocial support. While more than 19,000 have benefited from our protection programmes, which include child protection services, women’s protection and empowerment, and community-led initiatives. Additionally, over 3,000 Syrian households (21,000 individuals) have been supported to meet their basic needs and improve their financial resilience through cash transfers and financial literacy sessions.

In northern Syria, people residing in camps continue to face a dire lack of basic necessities such as clean water, adequate shelter, and sanitation facilities, as well as dependable health and educational systems. With many unable to leave and with no end to the protracted crisis in sight, mental health conditions continue to worsen. The health situation in the camps, where the IRC operates clinics, including those supported by the EU, remains critical. Limited health care resources have created significant gaps in aid, and the demand for psychological health services far exceeds availability.

Ebtisam*, 23, has faced displacement and loss from a young age. She was only five years old when her mother passed away and eight when she had to flee her home. Now, she lives in challenging conditions with her two children and her husband's family in a refugee camp in northeast Syria. She says,

“The camp conditions are difficult, alongside the responsibilities of motherhood. We feel worried and tense. Most of the psychological pressures we experience are due to living in the camp and the challenges of the hot weather, as well as rain in the winter. Thanks to the efforts of the psychological specialist and the psychiatrist at the IRC, my condition improved. I feel like they have shed light on the darkness. I became more sociable and started reading books. We did many activities together, including breathing and relaxation exercises.”

Tanya Evans, the IRC's Country Director in Syria, said,

"The cumulative shocks and stresses experienced by Syrians over the past 13 years have left deep scars on individuals, households, and communities. With long-term implications for Syrians’ physical and mental well-being and future economic development. Addressing these challenges now requires comprehensive early recovery approaches that prioritise protection, assistance, and building resilience at all levels.

"In camps, the suffering from inadequate water, food, sanitation, shelter, and safety is worsening. Addressing these needs, along with providing health services and livelihoods support, is essential. The IRC and its partners are committed to assisting vulnerable populations. In northern Syria, we will continue to support communities with the EU, ensuring assistance gets to those in need."


Notes to editors:

The IRC has been working in Syria since 2012, and we are currently responding to ever-deepening humanitarian and recovery needs in the northwest and northeast of the country. With more than 1,000 staff and working across multiple sectors, last year we reached more than 1.9 million clients inside Syria, either through direct programmes or in partnership with local organisations. The IRC promotes economic recovery through empowering Syrians by offering job training, apprenticeships and small business support. Our teams support early childhood development and provide counseling and protection services for women and children, particularly for survivors of violence. We support health facilities and mobile health teams with critical trauma services and primary, reproductive and mental health services. We also support Syrian refugees in neighboring Lebanon and Jordan.

About our work with the European Union

The International Rescue Committee partners with the European Union to provide life-saving support to people caught in conflict and disasters around the world. Our work funded by the EU enables people to survive, recover and rebuild their lives.