Syria in Crisis

What was an already dismal situation for millions trapped by conflict in Syria at the beginning of 2015 deteriorated further throughout the year, pushing hundreds of thousands of people to make the hard decision to make a dangerous and sometimes deadly crossing into Europe.
The scale of death, injury and displacement from the conflict that began following the Arab Spring protests of 2011, is unimaginable. The United Nations estimated at the beginning of 2015 that 220,000 people had been killed, but other monitoring groups put the death toll much higher. An estimated four million people have fled outside the country with the vast majority fleeing to Lebanon, Turkey Jordan and Iraq. Hundreds of thousands of people are living in besieged areas inside the country, with extremely limited access to healthcare.


With massive unmet needs inside Syria, MSF should be running some of the biggest operations in its history, but the scale of the violence and the fast-moving nature of the conflict mean that the work of MSF inside Syria is limited. Following the abduction and release of MSF staff in 2014, the extremely difficult decision was taken to close projects and stop support activities in areas controlled by the Islamic State (IS) group. MSF has sought high-level assurances from the leadership of the IS group that staff and patients will not be harmed, but these assurances have not been forthcoming which means that large swathes of the country  — and the people living there — are out of our reach. MSF has also been unable to date to receive permission from the government of Syria to work in areas it controls, again meaning millions of people are out of reach of hands-on assistance from any external aid provider.



Despite these significant constraints, MSF continues to operate medical facilities inside Syria, as well as supporting directly more than 150 medical structures throughout the country. In neighbouring countries, throughout 2015 activities have been scaled up and additional projects have been opened, but still the needs remain enormous.


Matching funds

MSF requires complete independence and neutrality in situations of conflict in order to gain medical access to people who are living on all sides of a conflict. We maintain our neutrality and independence by privileging donations from the public. As MSF has several programs providing medical care to people affected by Syria's conflict, we are not able to participate in the Canadian government matching fund. We are, however, gratefully accepting the generous donations of our private donors, whose support will allow us to continue to deliver critical medical care to people affected by the conflict while maintaining our independence and neutrality.


From the Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) International Activity Report:





Related News & Publications