Syria: Years of grinding conflict exact an unimaginable toll, especially on women and girls

In March 2022, Syria reached a somber anniversary: 12 years of conflict, one that has inflicted human suffering on a massive scale. Few places in the country have been spared the instability and insecurity the violence has wrought, compounded by an economy in ruins and a global pandemic.

The numbers paint a dismal picture: Around 14.6 million in need of assistance, including 7.2 million women and girls of reproductive age. Approximately, 3.3 Million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) live outside camps, 2 Million IDPs in camps, and nearly 5.7 million have fled to neighboring countries already contending with their own economic challenges. An estimated half a million women and girls are pregnant. Gender-based violence remains  constant, and digital violence is a growing trend. According to the World Food Programme, almost 60 percent of the population are food insecure and do not know where their next meal will come from. During the course of the crisis, human and institutional capacities have significantly declined, with more than 50% of health facilities partially or fully not functioning, including public hospitals and primary health facilities. In those twelve years, UNFPA has worked to ensure that women and girls can access quality sexual and reproductive health care and gender-based violence protection services.

In 2022, thus far, UNFPA has reached nearly one million Syrians with life-saving services through 36 women and girls safe spaces, 4 community well-being centres, 99 mobile clinics, 93 primary health facilities, 19 emergency obstetric care facilities, 1 family protection unit and 13 youth-friendly spaces throughout Syria, managed through the Syria country office. UNFPA also supports cash and voucher assistance programming in partnership with the World Food Programme, with a focus on women and girls at risk.

Syria’s protracted crisis remains critical and complex with no end in sight as lives hang in the balance. UNFPA-supported facilities have demonstrated substantial capacity to manage a significant caseload. This remains, however, fully contingent on donor support. Funding remains crucial to support the women and girls who continue to be affected by the crisis in Syria.

Updated on 24 October 2022