Humanitarian aid during the Syrian Civil War

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US non-lethal aid to Syrian opposition forces, May 2013

International humanitarian aid during the Syrian Civil War is coordinated by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) in accordance with General Assembly Resolution 46/182.[1] The primary framework for this coordination is the Syria Humanitarian Assistance Response Plan (SHARP) which appealed for USD 1.41 billion in 2013 to meet the humanitarian needs of Syrians affected by the conflict.[2] The official United Nations data on the humanitarian situation and response is available online.[3] UNOCHA also provides information to the affected population in Arabic on Facebook[4] and in English on Twitter.[5]

Humanitarian assistance to refugees and their host communities in the countries neighboring Syria is coordinated by the United Nations Resident Coordinator/Humanitarian Coordinator. Within these countries the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), also known as the UN Refugee Agency, is mandated to protect and support Syrian refugees in their voluntary repatriation, local integration or resettlement to a third country. The main framework for coordinating the refugee response is the Syria Regional Response Plan (RRP).[6] Detailed and up-to-date information on the refugee situation can be accessed on the Inter-agency Information Sharing Portal,[7] which is maintained by UNHCR.

Outside the SHARP and the RRP mechanism, the ICRC, in partnership with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, has been providing water, food, medical materials and other items to millions people affected by the fighting.[8]

Humanitarian response[edit]

United States[edit]

USAID and other government agencies in US delivered nearly $385 million of aid items to Syria in 2012 and 2013. The United States is providing food aid, medical supplies, emergency and basic health care, shelter materials, clean water, hygiene education and supplies, and other relief supplies.[9] Islamic Relief has stocked 30 hospitals and sent hundreds of thousands of medical and food parcels.[10]

United Kingdom[edit]

The United Kingdom has allocated over £1 billion (c. $1.6 billion) of aid since 2012 to over 30 aid organisations and partners including United Nations agencies, international non-governmental organisations and the Red Cross. The aid is aimed at meeting the immediate needs of vulnerable people in Syria and of refugees in other countries in the region including Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt. Additional funds have been allocated by the Department for International Development to help build longer-term stability in the region.[11][12][13][14]


The Norwegian government has provided 2,65 billion NOK ( approx. 338,5 million USD ) in humanitarian aid to Syria and it's neighbouring countries since the beginning of the unrest in 2011. [15]


Iran has been exporting between 500 and 800 tonnes of flour daily, by sea and land, to Syria.[16]


Israel began providing assistance to wounded Syrian civilians from the onset of the Syrian civil war. According to Israeli media, 700 wounded Syrians had been treated in Israeli hospitals between early 2013 to mid-2014.[17] According to rebels, this number includes 250 opposition fighters.[18] The Israel Defense Forces grants special permits for Syrians who are critically injured to enter Israel and obtain the necessary medical treatment; the IDF escorts them to and from the hospital.[19] The majority of the injured Syrians have been sent to the Ziv Medical Center in Safed, where the director of the trauma center stated: "we don’t know who we’re treating, armed or not armed, wearing uniform or not wearing uniform. Because of the critical condition in which many of them arrive, we don’t question who they are. It is irrelevant. They are patients and are treated with the best measures we have in the hospital. Everyone gets the same treatment".[19] The Israel Defense Forces also set up a field hospital along the border to help treat less threatening injuries.[20][21]


It was also claimed that in addition to Syrian civilians, Israel is providing medical treatment for rebels in Syria.[22][23][24] and allowed some fighters to cross the ceasefire line in Golan Heights to seek medical treatment on the Israeli-controlled side.[25] Syrian ambassador to the UN, Bashar al-Ja'afari, also accused Israel of helping Jabhat al-Nusra and treating their wounded in the Golan Heights area.[26]


On 26 April 2013 a humanitarian convoy, inspired by Gaza Flotilla, departed from Turkey to Syria. Called Hayat (Life), it is set to deliver aid items to IDPs inside Syria and refugees in neighboring countries: Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt.[27]

World Health Organization[edit]

The World Health Organization has reported that 35% of the country's hospitals are out of service and, depending upon the region, up to 70% of the health care professionals have fled. Cases of diarrhoea and hepatitis-A have increased by more than twofold since the beginning of the year. Due to the fighting the normal vaccination programs cannot be undertaken. The displaced refugees also may pose a risk to the countries to which they have fled.[28]

Financial response[edit]

Financial assistance provided in response to the Syria conflict is tracked by UNOCHA through the Financial Tracking Service (FTS). FTS is a global, real-time database which records all reported international humanitarian aid (including that for NGOs and the Red Cross / Red Crescent Movement, bilateral aid, in-kind aid, and private donations). As at 18 September 2013 the top ten donors to Syria were: United States, European Commission, Kuwait, United Kingdom, Germany, Norway,[29] Canada, Japan, Australia and Saudi Arabia. As at 18 September 2013, assistance provided to the Syria Humanitarian Assistance Response Plan (SHARP): January - December 2013 was USD661,049,938; with funding for the Syria Regional Refugee Response Plan (RRP): January - December 2013 being $1,278,253,343.[30]


  1. ^ United Nations General Assembly: A/RES/46/182; Strengthening of the coordination of humanitarian emergency assistance of the United Nations
  2. ^ "Syrian Arab Republic : Revised Syria Humanitarian Assistance Response Plan : January-December 2013" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-12-07. 
  3. ^ "Syria Crisis Overview". Retrieved 2013-12-07. 
  4. ^ "‫مكتب الأمم المتحدة لتنسيق الشؤون الإنسانية في سوريا | Facebook". Retrieved 2013-12-07. 
  5. ^ "OCHA Syria (OCHA_Syria) on Twitter". Retrieved 2013-12-07. 
  6. ^ "Syria Regional Response Plan (January to December 2013) - Lebanon | ReliefWeb". 2013-06-07. Retrieved 2013-12-07. 
  7. ^ "Syria Regional Refugee Response - Regional Overview". Retrieved 2013-12-07. 
  8. ^ "The ICRC in Syria". ICRC. Retrieved 2013-12-07. 
  9. ^ "USAID / SYRIA". Retrieved 2013-04-29. 
  10. ^ "SYRIAN HUMANITARIAN RELIEF". Retrieved 2013-04-29. 
  11. ^ "Syria Crisis Response Summary" (PDF). Department for International Development. 14 September 2015. Retrieved 19 September 2015. 
  12. ^ "DFID Syria Crisis Response". Department for International Development. Retrieved 19 September 2015. 
  13. ^ "UK and Syria". UK Government. Retrieved 19 September 2015. 
  14. ^ "Syria crisis: how does Britain's aid donation compare?". The Telegraph. 15 January 2014. Retrieved 19 September 2015. 
  15. ^
  16. ^ "Iran sending tonnes of flour daily to Syria: report". 3 March 2013. Retrieved 2013-04-29. 
  17. ^ [1]
  18. ^ "Revealed: how Syrian rebels seek medical help from an unlikely source in Israel". 2014-01-12. Retrieved 2014-01-17. 
  19. ^ a b "Israeli doctors save Syrian lives". 2013-06-26. Retrieved 2013-12-07. 
  20. ^ Ginsburg, Mitch (2013-07-08). "Wounded Syrian shuttled to Safed hospital". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 2013-12-07. 
  21. ^ "Israel may be operating in Syria". GlobalPost. 2013-04-10. Retrieved 2013-12-07. 
  22. ^ [2]
  23. ^ [3]
  24. ^ [4]
  25. ^ "Syrian rebel commander says he collaborated with Israel". 2014-08-13. Retrieved 2015-01-20. 
  26. ^ "Syrian Ambassador to the UN Bashar al-Ja'afari on Sovereignty, Terrorism, and the Failure of the UN". 2015-01-17. Retrieved 2015-01-20. 
  27. ^ "Humanitarian aid convoy departs to help Syrian refugees". 27 April 2013. Retrieved 2013-04-29. 
  28. ^ "BBC News - WHO warns of Syria disease threat". 2013-06-04. Retrieved 2013-12-07. 
  29. ^ "Norway to contribute to destruction of Syrian chemical weapons and to increase assistance to Syria and neighbouring countries". 2013-11-14. Retrieved 2013-12-07. 
  30. ^ "Country: Syrian Arab Republic 2013". Retrieved 2013-12-07.