According to the UN, nearly four million Syrians have fled abroad - mostly to Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan - and nearly eight million are displaced within the country.
Photo: Stephen Ryan / IFRC CC
Our work in Syria
The conflict in Syria has forced millions of people to flee, resulting in the world's worst humanitarian disaster. Sida has contributed with humanitarian support during the entire crisis. With the newly developed strategy for 2016-2020, Sida will also work to strengthen the resilience and the resilience of vulnerable groups in Syria and give them better opportunities for sustainable livelihoods.
The strategy for Sweden's aid to the Syrian crisis was adopted by the Government in 2016. The mission is to improve the conditions for peace in Syria and sustainable reconstruction of the country. Benchmark is the human rights and the support should be equal and economically, socially and environmentally sustainable. No resources will be channelled by armed groups or through the Assad regime.
The risk level is assessed as very high in Syria. In the neighbouring countries Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey the risk level is medium and they are all covered by the strategy. The work implemented in Iraq needs to be taken into consideration since the country is affected by the crisis in many different ways.
Efforts in Syria should be based on cooperation and should be done with actors contributing to the support equally. At the same time this limits the security possibilities of field presence and hinders a long time development. Humanitarian assistance will continue in parallel and it is important that the efforts in the framework of Syria strategy complementary to humanitarian aid so that it is not undermined. We ensure that there is a holistic approach to the overall Swedish support and regional and national frameworks available in neighbouring countries and adopted UN plans.
Strengthened resistance, alerted security and freedom from violence
The Syrian people are in a very vulnerable situation. Many people have fled the country. The strategy for Syria instructs Sida how to work to improve the situation for people, in particular women, children and youth in Syria and in neighbouring countries. This could involve creating livelihoods and improving access to labour markets for Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries. Local actors in Syria that still provide basic services such as education, health care and sanitation is under pressure. Our efforts are directed toward strengthening local capacity and so that services meet the needs on the spot.
The strengthening of democracy and equality, and greater respect for human rights
A strong civil society can contribute to a peaceful solution and a democratic Syria. Efforts to prepare for a future of reconciliation and building democratic structures, by developing the capacity of local councils and other local structures but also to promote reconciliation at the national level if and when it becomes possible are of a major importance.
Our efforts have a clear gender focus and will enable Syrian women to participate in peace negotiations, in local administration and in local and national processes. Sweden is one of few players that focus on gender equality and investing long-term in order to achieve a future egalitarian society in Syria.
Two priority areas are targeted training in human rights for youth and to strengthen the capacity of civil society organizations to systematically document and tell us about the current human rights situation. Efforts to increase capacity even in media and activist networks will further contribute to their ability to convey independent information in Syria and in neighbouring countries. By supporting freedom of expression, we are contributing in the long run to a democratic public opinion, awareness, accountability and peaceful Syria.
Humanitarian situation in Syria
The crisis in Syria is characterized by increasing violence and recurrent violations of humanitarian international law. Indiscriminate attacks in civilian areas and attacks on healthcare facilities are increasing. The international community and aid organizations have difficulties getting access to affected areas. Nearly five million people are in these areas, and half a million are living under siege with no access to aid.
The conflict has led to the world's largest refugee crisis. According to the UN, nearly four million Syrians have fled abroad - mostly to Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan - and nearly eight million are displaced within the country.
In 2014 Sida's humanitarian assistance to the crisis was estimated to 320 million. Approximately 60 per cent of the aid is used in Syria in the life-saving interventions and protection programs for the most vulnerable people. The rest goes to support refugees in neighbouring countries, where Sida supports efforts both in refugee camps and in host communities that have come under great pressure.