Where We Work

Introduction to Syria

With a population of 17.5 million, Syria is located in Southwestern Asia and has the world’s oldest continuously lived-in city named Damascus. There are diverse religious practices, ethnicities and spoken languages within the Syrian population. 

Since the uprising in March 2011, at least 470,000 Syrians have died, 6.7 million people have been internally displaced, and 5.6 million Syrians seek refuge in neighbouring countries. The conflict has severely limited access to food, water, shelter, as well as health and education services. 

Large-scale hostilities and mass displacement across the north, combined with a severe economic downturn, mean that the overall food security situation is rapidly deteriorating across the country. As a result, families require support to meet their needs and to rebuild their lives.

Protection continues to be of major concern with 13.2 million people in need of protection from targeted civilian killings, looting, chemical attacks, sexual violence, child recruitment, and explosive weapons.​​ These vulnerabilities are further worsened by natural disasters, such as the 2021 flooding in Idlib and Aleppo.

Why do the people of Syria need your support?

For people across Syria, life is incredibly challenging:

  • Close to 90% of the Syrian population live below the poverty line, while 60-65% are estimated to live in extreme poverty (UNICEF, 2020)

  • 12.4 million people are food insecure in Syria (WFP) 

  • Only 50% of water and sanitation systems function properly across Syria (OCHA, 2021) 

  • More than 70% of IDPs are living in inadequate housing and need protection from the harsh winter conditions (OCHA, 2021)

Islamic Relief in Syria

Islamic Relief started its work in Syria in 2003, establishing a main office in Istanbul and running operations in Aleppo, Idlib, Hama and Latakia. In Syria, Islamic Relief Canada implements humanitarian and development projects within the sectors of health, WASH, food security and orphan sponsorship. 

In the past, we provided medication and medical supplies to hospitals and clinics, established a cardiology and dialysis centre, and provided emergency relief in response to natural disasters and worsening conflict. 

Currently, Islamic Relief Canada provides medical services for trauma patients and awareness sessions on maternal health to new mothers through two projects targeting the health sector. We are also rehabilitating water supply systems and establishing sewage networks and solar powered systems to improve water and sanitation for host and internally displaced communities. 

Our emergency response to the floods in Idlib is a prime example of our work in addressing extreme weather events, especially in a time of heightening climate change. This project supported over 18,000 flood-impacted individuals with food parcels, providing immediate relief to the most vulnerable families including female headed households, persons with disabilities, and orphans. 

In addition to our emergency and development projects, we implement other core seasonal and year round projects. During the winter months, we deliver warm blankets, heating kits and other essentials to help Syrians keep warm. We also deliver meat packages during Qurbani and food packages during Ramadan. Additionally, our orphan sponsorship program continues to sponsor orphans and their families.

Your donations in action

When a body suffers immense physical trauma, it is not only the bones that break, the mind is pushed to its limits. 28 year old Ahmed was displaced from his village in Northern Hamam Rural and was residing in Al-Nuri camp when he decided to return to his village to retrieve his personal belongings. He was riding his motorbike when a warplane targeted the area he was in, destroying his home and leaving him injured in the debris. 

Ahmed had multiple fractures and was suffering from incomplete paralysis of his right side, unable to move. Once his condition stabilized, he was referred to the Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Department, an Islamic Relief supported department. Through our project that supports the Rehabilitation Unit in Sarmada, we aim to deliver life saving medical support to the most vulnerable inside Syria.

Ahmed was hesitant to respond to treatment due to his psychological condition. However, through continued psychological support and encouragement, he became more comfortable with his treatment plan. 

Gradually he started moving the right side of his body and was able to begin physical therapy and rehabilitation. Today, Ahmed can move his once paralyzed body without any help or equipment. His resilience, coupled with strong psychosocial support and medical treatments allowed him to slowly heal both his mind and his body.

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