DRC was authorised in 2007 by the Syrian authorities to operate in the country and provide assistance to Iraqi refugees who fled the aftermaths of the 2003 US-led war and subsequent sectarian violence started in 2006. DRC activities in Syria firstly targeted Iraqi refugees, but included also non-Iraqi refugees and Syrian children/families within the sectors of protection, social rehabilitation, education and livelihood support. After the beginning of the Syrian crisis in 2011, DRC decided to extend its activities and its intervention areas to respond to the needs of the conflict affected population, including refugees, Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) and People in Needs (PIN).

In May 2012, DRC, along with 6 other INGOs, was authorized by the Government of Syria to respond to the needs of the conflict affected population. Since June 2012, DRC has been assisting them with distribution of NFIs, shelter and rehabilitation of schools, and through the opening of 6 Community Centers providing psycho-social, education and livelihood activities.

According to UNHCR, by the end of 2014, more than 220,000 people were estimated to have been killed and over a million had been injured since 2011. 12.2 million Syrian were conflict-affected and in need of humanitarian assistance inside Syria, while 7.6 million of the above mentioned conflict-affected individuals were also internally displaced.Of this total of 12.2 million, the UN estimates that 4.8 million were located are in Hard to Reach Areas (HRA), where access is very challenging and assistance is provided very irregularly. DRC is currently intervening in 5 governorates; Damascus, Rural Damascus, Aleppo, Homs and Dera’a. In addition, mine risk education activities are conducted in schools by DDG.

DRC humanitarian programme in Syria has the following priorities:

  1. Firstly the DRC will respond primarily to the rising emergency needs: protection as well as assistance – in its key areas of operations, hereunder promoting cross-lines operations in consideration of the dynamics of the conflict.
  2. Alongside this, the DRC continues and will, where possible, also scale up support to medium term needs (Psychosocial support; vocational activities; educational support; skills development)
  3. Through its simultaneous focus on immediate needs as well as promotion of durable solutions – the DRC seeks to strengthen relief-recovery efforts through an integrated way of operation.
  • Emergency: To provide emergency assistance to displacement-affected individuals and communities in Syria (including mine action).
  • Protracted Displacement: To strengthen social and economic self-reliance of displacement-affected populations with the view to prepare for safe return and/or sustainable integration.
  • Resilience & Stabilization: To reinforce resilience of hosting communities to facilitate integration of displaced populations (including returnees).

The sectors the program is covering are:

  • Protection
  • NFIs distribution
  • Shelter/school rehabilitation and WASH
  • Education 
  • Livelihoods, including vocational training
  • Mine Risk Education

Capacity building is implemented as a cross cutting issue.

Partners and donors
UNHCR - The UN Refugee Agency
DANIDA - Danish International Development Agency
SIDA - Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency
OFDA - Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance
US DoS - US Department of State