The Syrian War

Counting the cost

After six years with war in Syria civilians continue to bear the brunt of a conflict marked by unparalleled suffering, destruction and disregard for human life.

Half of the population have fled their homes, several hundred thousands have been killed as a result of the conflict and millions are living in extreme hardship. The numbers are shocking but belie the true human cost of this war.



# 1: Internally displaced

6,3 Million 

More than 6 million people are displaced inside Syria.

The rate of displacement continued unabated in 2016 with an average of 6,150 people displaced per day between January and August, or more than four people displaced every minute.


# 2: Syrian refugees

5 Million 

Nearly 5 million (4.95 million) people are registered as refugees in countries neighbouring Syria.

Turkey: 2.9 million
Lebanon: 1.1 million
Jordan: 657,000

Europe: 1.2 million Syrians have applied for asylum in European countries.

Read caption Graphics: NRC


# 3: Refugees in Syria

0.5 Million 

Around 500,000 refugees are located in Syria, including 450,000 long-term Palestinian refugees.

Over 95% of the 450,000 Palestinian refugees who remain in Syria are dependent on humanitarian assistance to meet their basic needs. 280,000 have been displaced within Syria by the conflict.

Around 25,000 Iraqi refugees are living in Syria, including a recent influx of families fleeing anti-ISIS operations in Mosul, Iraq.


# 4: People in need

13.5 Million

13.5 million people require humanitarian assistance, including 4.9 million people trapped in besieged and hard-to-reach areas. 

5.7 million are in acute need due to a convergence of humanitarian risk factors.


# 5: Protection of Civilians

6.3 Million

6.3 million people are living in areas with high exposure to explosive weapons.

The number of fatalities is estimated to be between 250,000 and 470,000, while nearly 2 million are injured. Most are killed in direct hostilities, while others have lost their lives as a result of lack of medical treatment.


# 6: Humanitarians under attack


917 health workers and humanitarian workers have been killed since the start of the war in Syria.

147 humanitarian workers and 770 health workers have been killed as result of hostilities since the start of the war in Syria..

Health facilities have been constantly attacked during the conflict, fatally decreasing critical healthcare. At least 136 health facilities suffered conflict damage in 2016.  


# 7: Out of school


One-third of school-age children in Syria are not in school, while one-third of schools are out of service.

1.75 million children in Syria are out of school.

Many schools have been destroyed, while others are being used for shelter by displaced people or occupied by armed groups.


# 8: Poverty


4 in 5 people in Syria lived in deepening poverty by the end of 2016.

85% of the population are living in poverty. 69% of the population are living in extreme poverty, 35% of whom are living in abject poverty.

Nearly 7 million children in Syria are living in poverty. 


# 9: Out of work


The unemployment rate for the remaining work force inside Syria reached 53% by the end of 2015.

2,7 million people have lost their jobs over the course of conflict, with the loss of income further effecting the lives of 13.8 million dependents.


# 10: Health assistance

12.8 Million

12.8 million people are in need of health assistance.

Only half of the country's hospitals are operational and many lack doctors, medicines and equipment. 9 out of 10 doctors have either fled, been kidnapped or killed. Life expectancy has been reduced by about a third since the war began and is now pegged at 55 years old.


# 11: Lack of food

7 Million 

7 million syrians are foodinsecure. 

9 million people are in need of food, agriculture and livelihood assistance, out of which 7 million are food insecure and 2 million are at risk of food insecurity.

Food security is a major concern in besieged areas as availability of food is limited. Due to access restrictions and decimation of local markets, prices for food an major commodities are extremely high, and livelihoods have been roded.

After six years with conflict and war 4.4 million children and pregnant and lactating women are in need of nutrition support.


# 12: Lack of water

7 Million 

More than seven million people are without regular access to drinking water.

14.9 million people are in need of water and sewage systems, which are only partially functional in some parts of the country.

Households are spending up to 25% of their income to meet minimum daily water requirements.


# 13: Lack of shelter

4.3 Million 

4.3 million people are in need of shelter, 3.8 million of whom face acute and immediate needs.

In total, an estimated 685,000 displaced individuals are living in some 3,400 collective centres: former schools (45%), warehouses (18%) and municipal buildings (10%) throughout Syria.

In September 2016, there were 298 informal tented settlements and camps in Syria, housing some 325,755 internally displaced, children make up 55%.

The Norwegan Refugee Council in Syria


In one of the world's worst humanitarian crises, NRC brings lifesaving aid to Syrians trapped in war.

• In 2016, NRC has provided critical assistance to over 740.000 people inside Syria.
• NRC enabled more than 60.000 children to access their right to education, through programming and school rehabilitation.
• NRC provided 50.000 people in Syria with critical food assistance and cash to help them meet their food needs.
• NRC also provided emergency shelter and water and sanitation facilities to conflict affected communities across all parts of Syria. 

Syrian refugees also received our help in neighbouring countries. If you're interested in what we do for Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries, read about our work in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey. We are also on the ground in Greece, assisting Syrians and others who seek safety in Europe.