As the Syria crisis enters its eighth year, civilians continue to bear the brunt of a conflict marked by unparalleled suffering, destruction and disregard for human life. 13.1 million people require humanitarian assistance, including close to 3 million people in need trapped in besieged and hard-to-reach areas, where they are exposed to grave protection threats.
Over half of the population has been forced from their homes, and many people have been displaced multiple times. Children and youth comprise more than half of the displaced, as well as half of those in need of humanitarian assistance. Parties to the conflict act with impunity, committing violations of international humanitarian and human rights law.
Among conflict-affected communities, life-threatening needs continue to grow. Neighbouring countries have restricted the admission of people fleeing Syria, leaving hundreds of thousands of people stranded in deplorable conditions on their borders. In some cases, these populations are beyond the reach of humanitarian actors.
Despite enormous challenges, the UN and its humanitarian partners continue to deliver lifesaving assistance and support to millions of people across the country every month. Over the course of 2017, an average of 5.2 million people benefitted from food assistance on a monthly basis, 8 million people were served through repair, rehabilitation augmentation of water system and almost 2.5 million children and youth were reached through formal and non-formal education services. According to available data, approximately 60 per cent of the response in 2017 was delivered from within Syria, comprising 47.5 per cent regular programming, 12.2 per cent cross-line deliveries and 0.8 per cent airdrops. A further 40 per cent of the response was delivered cross-border, implementing the UNSCR 2165 (2014), of which 32.3 per cent was delivered through NGOs and 7.4 per cent through UN agencies.
In the absence of a political solution to the conflict, intense and widespread hostilities persist. After more than seven years of senseless and brutal conflict, the outrage at what is occurring in Syria and what is being perpetrated against the Syrian people must be maintained. Now is the time for advocacy and now is the time for the various parties to come together and bring an end to the conflict in Syria.