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After 13 years of war, Syria’s catastrophic economy is pushing people beyond desperation.

On 15 March, as we enter the 14th anniversary of the crisis in Syria, the country’s desperate economic situation is pushing even more Syrians into extreme poverty with no future in sight.

Posted on 14 Mar 2024

13 years of war and crisis have taken an all too heavy toll on Syria’s population; hundreds of thousands are dead, millions are displaced and basic services, such as education, healthcare, and water and sanitation have either been severely disrupted or completely destroyed.

Syria’s economy continues to deteriorate at an alarming scale causing additional suffering and despair among a population that has already suffered incomprehensibly. Throughout 2023, inflation was 137% resulting in a huge price increase in everyday essentials, including food, which has affected not only people's quality of life and social stability, but also their mental health.

"My colleagues in Syria are painting a grim and dystopic image of the situation in the country. There is no diesel for heating, so people burn plastic, clothes, and everything they can find to stay warm. The price of food has risen to the point that many people only eat once a day and the price of medicine has skyrocketed," says DRC Secretary General, Charlotte Slente.

Homelessness and poverty are visible on the streets, as people have lost their jobs, incomes, and homes due to the economic crisis.

Many are struggling to afford basic necessities, such as food, housing, fuel, and health care and families are forced to remove their children from education and send them to work, or beg, to earn a little bit more for the household.

Although wars and conflict elsewhere in the world seem to be taking center stage, we must not forget Syria.

/  DRC Secretary General, Charlotte Slente

Other families marry their daughters off at a young age to reduce the cost of living.

"People’s desperation is to be seen everywhere. The number of people living in street has gone up drastically; women and children are selling plastic waste and scrap metal; diseases that could normally be cured are spreading; unaccompanied children are roaming around the cities eating whatever they can find in the dumpsters. This is the direct result of a crisis that’s been going on for too long," says Charlotte Slente.

There are no signs of an improvement – neither of the general situation nor of the economy.

According to the UN, an estimated 16.7 million people will be in need of humanitarian assistance in 2024, up from 15.3 million in need in 2023.

"Although wars and conflict elsewhere in the world seem to be taking center stage, we must not forget Syria. The international community must come together and find a way to improve conditions for the Syrian people, including the record numbers displaced both in the country and across international borders," says Charlotte Slente.

"We cannot wait for yet another grim anniversary to be marked – the crisis in Syria can’t afford to become a forgotten crisis."


DRC Global Press Unit | [email protected] | +45 28116727

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