By many accounts of Syrians still living in the country, the violence is not confined to bombing, missile attacks, and the destruction of cities like Idlib, Aleppo, and Raqqa. Rather, it has seeped into every aspect of Syrian life. Before the conflict, Syrians lived in relative harmony among their communities. However, since 2013, (when we first began working in Syria), many civilians have told us that they don’t feel safe or secure in any environment — including their own homes as the consequences of the conflict has impacted every community. Personal security is no longer taken for granted and is an alien feeling for millions of Syrian people.
With the conflict soon to enter its tenth year, available resources in Syria will continue to diminish, and the ability of enjoy a safe and decent livelihood is diminishing. The deteriorating economic situation is causing household assets to further be strained. In the latest Humanitarian Needs Overview March 2019 report by the United Nations, it indicates that 15.5 million Syrians are still living in need of clean water, sanitation, and hygiene support.
Within the 15.5 million people living in Syria, there are 13.2 million (over 70% of whom are female) in need of health support and protection assistance including safe and dignified shelter (4.7 million). Nine million Syrians are dependent on food assistance, as well as livelihoods support, to earn an income.
The war in Syria is effecting men, women, boys and girls in starkly different ways that often reinforce existing gender inequalities - especially among extremely vulnerable people. Throughout the conflict, Syrian men and women have often had to take up negative coping mechanisms to survive and support their families.
Gender-based violence (GBV), domestic violence, sexual harassment and sexual violence have increased across the country, with many women reporting that their husbands are quicker to resort to violence, as the external conflict takes an increasing psychosocial toll within the home. The conflict has led to a vast amount of single female-headed households without a primary breadwinner.
Negative coping mechanisms have increased as a result of depleted resources and eroded social cohesion. Women and children are disproportionately affected by this with rising levels of girls’ early marriage, child labour and youth recruitment into armed groups. Child labour has increased with boys and girls entering into the workforce to help the family survive.
Men also face greater risk of arrest, detention, harassment from the security services, recruitment into armed groups, disappearance and death.
The elderly and those with disabilities, particularly those with limited family support, have a wide range of unmet needs in displacement situations with sporadic service delivery.
This has led to changes in household dynamic, social order and community structure as different members in society take up untraditional roles in society.