As the conflict in Syria enters 12th year, GOAL expands programmes to reach over 1.5 million people - GOAL Global Skip to content

As the conflict in Syria enters 12th year, GOAL expands programmes to reach over 1.5 million people


March 18, 2022 • 3 min read

Humanitarian needs are growing in Syria’s northwest despite continued effort to reach more communities.

GOAL remains one of the leading aid agencies supporting conflict-affected and vulnerable people in Northwest Syria. Operating in Syria since 2012, GOAL currently has more than 900 local staff working to deliver aid in Idleb and Northern Aleppo, supported by teams in Jordan, Turkey, and Dublin. GOAL’s programmes in Northwest Syria focus on emergency response (including winterisation and disaster preparedness against floods and snowstorms) and shelter improvement, promoting resilient healthcare by supporting the supply of clean piped water, improving food security through in-kind and cash-based assistance, and providing nutrition aid for young children and pregnant and lactating mothers.

The war in Syria has resulted in the world’s largest and most protracted migration crisis, with more than 5.6 million Syrians fleeing the country to escape the conflict and over 6 million people displaced inside Syria.

GOAL’s work in Northwest Syria has continued to evolve over the last 10 years. In 2020, GOAL began scaling up its cash-based humanitarian programmes, and initiated projects to support strengthening of local markets to help early recovery. GOAL also continues to support the supply of clean piped water to a population of over 850,000, and provides technical assistance and inputs to 32 bakeries to make affordable bread available for more than 160,000 families.

Since 2020, GOAL has also been active in advocating with the UN and other stakeholders for the renewal of the Security Council’s cross-border humanitarian assistance resolution critical to the supply of aid into Northwest Syria.

Speaking about his work, Nebras Haj Hamdan, Area Coordinator for Idleb with GOAL’s Syria Response Programme, said:

I began working with GOAL in 2013, after having experienced displacement myself when the war started. Our efforts to support water stations and bakeries in new communities in Northwest Syria, and to reach more vulnerable families with sustainable food security assistance in addition to safe water and subsidised bread have brought vital support to conflict-affected populations all these years. But there is an urgent need for long term programmes focused on early recovery and livelihoods for the new generation of Syrians to not lose hope in the future of their country.”

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Kasem Hijazy, Area Coordinator for Northern Aleppo with GOAL Syria Response, said:

We regularly witness the damage to displacement camps following yearly floods and snowstorms. We meet mothers who cannot afford to take their malnourished children to the region’s few remaining healthcare centres. GOAL will continue to plan and deliver new humanitarian programmes in emergency response, food security and nutrition assistance, and shelter support, but more needs to be done to ensure that this life-saving work can be continued and expanded.”

Also speaking about the agency’s humanitarian response in Syria, Mary Van Lieshout, GOAL’s Deputy CEO and Director of External Affairs, said:

The people of Syria have withstood incredible levels of pain, loss, and destruction but without a political solution, Syrian people will be unable to move on with their lives.”

Funding for humanitarian assistance in Syria and the Middle East is increasingly stretched, making life even harder for people who have few other options as they hope, year after year, that the end of the war might be in sight. As an elected member of the UN Security Council, Ireland must use this opportunity to continue to support humanitarian programmes in Syria and the wider region and to advocate for the protection of vulnerable Syrian communities.”