Global Report 2022
2022 Year-end population figures
Refugees in neighbouring countries (including Türkiye): 5.4 million
IDPs: 6.8 million
Refugee returns in 2022 alone: 51,300
IDP returns: 255,100
Stateless persons: 160,000
2022 Situation overview
The syrian arab republics crisis remained one of the largest displacement crises in the world in 2022. Over 12 million syrians remained forcibly displaced in the region, including almost 6.8 million within the syrian arab republic (syria) and 5.4 million living as refugees in neighbouring countries, a slight decline from 5.7 million in 2021. After more than a decade of generously hosting refugees, neighbouring countries suffered multiple crises in 2022 which led to significant increases in poverty for refugees and deteriorating living conditions for host communities. Lebanon suffered a deep socioeconomic crisis, recording inflation of 186%, while the annual vulnerability assessment of syrian refugees showed that 90% of refugee families were living in extreme poverty and in critical need of humanitarian assistance, with increasing mental health problems and psychosocial distress.
Inside syria, over 14.6 million people were in need of humanitarian assistance, a 9% increase from 13.4 million people in 2021. The economic situation significantly deteriorated in 2022 due to the covid-19 pandemic, the devaluation of the syrian pound, rising inflation, hikes in fuel prices, frequent electricity cuts and sanctions. Many people lost their livelihoods or no longer earned enough to support their families. For the first time, syrians living across every sub-district in syria experienced some degree of humanitarian stress. Internally displaced people (idps), many of whom have been displaced multiple times, suffered the most, with basic services and critical infrastructure on the brink of collapse. In addition, syria hosted around 18,700 refugees and asylum-seekers, mainly from iraq.
In syria, unhcr addressed significant humanitarian needs by supporting idps and returnees through multisectoral assistance, such as providing core relief items and seasonal in-kind assistance to over 1 million people. Unhcr strengthened community-based protection such as providing catch-up classes for over 61,000 children, child protection activities for almost 9,000 children, primary health care for almost 760,000 people, and support to around 6,600 survivors of gender-based violence. Unhcr and partners also provided identity documents to 1.8 million returnees and legal assistance to almost 294,000 idps and returnees, for instance to register births and marriages. Unhcr focused on community mobilization and building self-reliance to reduce vulnerabilities and protection risks. This involved providing services through community-based structures and networks supporting 127 community and satellite centres and 121 mobile units in all 14 governorates of syria and engaging around 2,900 outreach volunteers to strengthen its protection activities. As part of the whole-of-syria response, unhcr was the lead agency of the protection, shelter and non-food items (nfi) sectors and in north-west syria unhcr led the protection, shelter and nfi, and camp coordination and camp management clusters response. People living in north-west syria continued to receive life-saving humanitarian assistance through the cross-border response from gaziantep (turkiye), following the renewal of united nations security council resolution 2672 until 10 january 2023.
Syrian refugees continued to require access to territory, international protection and support in countries of asylum within the region during 2022. In supporting syrian refugees staying in neighbouring host countries in the medium term, unhcr worked to expand local opportunities and solutions, co-leading with undp the regional refugee and resilience plan (3rp). The 3rp framed a large scale multi-sectoral response, coordinating the work of more than 270 partners addressing the needs of 7.1 million refugees and asylum-seekers and 4.3 million impacted host community members. The 3rp supported national-led efforts in egypt, iraq, jordan, lebanon and turkiye, connecting the response with longer-term national strategies for inclusive growth and sustainable development. The 3rp strategic directions are 1) protecting people; 2) supporting durable solutions; 3) supporting dignified lives; and 4) enhancing local and national capacities, guided by the principle that no one is left behind.
In 2022, unhcr distributed $208.5 million in cash assistance to around 3.5 million vulnerable syrian refugees, helping to meet basic needs and mitigate harmful coping mechanisms such as reducing food consumption and child labour. 111,500 syrian refugee families also received shelter support. 4.2 million syrians and vulnerable host community members received primary health care services, and 222,500 survivors of gender-based violence received case management support, psychosocial support and other specialized services. 1.5 million syrian refugee children were enrolled in national primary and secondary education and 155,300 syrian children were provided with child protection services. To respond to the cold and harsh winter months, 1.8 million syrians received cash assistance and/or core relief items such as blankets and winter clothing to keep warm.
Durable solutions for syrian refugees are based on a comprehensive protection and solutions strategy seeking to: i) support host country and community resilience; ii) enable refugee self-reliance, including access to services, legal work opportunities and livelihoods; iii) expand access to resettlement in third countries and other complementary pathways, and; iv) plan for the return of refugees to syria, on a voluntary basis, when conditions for a safe, dignified and sustainable return are in place.
Resettlement remains the most viable durable solution for syrian refugees and a demonstration of solidarity and responsibility-sharing with host countries by the international community. In 2022 unhcr identified over 610,000 syrians in need of resettlement, representing the population with the highest global resettlement needs. Based on resettlement places offered by third countries, unhcr submitted more than 37,100 individual cases for consideration by the resettlement countries. 22,800 refugees departed, a significant increase from 2021, when some 17,500 syrian refugees departed for resettlement from the region. A variety of complementary pathways programmes to third countries ranging from employment and education opportunities to family reunification were also supported in the region to help facilitate refugees access to solutions.
Unhcr considered that conditions were not yet in place for large-scale voluntary returns in safety and dignity. Refugee returns to syria from neighbouring countries were expected to fluctuate and refugees decisions on returning were significantly affected by safety and security issues inside syria. In 2022, unhcr registered 51,300 returns, an increase from 38,000 in 2021, but still low in absolute terms. Unhcrs regional return intention survey in june 2022 found that while 58% hoped to return to syria one day, down from 70% in 2021, only 1.7% planned on doing so in the next 12 months, down from 2.4% in 2021. Respondents noted safety and security, livelihood opportunities, and housing and basic services as key barriers to return.
Unhcr provided multisectoral support where spontaneous refugee and idp returns took place and engaged with the government of syria to advocate for legal, administrative and other measures to address obstacles to return. Unhcr adopted an area-based approach inside syria, to support sustainable reintegration and recovery. This included practical interventions in areas such as shelter, protection services including legal aid and civil documentation, distribution of relief items, and restoration of basic services.
Unhcr continued its work on prevention and reduction of statelessness in the region by identifying and protecting stateless persons and those at risk of statelessness, which resulted in some positive outcomes. For example, through capacity-building of national authorities to facilitate birth registration, the percentage of syrian refugee children born in the region without any identity documents was significantly reduced; only 4% of syrian refugee children lacked birth documents in 2022. Progress was also made in facilitating marriage registration procedures and increasing womens access to civil documentation.
Global Appeal 2023
2023 population planning figures
Refugees and asylum-seekers in neighbouring countries (including Türkiye): 5.4 million
IDPs: 6.9 million
2023 situation overview
The Syria crisis, currently in its 12th year, remains one of the largest displacement crises in the world. Syrian refugees continue to be generously hosted by neighbouring countries, but local socioeconomic conditions are worsening and there has been an increase in the negative rhetoric towards refugees, accompanied by heightened calls for them to return to the Syrian Arab Republic (Syria), particularly in Lebanon and Türkiye. The vulnerabilities of Syrian refugees are likely to worsen in 2023.
UNHCR will continue to co-lead with UNDP the Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan (3RP) in response to the Syria crisis, coordinating the work of more than 270 partners in support of national efforts in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Türkiye. The 3RP will continue to connect the response with longer-term national strategies for inclusive growth and sustainable development.
Refugee returns to Syria from neighbouring countries are expected to remain low. Around 38,400 opted to go back in the first nine months of 2022. UNHCR’s latest return intention survey, conducted in January and February 2022, indicated that 90% of Syrian refugees were unable to meet their basic needs in the host country and 58% hoped to return to Syria one day (against 70% in 2021), but only 1.7% planned to do so within the following 12 months (against 2.4% in 2021).
Syrian refugees have the highest resettlement needs globally, with over 777,000 Syrians identified as being in need of resettlement. Resettlement remains a critical test of responsibility-sharing by the international community.
Inside Syria, significant humanitarian needs will persist. UNHCR will support refugees, IDPs and returning refugees and IDPs by providing multisectoral assistance to those most in need. Using a community-based and area-based approach, UNHCR will focus on community mobilization and building self-reliance, aimed at reducing vulnerabilities and protection risks by providing services through community-based structures and networks.
UNHCR will continue to co-lead the Protection, Shelter, and Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) cluster responses.
Global Report 2021
2021 Year-end population figures
- Refugees in neighbouring countries (including Türkiye): 5.7 million
- IDPs: 6.9 million
- Refugee returns in 2021 alone: 36,000
- IDP returns (according to OCHA): 169,000
2021 Situation overview
The decade-old Syrian Arab Republic crisis remained the world’s largest displacement crisis. By the end of 2021, more than 5.7 million Syrian refugees were displaced in neighbouring countries and 13.4 million Syrians were estimated to require some form of humanitarian and protection assistance inside Syria, including some 6.9 million internally displaced people (IDPs). People’s ability to meet their basic needs decreased as COVID-19 brought significant economic and social distress, on top of the effects of the ongoing conflict, inflation, and existing sanctions.
Inside Syria, UNHCR addressed significant humanitarian needs through multisectoral assistance and strengthening its community-based protection approach. As part of the whole-of-Syria response, UNHCR co-led the protection, shelter and non-food items and camp coordination and camp management cluster responses.
More than $266 million in cash assistance was distributed to close to 4 million Syrians in need and 285,000 vulnerable Syrian families received core relief items, helping to meet basic needs and mitigate harmful coping mechanisms such as reducing food consumption and child labour. More than 75,000 essential secondary and tertiary health care referrals were supported. Legal assistance was provided to some 483,000 Syrian refugees, IDPs and returnees and 31,500 Syrian refugees were assisted with civil status registration or documentation. In response to the harsh winter conditions, more than 2.1 million Syrians received cash assistance or core relief items to help them address seasonal needs such as heating.
Durable solutions for Syrian refugees are based on a comprehensive protection and solutions strategy seeking to: i) support host country and community resilience; ii) enable refugee self-reliance, including access to services, legal work opportunities and livelihoods; iii) expand access to resettlement in third countries and other complementary pathways, and iv) plan for the return of refugees to Syria, on a voluntary basis, when conditions for a safe, dignified and sustainable return are in place.
UNHCR worked to expand local opportunities and solutions for Syrian refugees, co-leading with UNDP the Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan (3RP) in response to the Syria crisis, coordinating the work of more than 270 partners in support of national efforts in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Türkiye. The 3RP connected the response with longer-term national strategies for inclusive growth and sustainable development.
UNHCR has identified over 610,000 Syrians as being in need of resettlement. In 2021, more than 17,000 Syrians departed for resettlement from the region, up from 9,400 in 2020 (but down from an average of 23,500 in 2018–2019).
In 2021, UNHCR registered around 36,000 returns, a decrease from 38,000 in 2020 and 94,000 in 2019, likely as a result of the challenging conditions inside Syria and the impact of COVID-19. A March 2021 intention survey found that while most Syrians outside Syria wished to return one day (70%), few planned on doing so in the next 12 months (2.4%). Respondents cited safety and security, livelihood opportunities, and housing and basic services as barriers to returning.
UNHCR provided multisectoral support where spontaneous refugee and IDP returns took place and engaged with the Government of Syria to advocate for legal, administrative and other measures to address obstacles to return. UNHCR adopted an area-based approach inside Syria, to support sustainable reintegration and recovery. This included concrete and practical interventions in areas such as shelter, protection services including legal aid and civil documentation, distribution of relief items, and restoration of basic services, among others.