International Alert’s approach to our work in Syria is long term.
The work is based on the understanding that peacebuilding is a multi-generational endeavour; multifaceted in terms of the themes and issues that are addressed; multi-track, including community based organisations, civil society, local and national authorities, international policy-makers, peacemakers, and diplomats; geographically dispersed across the Middle East and Europe; and inclusive, involving Syrians across conflict lines and other social, cultural, political, gender, and generational boundaries.
Our programming helps to support local and international peace processes, focusing on the meaningful participation of civil society, women, youth, and other marginalised groups in the process.
Through capacity development, accompaniment and partnerships we help civil society to advance peacebuilding. We focus on influencing relevant actors to adopt gender sensitive and human centred approaches. We also work with key actors on conflict sensitive programming.
The human cost of the war in Syria stands at approximately 227,413 civilians deaths between March 2011 and March 2021. The war has resulted in 5.6 million Syrians becoming refugees, and 6.7 million becoming internally displaced. As of March 2021, an estimated 13.4 million people were in need of humanitarian assistance inside Syria. The level of violence in the country has diminished since 2019. However, the root causes of the conflict remain and are now overlain with and compounded by a decade of extreme violence between armed actors and against civilians, resulting in displacement, trauma, economic downturn and collapse, and social fragmentation.
The outlook for Syria is that the conflict will become even more protracted and frozen with de facto partition of the country into different zones of influence. International initiatives aimed at creating consensus on a ceasefire and power sharing will continue, but a negotiated settlement to the conflict remains some way off.
Despite the extremely difficult environment, there are many organisations, individuals, and networks who remain committed to peacebuilding in Syria and for Syrians living outside the country. These efforts need to be amplified and sustained over the long term. The context demands new methods of working, fresh thinking, diverse partnerships, and reinvigorated leadership of international actors and Syrian civil society actors in order to continue to work towards peace.