On Monday 15 March 2021, we marked the ten year anniversary of the Syrian conflict.
Ten years of displacement, hunger, suffering and pain for millions of men, women and children forced to leave their homes and unsure of the future.
Here is a year-by-year photo view of a conflict which has devastated a nation and an entire people.
2011: Before conflict erupts
The capital city of Syria, Damascus, bright and colourful before the start of what no one would have ever predicted would be ten years of conflict.
2012: Bombing hits Syria
Homes and a school destroyed by bombing in Al Atareb in northern Syria.
This was just a normal neighbourhood street, then the whole area was destroyed. It showed people that nobody was safe and the bombs came at random. People were killed in the building. Islamic Relief started distributing bread to the community after this bombing.
2013: Millions displaced
A girl who lives in an underground shelter in northern Syria.
As bombing increased, shelters and even schools and hospitals often had to move underground for protection. The girl and her family fled their village and took shelter in an underground camp. It was so dark and cold.
There were snakes and insects but they said they still felt safer underground than outside with the bombing. They were a very poor family and in the shelter they didn’t have electricity or water; they just survived on milk and stale bread.
2014: Relying on aid to survive
Every year Islamic Relief carries out a ‘Qurbani’ (sacrifice) distribution of food to poor families around the world.
This Qurbani distribution was for people newly displaced near Aleppo. Many homes were destroyed. 70 to 80 percent of people in this area fled their homes, mostly to go to Turkey.
2015: Children facing ongoing hunger
Children at a bread distribution in rural Aleppo.
All of these children are displaced from their homes. This was the site of the first bakery that Islamic Relief constructed. It was a big challenge to bring in equipment from across the border, but it meant we could distribute bread to hungry children.
2016: The siege of Aleppo
Destruction during the siege of Aleppo.
Aleppo was under siege and nobody could enter or leave. Every minute bombs would hit – hospitals and schools were all bombed.
2017: Providing critical relief
Islamic Relief has distributed bread to poor and displaced families in rural Idlib, serving communities in desperate need of aid.
2018: Flooding hits northern Syria
Men search for their possessions that were swept away by flooding in northern Syria.
2019: Children’s health at risk
A child living in a partially destroyed house in western Aleppo.
The child’s mother, Fatema, told us how she struggles to get her children enough food and drink. They have no electricity or safe water.
They make a fire from burning plastic and she says the children are cough constantly. Every morning the children go out into the street to look for sticks to burn.
2020: Covid-19 hits
The Covid-19 pandemic has put even more pressure on health facilities and poor families that were already struggling to cope. Islamic Relief has distributed hygiene kits and face masks and continues to supply critical food aid.
2021: A decade of uncertainty
This is the situation in Syria as of 2021. A staggering 11.1 million people are relying on humanitarian aid to survive.
As millions of people face continued insecurity and fear, here at Islamic Relief, we’d like to thank you for your continued support.
Without you, none of our work providing education, livelihoods, shelter, food, water and medical care to Syrian people would have been possible.
Special thanks also go to Majdi Samaan and the Istanbul office for their incredible photos and hardworking efforts year after year.
Thank you. You truly are life-savers.