Sovereign Military Hospitaller
Order of St John of Jerusalem of
Rhodes and of Malta


Eight years of war in Syria: ‘The scale of human suffering cannot be expressed in numbers’

Eight years of war in Syria: ‘The scale of human suffering cannot be expressed in numbers’

The Syrian war seems to be nearing its final stages, but there is no end to the suffering of the people affected by the conflict. “Half a million people have lost their lives and millions have been displaced, but the scale of human suffering cannot be expressed in numbers,” said Janine Lietmeyer, Head of Middle East program at Malteser International, the Order of Malta’s worldwide relief agency. “The country has witnessed severe physical and economic devastation. The economy has collapsed by 50% since the war began in 2011 and many people are living in extreme poverty as unemployment and desperation continue to prevail. The war has also left profound marks in the fabric of the Syrian society which is now almost devoid of social cohesion. Academics, professionals and skilled workers have left the country in droves, most likely never to return.”

According to Lietmeyer, “despite the challenges and horrors of war, out partner organizations in Syria have become actors in a civil society guided by the values of humanity and non-political aid.” “Every effort from now on should be aimed at maintaining these values even in post-war Syria” she said.

More than half of Syria’s population – some 12 million people – have been forcefully displaced from their homes as a result of the conflict, with 5.6 million seeking refuge abroad. Many still have no prospect of returning home in the near future.

The Syrian conflict has become one of the longest and bloodiest wars in recent history. Malteser International has been providing life-saving medical help for people affected by the conflict since 2012 and assists a total of nine health centers, three hospitals, two blood banks and a production facility for medical oxygen in north-western Syria.

Malteser International on Ash Wednesday launched its annual fundraising campaign “Make Lent Count”, calling for donations to support people affected by the war in Syria.