Waiting For No One: Civilian Survival Strategies in Syria
Since the beginning of the conflict in Syria, over a quarter million people have lost their lives, well over a million have been injured, and more than half of the prewar population has been displaced (in many cases more than one time). At the same time, humanitarian assistance inside Syria virtually vanished due to fighting, aerial attacks, kidnapping, and restrictions on the flow of aid.
Based on field research undertaken between August and December 2015, this report examines civilians’ experience of the conflict and the survival strategies that they have developed in the face of nearly impossible odds. The report provides concrete recommendations on how to support these strategies. Tactics that urgently need support to be more effective include: the development of early warning systems, physical protection of civilian infrastructure including schools and medical facilities, local rescue and aid teams, efforts to mark and dispose of unexploded ordnance, and the creation of a secure platform to share protection strategies. Absent a peace agreement accepted and enforced by all stakeholders, the international community must use this time to support and strengthen all viable ways that Syrians have adopted to protect themselves.
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