“The last seven years feel like 20,” says Fatmeh, a 23 year-old Syrian refugee living in Lebanon, referring to the war in her home country that is dragging into its eighth year. Fatmeh is one of millions of Syrians who have been left homeless — inside and outside their country — as the conflict wreaks havoc throughout Syria. Civilians pay the heaviest price, as they are killed, wounded and displaced daily.
One-quarter of Syria’s pre-war population has crossed the border, and inside the country more than 6 million people have been displaced. Around 100 people, on average, have been killed each day since the start of the conflict in 2011. Hundreds of thousands are living under siege, in places like Eastern Ghouta, where entire families have been going without food or clean water for weeks now, a few miles from Syria’s capital Damascus.
As the conflict enters its eighth year, women have been hit hard. With the Syrian army and its allies, as well as non-state armed groups, fighting on the ground and unprecedented violence in the country, many women have lost a husband, son or brother to the war. This has shifted the customary male role of heading the household to many women in Syria, who are increasingly assuming both the role of breadwinner and caregiver. According to the UN, one in three households in Syria is headed by a woman. Women and girls constitute more than half of the 13.1 million people who are in need in Syria.