The Evolution of the Syrian Humanitarian NGOs and External Challenges

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Alhousseiny M., Atar E.

The Rest: Journal of Politics and Development, vol.11, no.2, pp.101-119, 2021 (Peer-Reviewed Journal)

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 11 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Journal Name: The Rest: Journal of Politics and Development
  • Journal Indexes: Index Islamicus
  • Page Numbers: pp.101-119
  • Recep Tayyip Erdoğan University Affiliated: Yes


Syrian humanitarian sector was limited to two types of NGOs till the Syrian conflict started; traditional charities composing of religious or ethnic focus NGOs, and the Government Organised Non-Governmental Organisations (GONGOs) that were affiliated by governmental figures. They both failed to respond to the needs of civilians in non-governmental controlled areas. This has forced Syrians with limited or no previous experience in this sector to act immediately and independently. However, after the crisis erupted, the commitment to their case, availability of funds, and hospitality from the neighbouring countries evolved them very quickly to become the primarily organised responders in the non-governmental controlled territories. Those newly formed humanitarian groups tried to link humanitarian interventions with early recovery activities without losing the scope of being a voice advocating for the human rights of the innocents. The Syrian Humanitarian NGOs based in Turkey were delivering their assistance to the vulnerable communities inside Syria further than where they physically reach without even evaluating the risks that might affect their lives or their beloved families. In some cases, they were the only humanitarian actors in besieged areas as Rural Damascus or Eastern Aleppo and hard to reach locations as Rural Homs or Northern Hama. Those security threats are now less impactful on their existence compared with the political, economic, social, technological, legal and environmental external challenges that they are facing and can highly affect their presence. The external challenges that they are witnessing that might affect not only the way they are operating but their sustainability as well. Those external challenges were focusing on political, economic, social, technological, legal, and environmental to form the well-known PESTLE analysis that categorises these external threats and risks. As new Syrian NGOs have spread within countries nearby as well as in the diaspora, this article will only focus on those that were based mainly in Turkey due to several reasons explained in the article.