The UK’s humanitarian support to Syria

DFID overcame substantial barriers to the delivery of aid, such as food, shelter and vaccines but took too long to put the required staffing and resources in place

Score: Green/Amber
  1. Status: Completed
  2. Published: 24 May 2018
  3. Type: Performance review
  4. Subject: Fragile states, Humanitarian assistance
  5. Assessment: Green/Amber
  6. Location: Syria
  7. Lead commissioner: Alison Evans

Read approach paper

Our approach

This performance review assesses the effectiveness of UK humanitarian aid in Syria since the beginning of the crisis response in 2012. It explores how effectively DFID has identified and reached people in need, and whether it has managed to achieve the best possible results given the challenging circumstances. It also examines how well DFID has learned from the Syria response.

We analysed the strategies and planning documents that governed the response, as well as looking at each level of the delivery chain including interviews with DFID, its delivery partners and selected downstream partners. We conducted in-person interviews with 330 recipients of DFID-funded assistance within Syria and interviewed 67 community leaders and downstream partner staff. We also conducted brief literature reviews of topics relevant to the humanitarian response, including the use of cash transfers for humanitarian relief, data and knowledge management, and innovation.

Overall, we interviewed over 600 people in the UK, Syria and neighbouring countries, either in person or remotely.



Published 11 September 2017

Evidence gathering


Review publication

Published 24 May 2018

Government response

Published 5 July 2018

Parliamentary scrutiny

IDC hearing 18 July 2018

ICAI follow-up

Published 18 July 2019