Seven years of conflict in Syria have exacted an enormous human toll and led to widespread physical destruction. The psychological impact of the war, although less visible, has been just as devastating. The levels of trauma and distress impacting Syrian civilians, especially children have been staggering with nearly 500,000 killed, half the population displaced and more than 13 million Syrians in need of humanitarian assistance. The traumatic impact of the Syrian conflict is less often acknowledged, but could significantly impair the ability of Syrian civilians to recover and build a more peaceful future.

Syrian doctors and humanitarian relief experts have increasingly engaged on this issue and are developing new and innovative approaches to help address and heal these invisible wounds. USIP and specialists from the Syrian American Medical Society, the U.S. State Department and Save the Children hosted a panel discussion, addressing an aspect of the Syrian conflict that often receives less attention than it deserves.

Review the conversation on Twitter with #SyriaTrauma.

Speakers

Nancy Lindborg, opening remarks
President, U.S. Institute of Peace,

Mona Yacoubian, moderator
Senior Advisor, Syria, the Middle East and North Africa, USIP

Catherine Bou-Maroun
Foreign Affairs Officer, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, U.S. Department of State

Dr. Mohamed Khaled Hamza
Mental Health Committee, Chair; & Foundation Board Member, Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), Professor of Clinical Mental Health, Lamar University-Texas State System

Amy Richmond
Director, Child Protection in Emergencies, Save the Children

Related Publications

Syria’s Ghalia Rahal: Surviving War, Building Peace

Syria’s Ghalia Rahal: Surviving War, Building Peace

Thursday, May 23, 2019

By: Palwasha L. Kakar; James Rupert

Amid the traumas of Syria’s war, women like Ghalia Rahal are building an unprecedented role in peace talks over their country’s future. Rahal—the founder of a network of women’s centers in northwest Syria—has helped energize a Syrian women’s movement despite threats from extremists, attacks on her workplaces, and the assassination of her son, a journalist. Now, Rahal and her women’s network in Syria’s Idlib Province face an extreme threat—the Syrian government military offensive against the province that has killed hundreds and displaced nearly 200,000 people.

Gender

A Visit to Post-ISIS Syria: Human Crises Pose Risk

A Visit to Post-ISIS Syria: Human Crises Pose Risk

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

By: Robin Wright

After losing its last territory in Syria on March 23, 2019, the Islamic State quickly reclaimed global attention with the Easter bombings in Sri Lanka on April 21 and a video tape of its reclusive leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, on April 29. The jihadi movement is now shifting focus to its ISIS branches, or “provinces,” in Africa, Asia and Europe. Baghdadi signaled ISIS’s expansion by formally embracing two Sunni extremist groups in Mali and Burkina Faso. But the Islamic State’s human core—more than 100,000 fighters and their families, including children—remains clustered in the rubble of its former “caliphate” in both Syria and Iraq. In Syria, they are detained in makeshift prisons, a hospital and refugee-style camps in the desert of northeastern Syria. USIP Senior Fellow Robin Wright made a rare tour of northeastern Syria to interview men and women who were part of the ISIS caliphate and to assess the risks posed by the post-caliphate crisis.

Violent Extremism

The Fatemiyoun Army: Reintegration into Afghan Society

The Fatemiyoun Army: Reintegration into Afghan Society

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

By: Ahmad Shuja Jamal

Since 2013, as many as 50,000 Afghans have fought in Syria as part of the Fatemiyoun, a pro-Assad force organized by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps. Based on field interviews with former fighters and their families, this Special Report examines the motivations of members of the Afghan Shia Hazara communities who joined the Fatemiyoun as well as the economic and political challenges of reintegrating them into Afghan society.

Civilian-Military Relations; Fragility & Resilience

View All Publications