Syrian Civil Defense clears rubble
Syrian Civil Defense clears rubble with SRP-provided heavy machinery following a regime attack in Maaret Nouman, Idleb, in November 2014.
Idleb Civil Defense

Promoting norms of tolerance and increasing public confidence in moderate civil actors by strengthening their ability to respond to community needs. 


Syrian Civil Defense deploys to help internally displaced persons re-establish their shelters at Atmeh Camp as part of the emerg
Syrian Civil Defense deploys to help internally displaced persons re-establish their shelters at Atmeh Camp as part of the emergency response to a brutal winter storm in January 2015.
Idleb Civil Defense

Why USAID/OTI is in Syria

The U.S. Government supports the Syrian people’s struggle for a democratic, inclusive and unified Syria. As the civil war in Syria enters its fifth year, the ongoing fighting continues to threaten civilian lives, destroy critical infrastructure and deprive citizens of essential services. 

Moreover, the conflict has given rise to a political landscape in which moderate opposition groups are fighting a two-front war against the Assad regime on one side and extremist groups on the other. U.S. foreign policy aims to reinforce the moderate opposition’s ability to act as a counterweight to these forces.

USAID/OTI’S Role in Syria 

The USAID/OTI Syria Regional Program (SRP) seeks to further U.S. foreign policy interests in the region by supporting Syrians who are building inclusive, accountable and responsive governance institutions that address community needs. By partnering with emergent governing bodies and civil actors across a range of sectors, USAID/OTI is:
• Increasing public confidence in and the ability of moderate governance structures and civil society organizations; and
• Promoting norms of tolerance, coexistence and dialogue.

Program Highlights

SRP provides assistance to civil society organizations and governance structures at the national, provincial and local levels. This assistance encompasses both top-down and bottom-up strategies to meeting critical needs in activities designed to connect civil bodies to each other and to the citizens that they represent. All activities include robust outreach components to amplify the efforts of moderate actors. Illustrative examples of SRP programming include the following:

  • Over $18 million in assistance to civil defense teams which act as emergency responders to everything from indiscriminate regime barrel bombings to winter storm relief to firefighting. To date, Syrian civil defense units have saved over 30,000 lives.
  • Assistance to provincial and local councils to provide basic municipal services such as records management, waste removal, electricity and water, in addition to repairing small infrastructure and rehabilitating public spaces such as cemeteries and schools.
  • Support toward community events such as clean-up initiatives, graffiti campaigns, local council outreach events and youth activities.
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Related Sectors of Work 

Last updated: November 13, 2015

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