Syria & Turkey: Overview & Impact


Country Context


Population: 79.8 million (2016, ISPAT)

Languages: Turkish (official)

Monetary unit: Turkish Lira

Main Exports:  apparel, food, textiles, metal manufactures, transport equipment

GNI per capita: $9,950 (2015, World Bank)

ODA received: 6.2 billion (2016, OECD)

Human Development Index ranking: 71/188 (2015, UNDP)

Estimated GDP growth: 2.9% (2016, CIA Factbook)


Population: 17.1 million (2016, CIA Factbook)

Languages: Arabic (official)

Monetary unit: Syrian Pound

Main Exports:  crude oil, minerals, petroleum products, fruits and vegetables, cotton fiber, textiles, meat and live animals, wheat

Human Development Index ranking: 149/188 (2015, UNDP)

Estimated GDP growth: -9.9% (2015, CIA Factbook)

Products & Services

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Syria is facing one of the gravest humanitarian crises of the 21st century. Now in its sixth year, the conflict has already resulted in over 400,000 deaths. It is estimated that over six million Syrians are internally displaced, and nearly five million people are currently living in the neighboring countries including Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon. Turkey alone hosts over 3 million Syrian refugees of which 1.8 million are of working age.

Because of the complex and volatile operating environment inside Syria, the international community is heavily reliant on Syrian partners – civil society organizations (CSOs) and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) – to deliver humanitarian and development assistance.

While these partners have been doing remarkable work, several barriers prevent more Syrian organizations and businesses from responding to the crisis. Most commonly, Syrian organizations and businesses have poor visibility within the international community. Furthermore, limited access to training and mentorship opportunities hinders operational improvements. Finally, CSOs and SMEs lack access to information on possible funding/growth opportunities, which is essential to long-term sustainability.

Local organizations and businesses should be at the forefront of supporting recovery and reconstruction efforts inside Syria, and are key to addessing the crisis in the region. This will broaden the humanitarian effort and will create much needed jobs and economic growth - helping to off-set the cost of the crisis. Through its partners, Building Markets will facilitate this effort by addressing current barriers and strengthening the capacity of Syrian CSOs and SMEs by:

1. Building a database of Syrian-led CSOs and SMEs that will bring visibility to a larger pool of entities that can implement programs and deliver goods and services;

2. Providing mentorship to Syrian CSOs and SMEs to ensure they have the tools and resources to effectively deliver services, create jobs, and sustain operations;

3. Developing online platforms to connect Syrian-led CSOs and Syrian-led SMEs with Turkish counterparts and the international community, including information on funding and growth opportunities. 

4. Conducting primary research, and making recommendations based on demand and sector specific studies, stakeholder and trend analyses, and mapping the needs, perceptions, capacities, and challenges of Syrian CSOs and SMEs.

Building Markets works with non governmental organisations and companies registered with the Turkish authorities as part of the Syria response. The organization has also been active in Lebanon and will launch a new project in Jordan in July 2018.

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