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UN – Google partnership to offer new insights into Syrian war

The United Nations and Google have partnered up to offer the public a new insight into the Syrian conflict. A special website was created providing detailed information and visual aids that could help viewers better understand the war and its consequences.

In an effort to provide a better and more complete picture about the Syrian conflict, the UN Refugee Agency, and Google have launched a new website. According to the UN, the online platform will give visitors “an informative and compelling insight into the Syrian refugee crisis, its staggering human cost and the world’s humanitarian response aimed at helping millions of Syrian families, forced from their homes by violence and persecution, survive and restore their dignity.”

The “Searching for Syria” website combines UNHCR data and stories, Google Search Trends and other sources to offer answers to some of the most important questions asked online about the Syrian conflict. Visitors can find out more about the country’s cultural and historical heritage by reading and seeing pictures of what Syria looked like before the war.


The website also provides information about refugees, retelling their stories and highlighting how individuals can get involved and helped those that were force to flee the war-torn country.

Multimedia and visual aids are used in an effort to paint a vivid picture of what the outcome of the conflict means and officials hope that the new platform will help improve the public’s understanding about the Syrian war.

“Searching for Syria aims to dispel myths and misconceptions about Syria and refugees and provide an entirely fresh look at the biggest humanitarian tragedy of today,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi. “This is a fantastic project with Google that allows us to pinpoint and answer the five key questions about Syrian refugees and displaced that audiences most want to know and help us rally much needed support and funding for our humanitarian effort.”

The human cost of the war is also what made Google invest in the project.

“We’re proud to work with the UNHCR to develop Searching for Syria to help raise awareness and inform the world on the human cost of the ongoing conflict and the refugee crisis,” said Jacquelline Fuller, Vice President of “The scale of the Syrian refugee crisis is difficult for most of us to fathom, but the questions on Searching for Syria are a reflection of many people’s desire to understand. Among the top searches in Germany, France, and the UK last year was: What is happening in Syria?”

The website is available in English, French, German and Spanish and an Arabic version will be rolled-out soon, Google says.

Visitors will be able to go through short editorial passages, refugee profiles, photographs and videos. For users wishing to engage further, the website will offer options to share content via social networks, donate or sign up to UNHCR’s #WithRefugees global petition asking the world leaders to ensure education for refugee children, adequate shelter and livelihoods for refugee families.


The Syrian conflict started back in March 2011 and since then approximately half of the country’s population, estimated at 22 million, has been forced to flee their homes. Syrians have become the largest refugee group in the world with more than five million living in neighboring countries, mostly in rural areas, and over 6 million being displaced inside Syria.

According to the UNHCR, the humanitarian effort for Syrian refugees faces critical challenges with only 17 per cent of funds available to meet the immediate needs of uprooted Syrian families this year.

Sylvia Jacob