Turkey-Syria Earthquakes: Insights for Recovery and Response

The earthquakes that hit Syria and southern Turkey in February 2023 have had a catastrophic impact on communities already suffering the effects of long-term conflict. More than 54,000 people have died and many more have been left homeless in freezing conditions as homes and key infrastructure have been destroyed or damaged. The destruction halted the flow of humanitarian aid to northwest Syria, which is home to over four million people who are dependent on aid due to the ongoing conflict. The humanitarian needs are immense, and there are many challenges to recovery and reconstruction.

PeaceRep’s Syria research team is building on our existing research to explore the political, economic, and social responses to and implications of the earthquakes, as well as the impact on conflict dynamics and peacemaking at international, national, and local levels.

In the coming months, we will publish a series of blogs on the situation in Syria. In the longer term, the Syria team at LSE’s Conflict and Civicness Research Group (CCRG) and the University of Edinburgh are in the process of redrafting our future research agenda to reflect the post-earthquake era. Key research questions include:

  • The political economy of early and medium to long-term recovery in Syria after the earthquakes
  • The role of private sector in peacebuilding and recovery
  • The role of the Syrian civil-society-led health organisation in responding to the earthquakes
  • The role of key state actors – such as the US, Russia and Turkey – in responding to the earthquakes
  • How the Syrian regime is exploiting the post-earthquake moment to ‘normalise’ its relations with third countries and the international community
  • A comparative analysis of the legitimacy and power of formal and informal authorities pre- and post-earthquake in a select earthquake-affected area, drawing and expanding on existing research and surveying on authority and legitimacy. Learn more about the Mapping Syria project
  • The relationships, and tensions, between UN humanitarian actors and the local civil society such as the White Helmets in the post-earthquake relief effort
  • Political and operational cross-border issues around post-earthquake humanitarian assistance, particularly across the Syria-Turkey border and across the east-west conflict lines inside Syria.
  • The role of non-traditional donors and channels of solidarity in responding to the earthquakes


Insights from PeaceRep’s Syria research

PeaceRep has published a number of reports, blogs, and policy briefs relating to Syria, many of which offer insights and recommendations relevant to the post-earthquake context.

In a rapid response to the earthquakes, the PeaceRep Syria team at CCRG have compiled a summary of relevant points from earlier publications, and what research to date can tell us about post-earthquake politics. Key themes covered in these papers include resilience, corruption and the politicisation of aid, the use of sanctions as a tool for economic reconstruction, and aid distribution channels and the conditionality of aid.

Read the full summary here

Read more about our Syria work


Additional PeaceRep research on Syria

Building Resilience in Syria: Fragilities and coping mechanisms

Fragmentation of Peacemaking in Syria: Reality and Perception

The Covid-19 Pandemic and Alternative Governance Systems in Idlib

Rethinking Governance: Insights from Syria during Covid-19


Learn more

PeaceRep’s Syria work is led by Rim Turkmani of the LSE Conflict and Civicness Research Group, in collaboration with Mazen Gharibah and Zaki Mehchy. Research on fragmentation and governance is undertaken by Juline Beaujouan at University of Edinburgh, in collaboration with partners based in Syria, Jordan and Turkey.



The LSE research team recently hosted an event discussing the earthquakes and their impact, Politics of the Turkey/Syria Earthquake: Responses and aftermath.

Access the event recording


How to help

The University of Edinburgh has shared information on providing support for those affected by the earthquakes, including a list of organisations that support communities throughout Turkey and Syria.

Find out more