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The Syrian Emergency Task Force aims to bring an end to atrocities against Syrian civilians through advocacy, humanitarian initiatives, and the pursuit of justice and accountability for war crimes.

Ruling year info


Executive Director

Mouaz Moustafa

Main address

1455 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Suite 436

Washington, DC 20004 USA

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NTEE code info

Civil Rights, Advocacy for Specific Groups (R20)

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Wisdom House Orphanage

In the Spring of 2016, The Syrian Emergency Task Force, a Washington-based NGO established an orphanage and school in Idlib, Syria where children learn with the merciful and unending assistance of 7 staff members. SETF and kindhearted sponsors first began assisting the orphanage, “The Wisdom House,” by sending backpacks, school supplies, mattresses, and other basic necessities that would be a solid foundation for growth and sustainment for this establishment. With our network of team members and current technologies, we are prepared to reach our orphanage and connect their support with the people providing it. This expedient and thoroughly documented process ensures that all contributions turn into timely and practical aide that reaches all the way into the hands of these children.

We anticipate a surge of knowledge, understanding, and love for The Wisdom House from our American community that will allow us to sustain this orphanage for years to come. SETF strives to uphold a personal connection between the Wisdom House children and its supporters around the world through social media and direct communication between people to build human relationships across borders.

Population(s) Served
At-risk youth
Women and girls

Rukban is a camp for internally displaced people (IDPs) in the dessert in Syria, It is home to 12,000 (nearly 1/2 of whom are children) civilians with no where else to go having fled other regions of Syria controlled by the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad and ISIS. The regime blocks aid deliveries and thus the people of Rukban starve without food, healthcare, or sewage. We send $1,000 every month to Rukban camp, the only aid organization operating here. This includes baby formula, medicine, oil, rice, and flour, education.

Population(s) Served
Immigrants and migrants
At-risk youth

SETF supports survivors of torture in Assad regime detention facilities, witnesses, and their familes to help rebuild and sustain their lives. We focus much of our support on the families of victims and witnesses who are key in bringing legal cases against Assad regime war criminals. We strive to empower the community of witnesses and survivors, encourage others to come forward, educate the public on atrocities committed by the Assad regime, and hold war criminals accountable. Currently we are paying a $1,000 to 3 different families. We would like to increase this amount so we can support more vulnerable families.

Population(s) Served
Victims and oppressed people

Caesar (not his real name) was a Syrian military photographer who was conscripted by the Assad regime to take pictures of people who died in military detention. In early 2011 he began to notice that civilians were being tortured and killed in the detention centers. He started amassing photographic documentation of the civilian deaths. When Caesar’s life became too endangered, he fled Syria with a flash drive full of photographs in his sock. Caesar now lives in hiding outside of Syria. His flash drive is at The US Holocaust Memorial Museum in DC.

The 55,000 photographs Caesar smuggled out of Syria, known as the Caesar file, document atrocities carried out by the Assad regime against civilians and have been verified by the FBI's International Human Rights Unit (IHRU). They depict groups of people and individuals, men and women, children and elderly, people from different ethnic groups – Arab, Kurd, Christian, Alawite; their one commonality is they all were somehow judged disloyal to Assad. Disloyalty could be demonstrated by providing humanitarian aid, showing sympathy to victims, living in the wrong city, or for other, trivial reasons. Caesar himself was not allowed to grimace or show any compassion while photographing the brutally tortured and killed victims, otherwise he too would have been killed.

The Syrian Emergency Task Force, in our partnership with the Caesar team and renowned experts of international humanitarian law, including the United States Holocaust memorial museum, US War Crimes Ambassador Stephen Rapp, and international lawyers, pursue legal prosecutions of war criminals all over the world using the Caesar file and material witnesses as evidence.

Population(s) Served
Victims and oppressed people

The House of Healing provides care and refuge to Syrian IDPs who have been granted permission by the Turkish government to enter Turkey to pursue life saving treatment given their exceptionally rare illnesses and situations.

The House of Healing offers patients and their family members transportation to and from medical appointments, warm meals, and a safe place to recover and heal from the horrors of the war while being monitored by medical professionals on the ground and in the U.S.

The SETF team has been visiting this rehabilitation center for years, but after the most recent trip to Turkey in July 2021, the team has decided to officially adopt the center, renaming it the House of Healing. Since its inception, the House of Healing, with the help of individual donors, has provided life changing care.

Population(s) Served
Internally displaced people
People with diseases and illnesses

Where we work

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SETF has become the best hope for 23 million Syrians. The recent trip to Turkey and Syria alongside the MNSF reiterated the trust that every opposition body has in SETF to take on the responsibility of being their voice to the international community. The implications of the injustice placed on the Syrian people have effects worldwide, from the Middle East to Europe and even the US. The impunity with which the Assad regime and its allies have operated has resulted in atrocities elsewhere. In Ukraine, organizations and civilians have reached out to SETF for support. To reach this great need;
SETF must continue its provision of humanitarian aid and education while advocating for a greater international effort to relieve the suffering
SETF must consolidate all war crimes documentation efforts in Syria and other relevant countries to have a reliable database for law enforcement and legal experts to utilize in existing and future cases both in national and international courts
SETF must expedite existing prosecution efforts both in Europe and the US by providing Key Witness testimonies, and Caesar Exhibits/PR to sustain and create more political will for these prosecutions. SETF is also in the advanced stages of detaining individuals accused of war crimes through our coordination with law enforcement and building criminal cases based on our war crimes documentation efforts.
SETF must continue to pass legislation in the US and engage with western allies and the UN to ensure the full implementation of UNSC Resolution 2254. Our efforts include cutting funding resources for the regime, stopping their narcotics trade, and engaging in public hearings.
SETF must stop any normalization with the Assad regime and hold responsible those attempting to bring back the criminal regime to the international community, including implementing the Caesar Act and strengthening our media efforts.
For us to continue this critical work and address these challenges, the Syrian Emergency Task Force has relied on the expertise and guidance provided by the MNSF. Our access to experts on organizational structure and fundraising and the moral and public support of MNSF has been a huge factor in our success.
Target Population
The target population is the following; 1) Our direct beneficiaries from our humanitarian programs whom we aim to give a chance at safety, education, and a future, 2) Displaced Syrians both inside and outside Syria who will directly benefit from SETF’s advocacy efforts for justice and accountability for the war crimes they have suffered 3) The American and European public and policymakers who we aim to educate on the reality on the ground as well as why it's in our best interest to bring an end to the atrocities in Syria.

SETF strategically partners with key individuals and organizations. Regarding our advocacy efforts, we partner with MNSF and the USHMM. Through our legal work, we partner with Ukrainian organizations through SUN, a coalition co-founded by SETF to expose Russian war crimes in Syria & Ukraine while transferring knowledge and resources to those on the ground. Through our humanitarian work, we partner with Bahar organization in Gaziantep, Turkey. The White Helmets and IIIM assist us in our war crime documentation efforts. SETF also partners with Universities, such as the Clinton School of Public Service, and schools across the U.S. to integrate Syria into their curriculum.

SETF continues to utilize assessment tools to measure our impact based on monthly evaluations of our projects and programs. Specifically, we measure the impact of our advocacy efforts by our ability to advance key legislation in the US Congress and the media coverage we facilitate. Additionally, our impact is based on how many hearings we organize in the House and Senate, the number of testimonies we facilitate at the UN, and the cities and Universities we reach through the Caesar and Mass Grave Exhibits. In the Key Witness Fund, we measure success by keeping each witness safe and building the trust needed to have new witnesses come forward. The Wisdom House’s impact is measured based on student proficiency in skills taught, such as writing and reading in Arabic. The number of graduates yearly measures the impact of Tomorrow’s Dawn. At the House of Healing, we measure our impact through daily health and physical well-being evaluations. In Rukban, our impact is measured by the continued delivery of medicine while we work simultaneously on breaking the siege. Lastly, the best measure of our organization’s development is our ability to sustain our humanitarian, advocacy, and legal work financially. We measure our development by having enough funds in our bank account to last at least 3-6 months and increasing the number of communities that provide recurring donations and venues for fundraising events.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time



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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


Connect with nonprofit leaders


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Board of directors
as of 01/27/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Dr. Hashem Mubarak

Cardiovascular Institute

Hashem Mubarak

Cardiovascular Institute

Mohamed Kawam

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 12/12/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Multi-Racial/Multi-Ethnic (2+ races/ethnicities)
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity


Sexual orientation


Equity strategies

Last updated: 12/12/2022

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.