Syrian refugee crisis
Two years of ongoing conflict in Syria has caused over 80,000 deaths and left 4 million people in need of humanitarian assistance.
In March 2011, an uprising began between President Bashar al-Assad's regime and opposition forces. Two years of ongoing conflict has taken its toll on the Syrian people, and the situation has become a dire humanitarian crisis.
Large numbers of Syrians are continuing to flee the violence in their country, with approximately 60,000 escaping to Jordan in one month alone this year. The UNHCR has announced that the number of Syrians registered or receiving assistance as a refugee in neighbouring countries has surpassed 1 million (March 2013)  and this number is expected to double or triple in the coming months.
It is estimated that there are over 400,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan, 336,000 in Lebanon and 300,000 in Turkey (March 2013). In Syria itself, there are approximately 2.5 million people who have been internally displaced. Approximately 4 million people are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance as a result of the ongoing conflict.
How Caritas is helping
Caritas has a presence in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, and the humanitarian response is mainly focused on providing assistance to the Syrian refugees who have fled to neighbouring countries.
- In Jordan, Caritas is responding to the needs of Syrian refugees throughout the country and in multiple sectors. They have been assisting over 85,000 individuals (17,000 families)
- In Lebanon, Caritas is supporting more than 72,000 individuals (14,000 families)
- In Turkey, Caritas is assisting over 4,500 individuals (700 families)
Our partners in each of these countries have launched Emergency Appeals through Caritas Internationalis to provide immediate assistance to thousands of refugees in need. In particular, our partners focus on those most vulnerable refugees who are waiting to be processed by UNHCR or who for various reasons do not wish to register with UNHCR. Caritas Australia is supporting the Emergency Appeals in each of these three countries.
Learn more about the situation of Syrian refugees and Caritas' work in Jordan in the video:
Caritas is assisting Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey by providing:
- Food assistance
- Blankets, clothing and heaters to help the refugees through the extreme cold temperatures experienced in some regions during the recent winter. Read more in Helping Syrians out of the cold [Caritas Internationalis Blog: 19 Dec 2012]
- Other non-food items (such as hygiene kits and bedding materials), as many of the refugees had little time to take anything with them when they fled
- Medical assistance to refugees, including primary health care and secondary health care services through GP clinics and hospitals.
- Educational and social services, including non-formal education, vocational and life skills training and pre-school training, to help address the disruption of education experienced by the refugees
- Home visits and needs assessments to reach out to families in need
- Protection to vulnerable refugees, particularly as 78% of the refugee population in Lebanon are women and children
- Water and sanitation
- Peace-building activities including workshops on conflict resolution and trauma healing.
How you can help
Donate to our general emergency fund: Your donation to our general Emergency Response Fund will help us support those in Syria and the rest of the world suffering from conflict, political uncertainty and the effects of natural disasters. Donations $2 and over are tax deductible. Donate now »
Civil and political authorities…have a grave responsibility to work for peace... I think…of Syria, torn apart by endless slaughter and the scene of dreadful suffering among its civilian population. I renew my appeal for a ceasefire and the inauguration…of a constructive dialogue aimed at putting an end to a conflict which will know no victors.” Pope Benedict XVI
Video: How Caritas is helping Syrian refugees in Lebanon (2 December 2012) 
Video: A sobering visit with Syrian refugees (17 December 2012)
Blog: Refugee helping refugee: inspiring stories from the Syrian crisis (26 February 2013)
Blog: Syrian crisis through the eyes of its refugees (21 February 2013)
It is likely an additional 25% of this figure are not registered and are therefore not counted. 
Estimates from March 2013. They include estimates of all refugees – both those registered with the UNHCR and those not registered.