Our program

Armed conflict has been ongoing in Syria since the outbreak of the war in 2011. As a result, and due to the lack of democracy that weighs heavily on the population, millions of Syrian woman, men and children are still in need of aid and international solidarity.

Development and Peace has been involved in Syria since the Iraq war. In the early years of the Syrian conflict, we appealed for donations to support Syrian refugees.

Over the years, we have responded to thousands of Syrians’ basic needs (for food, shelter, heath care, etc.), called on the Canadian government to protect civilians caught up in the conflict and joined the calls of Caritas Internationalis for peace in Syria. Thanks to Global Affairs Canada, the Canadian Foodgrains Bank and the generosity of Canadians, we committed more than $71 million in aid to our Syria program during a decade of conflict.

For more details, please consult our report Canadians’ solidarity with the people of Syria.

Today, we are working with local organizations in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq to respond to the needs of the most vulnerable people affected by the war. Our current projects in Syria focus on the provision of medical support and the promotion of peace (through training and mentoring of youth on peace building) in communities still greatly affected by the conflict. With a strong local presence, our partners all have in-depth knowledge and bonds of trust with the communities they serve, allowing them to reach those who are most in need of aid.

Dignity and love are at the heart of Development and Peace’s response. Thank you for enabling us to help over 1.3 million people survive the ravages of war, hunger, poverty and displacement. Together, we are offering glimmers of hope in this enduring crisis.

The situation

The war in Syria broke out in 2011 following the Syrian government’s use of violence against protests growing out of the Arab Spring, an unprecedented grassroots movement in the region calling for greater dignity, rights and democracy. In Damascus, the protests began on March 15, 2011, which is considered by many to be the start date of the armed conflict in Syria.

Since then, this tragedy has resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths and millions of refugees and internally displaced people, in addition to exacting a terrible socio-economic toll on the entire Syrian population and neighbouring countries. Although the fighting and attacks in Syria are now concentrated in pockets in the north-east and north-west, over a decade of war has caused immense destruction, and the Syrian people remain in great need of assistance in order to rebuild their country.

Pope Francis has been very active in rallying Catholics and countries in a position to do so to help Syrian refugees. He has repeatedly called for an end to the fighting and humanitarian aid for civilians. However, as time goes by and this conflict risks being forgotten like so many others, aid to rebuild Syria could dry up. We therefore welcome and are grateful for your prayers and support as Development and Peace continues to carry out projects in Syria with its partners on the ground.