Isn't it time for peace in Syria? | Development and Peace

Isn't it time for peace in Syria?



The crisis in Syria requires a global response if there is to be an end to the war and the suffering of the people of Syria. Development and Peace has been campaigning for peace in Syria by calling on the Canadian government to do everything in its power to protect civilians in Syria and to end the conflict through diplomatic means. It has also joined the Caritas Internationalis campaign Syria: Peace is Possible, which was launched with an important message from Pope Francis.


There are many ways you can take action for peace in Syria!

1. Sign our petition:

Development and Peace is calling on the Canadian government to:

  • Contribute to the peace process by making the voices of Syrian civil society heard;
  • Ensure access to humanitarian aid and the protection of civilians; and
  • Promote social cohesion and self-sufficiency of refugees in neighbouring countries.

 Sign now!

To learn more about our recommendations to the Canadian government, read our backgrounder “ Five Years of Conflict in Syria: Working for Peace and Dignity for Syrians”.

2. Pray for peace:

Hold a vigil in your parish to pray for peace for Syrians or have your own personal moment of reflection. Find prayer resources here.

3. Spread the word:

Help us to keep the plight of Syrians a global priority. Share our petition, videos and images on social media and in your networks. Use #peacepossible4syria.

Our response

Development and Peace has been working in the Middle East since 1967, responding to recurring humanitarian crises in the region.

Development and Peace first responded to the crisis in Syria in the autumn of 2012. As the situation continued to deteriorate, it launched an appeal in collaboration with the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) in the spring of 2013 to raise funds to support Syrian refugees and those impacted by the conflict in Syria.

With Syria still in crisis, the Government of Canada announced in September 2015 that it would match donations made for relief efforts for Syrians until February 29th, 2016. With this announcement, Development and Peace launched a new joint appeal with the CCCB, the Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA) and Aid to the Church in Need to continue to support the most vulnerable Syrians caught in this crisis.

The organization has invested $25 million in humanitarian aid and local peace initiatives that have helped over 600,000 Syrians, including 20% in Syria itself. This amount includes $23 million in funding from the Canadian government.

Development and Peace is working with local partner organizations in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey to respond to the needs of the most vulnerable affected by this crisis. As local organizations, these partners have bonds of trust with the communities they work with, allowing them to reach those who are most in need of aid.

With the influx of refugees arriving in Europe, most of whom are from Syria, Development and Peace has also contributed $50,000 towards relief efforts being put in place by Caritas Macedonia in affected countries.

Dignity is at the heart of Development and Peace’s response. It is an ongoing endeavour that relies on the solidarity of Canadians and the courage and resilience of our partners. Together, we are offering one of the small glimmers of hope in this enduring crisis.

Here are some of the projects that have been put in place:


We are working with several local organizations around Aleppo, Homs and Damascus to provide humanitarian aid, such as food, medical support, blankets, clothing and winterization materials. With the complete deterioration of the social fabric and economy of communities, needs for services are dire. As such, we are supporting projects that are f food insecurity, unemployment, psychological trauma, and focusing on the economic empowerment of women, as well as education. Lastly, we are also supporting peace initiatives that will contribute towards future reconciliation in the country.

In Syria, our partners include Jesuit Refugee Service, Caritas Syria and the Sisters of Sacred Heart.
Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey

We are working with local organizations to support Syrian refugees in these countries and to address the strain it is placing on local services. The aid we are helping to provide includes the following:

•    Medical and dental care;
•    Psychosocial support;
•    Winterization kits that include blankets, heaters, stoves and fuel;
•    Supplies such as mattresses and tents;
•    Hygiene kits and water and sanitation;
•    Educational services, such as schooling for refugee children; literacy, continuing education and skills training for adults;
•    Health awareness sessions; and
•    Safe spaces for children.

Our main partners in these countries are Caritas Lebanon, Caritas Jordan, Caritas Turkey, Jesuit Refugee Service and the Good Shepherd Sisters.

Peacebuilding in the Middle East

We are also working with local organizations in the Middle East to promote peace and democracy, including Caritas Middle East and North Africa (MONA), Search for Common Ground, and a joint project between Catholic Relief Services and the group Adyan.

Report on Development and Peace’s solidarity with the people of Syria

To learn more about Development and Peace’s response to this crisis, consult our report Crisis in Syria: Giving Hope through Solidarity

The situation

Syria is immersed in a brutal civil war that started in the wake of demonstrations growing out of the Arab Spring, a grassroots movement for democracy in countries in the Middle East. Protests calling for the resignation of President Bashar al-Assad, whose family has been in power in Syria since 1971, were met with strong resistance. The government used military force to quell the protests and the situation rapidly degenerated into a civil war between the Syrian government and armed opposition groups. The entry of the group calling itself the Islamic State into Syria has brought further violence and persecution to the population. The war has resulted in tremendous suffering for civilians and is creating an overwhelming humanitarian crisis in the entire region.

Within Syria itself the repercussions of the war have been devastating. As of March 2016, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimates that there are 13.5 million people in need of humanitarian assistance and 6.6 million people have been internally displaced. Although exact figures are difficult to know, it is believed that at least 470,000 people have lost their lives in this conflict. Infrastructure has been destroyed, and water, electricity and gas are in short supply. In addition, the country’s economy has ground to a halt, making it difficult for families to earn an income and access basic services and necessities.

This conflict has affected the entire region, and is becoming a global crisis as many Syrians are fleeing battle zones and taking refuge in other countries, especially Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. OCHA reports that there are over 4.8 million registered Syrian refugees, with 2.7 million in Turkey, 1.1 million in Lebanon and 640,000 in Jordan. Along with Iraq and Egypt, these five countries alone are hosting 95% of Syrian refugees.

Due to border closures with these countries, Syrian refugees have begun to follow a popular migrant route across the Mediterranean to attempt to reach Europe. The journey is highly treacherous, and often done in overcrowded boats run by illegal traffickers. This has led to a mass influx of refugees onto European shores that are coming not from only Syria, but also from Afghanistan, Iraq, Eritrea and other countries plagued by poverty, war and persecution.

The needs of refugees are very high, and include food, clothing, medical assistance, psychological support and other necessities.

March 3, 2021

For nearly 10 years, Canadians have contributed with compassion and generosity to help millions of Syrians survive the ravages of war, hunger, poverty and displacement.

June 20, 2020

On World Refugee Day, we look at how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting forcibly displaced communities and how Development and Peace’s partners are serving them.

March 2, 2020

Intensifying hostilities, hunger, homelessness, displacement and political uncertainty threaten to create Syria’s worst humanitarian crisis so far.

Syria burns - Ghouta has become the theatre of horrific violence
March 23, 2018

In the last few weeks, the war in Syria has taken on new and frightening proportions as the besieged area of eastern Ghouta has become the theatre of horrific violence that has trapped 400,000 civilians...

March 15, 2017

On March 15, 2017, a day that sadly marks the sixth anniversary of the outbreak of the war in Syria, we wish to acknowledge the outstanding work...

sixth anniversary of the Syrian conflict approaches
March 3, 2017

Friday, March 3, Montreal, Quebec—As the sixth anniversary of the Syrian conflict approaches, Development and Peace—Caritas Canada is pleased to...

Syrians harsh winter conditions
January 27, 2017

Since the siege in East Aleppo ended last month, the cold weather has taken a severe toll on the estimated 50,000 Syrians remaining in East Aleppo, who sought refuge in temporary shelters or severely damaged buildings, and...

"Meltdown of humanity" in Aleppo must stop - Syria
December 14, 2016

In the last few days, Syrian government forces and its allies, Russia and Iran, have conducted a brutal assault on east Aleppo to reclaim this rebel-held part of the city. The fate of the tens of thousands of civilians who have remained...

providing humanitarian aid to Syrians
December 1, 2016

After five years of providing humanitarian aid to Syrians, whose country is being destroyed by violent conflict, Development and Peace added to its response by launching an advocacy campaign in the spring of 2016

October 27, 2016

On October 31, Development and Peace – Caritas Canada invites Canadians to join Pope Francis in a day of prayer and action for peace in Syria.

How Canada can ensure a lasting peace in Syria
October 6, 2016

In towns and cities across the country, Canadians committed to peace and justice marked the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi by offering hope to the people of Syria through prayers and solidarity.

On October 4th pray for peace in Syria
September 27, 2016

As war rages on in Syria, shattering lives, destroying childhoods and denying people of their dignity, we must continue to give hope to the people of Syria through our love, prayers and solidarity. 

International Day of Peace : Syria
September 21, 2016

Today, on International Day of Peace, we wish to share with you a message from our partner Caritas Syria. Syrians need peace now.

July 4, 2016

Montreal, July 5, 2016- Development and Peace – Caritas Canada is joining with the Caritas Internationalis network, of which it is a member, for the launch of a global campaign called Syria: Peace is Possible...

May 30, 2016

As Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion returned from his first meeting with the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) in Vienna, Austria on May 17, Syrians in besieged areas continue to struggle to survive, and Syrians around the world are attempting to keep hope alive for an end to this tragically long conflict. 

May 10, 2016

Shiar, 31, is one of the over 1 million refugees to have made the treacherous crossing over the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe.

March 15, 2016

The #withsyria movement, which is a coalition of organizations worldwide that includes Development and Peace, wants as many people as possible show their solidarity with the people of Syria today.

March 15, 2016

Is building peace like building a house? The new peace-building organization House of Peace believes that the answer is yes! 

March 10, 2016

On the eve of the fifth anniversary of the start of the war in Syria, Development and Peace is launching a national advocacy campaign that is calling on the Canadian government to take concrete measures in the Syrian peace process and to address the many challenges that civilians face in their own country, as well as those encountered by refugees who have fled into exile in neighboring countries.<.

February 17, 2016

Development and Peace – Caritas Canada has collected $2.2M in eligible donations for the Syrian Emergency Relief Fund.

February 12, 2016

Development and Peace welcomes the announcement made this week by the Government of Canada to increase the amount allocated to humanitarian aid and long-term development to help Syrians who have been suffering from the tragic consequences of war for almost five years now.

January 7, 2016

Development and Peace welcomes the announcement by the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, to extend the period to match donations for emergency relief for Syrians until February 29th, 2016.

December 28, 2015

For Syrians living in besieged neighbourhoods daily life is a struggle. Apart from the destruction of infrastructure, high unemployment, complete lack of services, there are the bombs that fall daily.

December 21, 2015

"Above all, I think of all the children who are robbed of their hope for a better life and a decent future. Killed children, wounded children, mutilated children, orphans, children who play with remnants of war, instead of toys. Children who don't know how to smile. Please stop! I ask you with all my heart. It's time to stop. Stop it please!”

December 3, 2015

Across the country, Canadians are opening their doors and their hearts to welcome 25,000 Syrians who have fled the atrocities of war in their country. However, this big number represents just a small amount of the people affected by this war. 


November 25, 2015

Here is an interview with Father Nawras Sammour, SJ, director of the Syria office of Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), which is one of our privileged partners in the region. The organization does an outstanding job helping Syrian refugees in Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and displaced persons in Syria.

September 17, 2015

The Catholic Church in Canada is mobilizing to respond to the growing refugee crisis that is currently affecting Europe and the Middle East.

September 4, 2015

The current refugee crisis that is taking place in Europe requires a global response and Development and Peace is working with its Caritas partners in Europe to help bring relief to thousands of people who are trapped in limbo as they try to escape war, poverty and repression in their countries of origin.

June 11, 2015

Development and Peace is increasing its aid to those affected by the crisis in Syria, both within the country and in countries that have taken in refugees.

April 14, 2015

As the conflict in Syria enters into its fifth year and violence within the country continues to worsen, Development and Peace has joined the #withSyria movement, an international coalition of over 130 organizations calling for an end to violence that

March 25, 2015

Syria has just entered into its fifth year of war, and there is no end in sight for the Syrian population living through this violence and insecurity.

March 11, 2015

With no end in sight to the current conflict in Syria, Development and Peace is calling on the Canadian government to take action to ensure the safety and needs of civilians, and to make greater efforts for an inclusive peace process.

July 24, 2014

As Syrians continue to escape the civil war in their country, Development and Peace is increasing its support to those affected by this ongoing conflict. 

Yahia Khaled is a Syrian refugee in Jordan.
June 20, 2014

The conflict in Syria has been ongoing for over three years now, and it has forced 2.8 million to flee the country. It is a shocking number that makes us take a moment to reflect on the sheer number of people who have abandoned their homes to escape the violence.

April 4, 2014

Each year, Pax Christi International, a global Catholic peace movement and network that works to help establish peace, respect for human rights, justice and reconciliation in areas of the world that are torn by conflict, gives out the Pax Christi International Peace Award to honour an individual or organization taking a stand for peace in the world today.

March 14, 2014

March 15th marks three years since Syria entered into a civil war that has had devastating impacts on the Syrian population and enormous repercussions on the entire region of the Middle East. This crisis shows few signs of abating, and the humanitarian needs continue to rise with each passing day that this crisis endures.

Staff of the Caritas centre in Aleppo miraculously just missed the attack.
January 24, 2014

The need for peace in Syria hit very close to home on Wednesday, when a Caritas Syria centre in Aleppo received a direct hit from a rocket at 4 p.m. Miraculously, the centre was empty and no one was injured in the attack. The centre’s office, however, sustained significant damage.

January 16, 2014

Since its founding in 1967, Development and Peace has been working in the Middle East, responding to recurring humanitarian crises in the region.

Gharam, 11, and her brother, Nafeh, 10, are among more than two million Syrians who fled their homeland for neighbouring countries.
December 3, 2013

Relief workers seek out and help children, the most vulnerable of two million Syrian refugees

When they fled the civil war in Syria, Gharam and her brother Nafeh had only the clothes on their backs and the lingering pain of seeing their mother and three siblings killed, their home destroyed.

December 2, 2013

Laith Eskander is drinking his coffee. I am too. We need it! It must be only 10 C in the schoolyard of the Rome Catholic School in Amman, Jordan, where we are standing. Yet, the cold hasn’t stopped over 200 young adults from trickling into the yard to wait for their night classes to start.

November 25, 2013

When I arrived at the Caritas Centre in Irbid, Jordan, there was a queue of about a hundred people waiting to register. Most are Syrians who have fled the civil war in their country, but there are also Palestinians forced to evacuate their refugee camp in Syria’s capital Damascus due to bombings. Why are so many waiting in line?

October 17, 2013

Development and Peace with support from the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada will be providing $5.4 million in humanitarian aid to victims of the crisis in Syria.

September 26, 2013

Caritas Lebanon, with support from Development and Peace and the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD), is providing much-needed medical services to Syrian refugees in Lebanon.

September 13, 2013

The conflict in Syria has intensified over the last few months. With increased violence, people are continuing to flee the country. However, there are those who can’t leave and as such, they must cope with ever-worsening and arduous conditions. There are now 4.5 million people within the country who are displaced, which is the equivalent of about 20% of the population.

September 6, 2013

Development and Peace and Canadian Jesuits International invite all Canadians to join with Catholics the world over to pray and fast for peace in Syria on September 7th.

August 13, 2013

With the civil war in Syria showing no signs of abating, those who fled their homes and became refugees in neighbouring countries, continue to wonder if they will ever be able to return to their homeland, while others continue to make the heart wrenching decision to leave to escape the violence at their doorsteps.

June 26, 2013

Over 200,000 Syrians are fleeing their country each and every month to seek refuge in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt.

June 21, 2013

The extremely violent conflict rocking Syria for the last two years has led to the death of nearly 93,000 people, has caused over 4 million individuals to become internally displaced, and has forced more than 1.6 million others to flee to neighbouring countries.

March 28, 2013

Caritas Internationalis in collaboration with Caritas Syria held a high level meeting of Caritas organisations in the Vatican on 21-22 March to discuss and make further plans to help and provide assistance to all people suffering from the Syria crisis.

January 23, 2013

The ongoing civil war in Syria has created an acute humanitarian crisis for the population. Many civilians have fled to neighbouring countries to escape the violence and are now living in refugee camps or trying to get by with little or no resources at their disposal.

Syrian refugees
October 18, 2012

In response to the ongoing crisis in Syria, the Caritas Internationalis network has mobilized to bring aid to the most affected in the region. Development and Peace is contributing $50,000 to Caritas Liban for a humanitarian aid program to help Syrian refugees in Lebanon.


Crisis in Syria: Giving Hope through Solidarity

A Recipe for Solidarity in Syria

Health assistance to Syrian Refugees

A wish for peace: Syrian refugees in Lebanon

Development and Peace is supporting Caritas Lebanon in their work providing food, fuel, counselling, blankets, clothes, and shelter for the most vulnerable refugees from all religious backgrounds.

Syrian refugees in Lebanon: a harsh reality...

Escape From Syria, Safe Haven In Jordan

More than a million Syrian refugees have fled the conflict in their country. Half of them have gone to Jordan, where they mostly live side by side with Jordanians in towns and cities. They arrive with nothing, often suffering from trauma and health problems. Caritas members around the world are supporting Caritas Jordan to provide them with humanitarian aid like blankets, heaters, fuel, food and hygiene kits, as well as medical care, housing support, informal education and counselling for trauma. So far Caritas Jordan has registered 75,000 individuals for its assistance.