Syria crisis: 8 years on, the suffering must end

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Syria is the largest humanitarian crisis in decades.
(March 12, 2019)
Syrians fleeing conflict often leave everything behind, so they need all the basics to sustain their lives: food, clothing, healthcare, shelter, and household and hygiene items. Photo: World Vision

World leaders meet to discuss support for the future of Syria and the region and the largest refugee crisis of our time

MISSISSAUGA, ON -World Vision is urging the Canadian government and other world leaders attending the Brussels Conference on Syria this week to ensure that the safety and well-being of children remains a top priority of their response to the Syria crisis.

The European Union and the United Nations are co-chairing the third conference on 'Supporting the future of Syria and the region', which is taking place in Brussels March 12-14. The conference comes just ahead of the 8th anniversary of the war on March 15.

"Syrian children – both those still in the country and those who have fled – believe the world has forgotten them. Grave violations against children continue to occur every single day. It's a horrifying reality that has gone on for far too long," said Marc-Andre Hensel, World Vision's Syria Response Director.

Documented grave violations against Syrian children include recruitment into conflict, killing and maiming, abduction and sexual violence. Thousands have been killed through the indiscriminate use of force. Hospitals and schools have been attacked and children, their families and communities have been denied access to the help they need.

The Syrian refugee crisis is recognized internationally as the largest refugee crisis of our time and the need to address the root causes of the conflict is critical.

"Eight years after the crisis began, the needs are still massive. Millions of children are living in the midst of relentless war; many of them don't know what it's like to live without the threat of violence," said Michael Messenger, President and CEO, World Vision Canada. "Canada has been a strong supporter of the humanitarian response to the Syrian crisis since its onset. World Vision commends the Government of Canada and Canadians for their support and encourages continued help for families who have suffered under this brutal conflict especially considering the burden that governments and host communities in the region are shouldering."

Israa Al Hassan (26), is part of the EU-funded Youth Resolve program led by World Vision with other NGOs. Youth Resolve supports young people affected by the Syria Crisis across the region. Israa fled with her family when their home in Syriawas attacked, soon after the war started. She's since earned a degree and now helps refugees integrate into their new community.

Israa will come to Brussels, along with four other young people affected by the crisis, to meet with political leaders and share her experiences and hopes for the future.

World Vision is calling on world leaders to hold all parties to the conflict in Syria accountable for violations of children's rights, and to protect children both in Syria and in host countries. Children did not start this war, and they must be protected at all costs.

How Canadians can help:

  • Canadians can donate to World Vision's emergency response for Syria by visiting or 1-866-595-5550

Quick Facts:

  • Now entering its ninth year, the conflict in Syria is the largest humanitarian crisis in decades. Over 6 million Syrians are displaced within Syria and over 5.6 million have been forced to seek refuge outside of Syria
  • In Syria alone, 12 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, 5 million of whom are children
  • World Vision's response to the crisis in Syria includes programming in Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, and Syria. In 2018, World Vision provided assistance to 1,229,790 people (including 695,883 children)
  • Youth Resolve is an EU-funded program run by 5 Non-Governmental organizations, World Vision, CAFOD, Questscope, Generations for Peace and Islamic Relief, to support young people in Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq. More information Here

Additional Resources:

  • More information on the Syrian Crisis: Here
  • Latest World Vision Report: Fears and Dreams: Here
  • Photos: Here