The conflict in neighboring Syria is now in its fourth year causing a massive humanitarian crisis. More than 200,000 people are dead and 1 million injured. More than 3 million people have become refugees, fleeing for their lives, leaving everything behind, and seeking safety in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt and Iraq.
More than 7 million people are displaced from their homes inside Syria seeking safety where they can. Nearly half of all who have been affected by the war are children. And since 2014, the crisis has only grown as ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) has emerged as a new and brutal threat that is sweeping across Syria and Iraq.
Jordan’s capital of Amman has become a refuge for many of those searching for safety. Mosul and its surrounding communities were home to an estimated 60,000 Christians prior to ISIS giving them an ultimatum to leave or be killed for their faith.
Pictured here is a family of Iraqi Christians who fled their home village outside Mosul last year. Since October, they have been living in a cubicle in St. Joseph’s parish hall in Amman, along with 16 other families.
“We were targeted as Christians – nothing is left.”
The food assistance they receive from the UN, an allowance of $34 per person per month, has just been slashed to $19 because of funding shortfalls. They are being assisted by Caritas Jordan.
It is estimated that more than 520,000 “urban refugees” from Syria and Iraq who have fled their homelands because of war and persecution and are now living in Jordan. But hosting these many refugees is causing huge strains in Jordan.
Since late in 2014, most of the refugees now fleeing ISIS who cross in to Jordan seeking safety are forcibly returned to Syria. There is fear among the refugees and among the Jordanian people, while the international community is growing tired of this refugee crisis.
One official described this as the most dangerous period in the history of the Middle East in terms of war, deaths, displacement of people, and the saturation of weapons. Solutions are not clear and won’t be easy. As is often the case, most refugees hope to go home one day – but that day is not likely to come soon.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9 (NIV)
The work of LIRS, our partners and supporters has never been more important. We must continue to advocate to protect Syrian refugees, we can’t grow weary, and we must open our hearts and be prepared to welcome some of these refugees into our communities.