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Syrian Refugee Crisis



The war in Syria has killed as many as 250,000 Syrians, and has uprooted more than 11 million people. Children, who make up more than half of Syrian refugees in the Middle East, are paying the heaviest price: many have witnessed violence and the loss of homes or loved ones; the vast majority have been out of school for years. Syria’s neighbors, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Egypt, have responded to the call to welcome the stranger. With an influx of some 4.1 million refugees, their economies, social services and basic infrastructure are strained to the breaking point. But unless and until families can feed their children and provide opportunities, they will continue to look for other opportunities.

European Refugee Crisis

Driven by violence and seeking safety and a fresh start, Syrians made up half of the more than one million refugees and economic migrants who arrived on European shores in 2015. However, following border closures throughout the Balkans in March 2016, tens of thousands of refugees and economic migrants have become stranded in Greece. Thousands more are stuck in Macedonia, Serbia and Croatia. With their options in flux and conditions increasingly perilous, these families need food, basic supplies, shelter and clear information about legal options for seeking asylum and international protection. 

Since the beginning of the conflict, CRS has come to the aid of approximately 1 million war-affected Syrians across the Middle East and Europe. 

CRS Response in the Middle East

Since 2011, CRS has worked with our Catholic Church partners across the Middle East, including in Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt.

  • Food
  • Living supplies and hygiene kits
  • Shelter and rent assistance
  • Medical support
  • Livelihoods support
  • Formal and informal educational support and counseling for children

CRS Response in Europe

Since the summer of 2015, CRS has been scaling up our response to the refugee crisis unfolding in Europe by working with Church and other local partners across the refugees’ routes, including in Greece, Macedonia, Croatia and Serbia.

  • Food and emergency living supplies
  • Medical assistance
  • Temporary shelter
  • Information, translation services, and legal services 

Media Contacts

Nikki Gamer

Kim Pozniak

CRS Resources


Refugee Crisis: The Beauty of Serving

CRS Assists One Million Syrians Affected by the Civil War

CRS Responds to Thousands of Refugees Arriving in Greece

Helping Syrian Refugees: By the Numbers

CRS Applauds New Syrian Peace Agreement

CRS Responding to Growing Number of Syrian Refugees in Southern Turkey

Understanding Syrian Refugees One Story at a Time

CRS Applauds Administration for Continued Support of Syrian Refugees

An appeal to end the suffering in Syria

Syrian Refugees Find Room at The Inn

5 Reasons Not to Punish Syrian Refugees For Paris Attacks

Faces of Families Caught in the Refugee Crisis

Syrian Refugees: Meet the People Everyone’s Talking About

Syrian Refugee Crisis: 7 Things You Can Do to Help

In Jordan, Keeping Syrian Refugee Children in Class

Refugee Crisis: Weary Travelers Reach Serbia




Photos for Download

Download photos for use in articles about Syrian refugees. The password is "photos".



CRS in the News

Could Pope Francis' Visit to Greece be a Game-Changer for Refugees?, from EWTN

Georgians Travel to The Front Lines of Syrian Refugee Crisis, from The Atlanta-Journal Constitution 

In San Diego, Syrian Refugee Family Finds Safe Haven, from The San Diego Union-Tribune

Update on the Syrian Refugee Crisis, from The Marc Steiner Show

Baltimore Agencies Bring Aid To Religious Minorities in Middle East, As Genocide Is Declared, from The Baltimore Sun

Syrian Refugees and Hunger: An Interview with Caroline Brennan of CRS, from the

Five Years of War in Syria, from WYPR

Crisis Compounded: Migrants Stranded in Greece as EU Nations Say 'No', from Catholic News Service

After Five Years of Comforting the Afflicted in Syria, A Glimmer of Hope, from National Catholic Register

The 'Moral Imperative' to Help Refugees, from Our Sunday Visitor

CRS Official Returns with Firsthand Report on Refugee Crisis, from American magazine

'Paradise hotel' where refugees stay for free, from CNN 

With Focus on EU, Lebanon Strains Under Refugee Burden, from America magazine

After Paris Attack: CRS Tells MSNBC Why We Need to Provide More Assistance to Refugees, from MSNBC

How the U.S. Can Respond to the European Refugee Crisis: Interview with CRS' Sean Callahan, from PBS's Religion and Ethics NewsWeekly

Steinberg: Muslim Refugees Arrives in America with 'Big Hope', from the Chicago Sun-Times 

The Long Journey of Syrian Refugees, from the Huffington Post

Catholic Relief Official Calls for Stronger Response to Refugee Crisis, from the Baltimore Sun