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Examining the role of women from a humanitarian perspective in response to the conflict in Syria
(Aleppo, Syria) October 15, 2014 — During the anti-apartheid years in South Africa, the phrase "strike a woman and you strike a rock" was popularized by the growing involvement of women in the struggle. In Syria, the role of women has taken on a less aggressive, but no less significant role.
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Syria: between fear of violence and the struggle to survive
(Beirut) October 8, 2014 — The humanitarian crisis in two of the three principle cities in Syria has deteriorated dramatically in the last two months, according to Jesuit Refugee Service teams on the ground. "The situation in Damascus is very unpredictable at the moment, especially in the areas where we have our centers. We do our best to assist those in need, but it is a very precarious situation," said Nawras Sammour S.J., Regional Director of JRS Middle East and North Africa.
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Jordan: living in the shadow of Syria's crisis
(Amman) September 25, 2014 — While Syrian refugees are entitled to food vouchers provided by the World Food Programme, refugees of other nationalities in Jordan struggle to rattle together enough money to meet their daily nutritional needs, adding stress to communities whose living conditions are already dire.
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Lebanon: space for refugees from Syria to learn
(Beirut) June 29, 2014 — More than one million refugees from Syria are now living in Lebanon, swelling the population of the small country. How can a country educate every child when its population has expanded by 25% in less than four years? 
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Jesuit Refugee Service stands with Syria
(Washington, D.C.) March 13, 2014 — March 15 marks the third anniversary of the Syria crisis. Jesuit Refugee Service/USA is joining #WithSyria to shed light on the desperate situation and urge immediate and unfettered access for humanitarian aid to protect the millions of innocent children and families now under siege. (video update)
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In Syria conflict, persecution affects Muslims and Christians
(Damascus) March 9, 2014 – Radicalized violence, displacement and poverty affect Syrians of all creeds. In what has always been a complex society, with many layers of social, religious and economic diversity, perpetrators of violence have been able to manipulate this heterogeneity to sow divisions among the population.
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Jesuit priest: people of Homs hunger for normality
(Rome) February 10, 2014 — The United Nations this weekend evacuated hundreds of civilians wishing to leave the besieged area of Homs, Syria, and began delivery, with the Syrian Red Crescent, of humanitarian food and medical aid. Dutch Jesuit priest Fr Frans van der Lugt, the Superior of a monastery in Homs, has said he will remain in solidarity with whoever chooses to stay in the city.
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Displaced by conflict in Syria, refugee helps others
(Rome) January 11, 2014 — "We live because we love. The Lord says do not be afraid and this phrase goes to each one of us as survivors of wars throughout the Middle East," says Nader. "I realize that each one of us has a duty and that because I received assistance and peace ... I now want to continue giving back."
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Dialogue is the Solution in Syria, not War
(London and Washington, D.C.) December 15, 2013 — Jesuit Refugee Service in Syria is focusing mainly on two fronts: emergency relief to those in greatest need and educational activities. Both of these efforts enhance reconciliation and co-existence amongst people of different socio-economic and faith backgrounds.
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Syria: Refugees from Iraq on the sidelines of yet another conflict
(Damascus) December 22, 2013 — After being forced to flee Iraq, Tarik thought he had found safety for himself and his family in Syria. Two short years later conflict broke out. Despite the insecurity in Syria, Tarik feels it's too dangerous to return to Iraq, where more than 5,000 people have died this year from sectarian violence.
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Syria: turning pain into their most powerful weapon
(Rome) October 2, 2013 — The outbreak of the conflict in Syria, which began more than two years ago, has affected around eight million people with food prices tripling, constant power cuts and worsening water sanitation as well as the destruction of hundreds of hospitals, schools and homes. It is only through this destruction, however, that one sees the true character of men and women.
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Acting on Pope Francis' call for inter-religious cooperation in the Middle East
(Beirut) May 24, 2013 — Jesuit Refugee Service welcomed the call by Pope Francis for enhanced dialogue and cooperation between the diverse ethnic and religious communities which constitute Lebanese society. The statement, issued after a meeting between the Pope and the President of Lebanon, echoes the focus of JRS efforts in the Middle East.
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Families flee Syria to protect their children
(Beirut) July 15, 2013 – The small town of Naameh, Lebanon, notorious for religious tensions and outbreaks of violence, seems an unlikely place for refugees to settle. Yet it has recently become home to 50 Syrian families (about 300 individuals) who are taking shelter in a derelict school.
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Syria: violence in Damascus fuels hopelessness, fear
(Damascus) September 7, 2013 — As Pope Francis leads a vigil for peace Saturday evening in St. Peter’s Square in Rome, the people of Damascus face another day of fear, violence and uncertainty in the face of a conflict that seems to grow in ferocity with each passing moment.
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Recent stories
Syria: bringing families together
(Beirut) May 5, 2013 — The opportunity for a moment of peace and quiet has all but vanished in Damascus. As violence in the 4,000 year-old city escalates, accompanied by acute shortages of daily commodities, it becomes harder to enjoy the simple things in life, much less a family meal. Conscious of this, the Jesuit Refugee Service Damascus team organizes 'family mornings' twice a month.
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Lebanon: families from Syria seek safety, shelter
(Beirut) May 12, 2013 — The small town of Naameh lies less than 13 miles south of Beirut along the coastal road. Notorious for religious tensions and prone to violence between different sects, it seems an unlikely place to settle, yet it is now home to 50 Syrian families —about 300 individuals — who are taking shelter in a derelict school.
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Syria: thousands more displaced by violence in Aleppo
(Beirut) April 12, 2013 – Thousands of people living in the predominantly Kurdish neighborhood of Sheikh Maqsoud in Aleppo were displaced last week following a surge in violence in the northern city. A Jesuit Refugee Service Aleppo outreach team member said many Kurdish residents have gone to their home villages outside of the city, and Christians have fled into other Christian areas in Aleppo.
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Witnessing the hope and resilience of Syrians
(Beirut) February 14, 2013 – Despite the worsening situation in Syria and the exodus of thousands of people daily to neighboring countries, there are still many Syrians who remain behind to assist with the humanitarian effort. Jesuit Refugee Service relies on local networks of volunteers who give much of their time, energy and skills to assist with our efforts within Syria’s borders.
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Syria: shelter and food difficult to find
(Beirut) February 12, 2013 - "It's almost as bad as Aleppo. I fear the humanitarian situation will be worse," said Jesuit Refugee Service Middle East and North Africa Director Fr. Nawras Sammour S.J. of current conditions in the Syrian capital of Damascus. Thousands of people are being continuously displaced and in search of shelter because of intense fighting and destruction.
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Syria: food & fuel shortages add to daily woes
(Beirut) January 9, 2013 - Jesuit Refugee Service staff and volunteers based in Aleppo have expressed concerns for displaced populations trying to gain access to emergency relief assistance under such circumstances. "The most urgent needs for families are bread, winter clothes, shoes and blankets. Heating is a big problem but with no gas, fuel or electricity – what's the solution?"
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JRS Jordan director visits U.S. universities, parishes
(Amman) February 11, 2013 – [Schedule updated March 8] Living and working here as Country Director for Jesuit Refugee Service Jordan, Colin Gilbert’s environs are a far cry from his hometown of Phoenix, Ariz. Mr. Gilbert returns to the U.S. from March 10 to April 10 to share his experiences, particularly in light of the Syrian crisis, at an array of Jesuit universities, high schools and parishes.
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Syria: daily life a struggle to survive
(Washington, D.C.) January 29, 2013 — Jesuit Refugee Service in Syria continues to help thousands of families displaced by the fighting; their work continues despite the added stress of the fact that the JRS staff and their network of volunteers are nearly all victims of displacement themselves. Throughout the country, conditions are deteriorating, and a brutal winter adds to the misery.
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Syria: urgent need for winter supplies
(Beirut) December 17, 2012 — In the wake of recent escalated violence in Damascus, with bombings and fierce gunfights breaking out in areas of the capital city, it has become increasingly difficult for Jesuit Refugee Service in Syria to ensure the procurement and safe delivery of emergency supplies for displaced people.
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Syria: maintaining normalcy in Aleppo
(Beirut) December 13, 2012 – While reporting the news from Aleppo, Syria, media have continued to repeat a war narrative of death and destruction, while bombarding the viewer with graphic images of the injured and dead. But there is another reality of the situation which also deserves attention, one that people in Aleppo — and all across Syria — face daily: that of their survival.
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Jordan: eat dust here or die in Syria
(Amman) November 5, 2012 — It was the middle of winter, nine months ago, when Ahmed and his extended family — wife, daughter, parents, uncle and aunt — first arrived in Jordan. Life is hard here. But it was impossible at home. Before fleeing Homs, Syria, Ahmed was arrested and detained for nearly 50 days in appalling conditions. As a result of his time in prison, Ahmed has spine-related problems that make any form of labour difficult.
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Syria: enduring spirit remains despite the rubble
(Amman) October 18, 2012 — Stray bullets frequently land on the floor of the recently relocated Jesuit Refugee Service kitchen in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo. Despite increased security concerns JRS teams have been able to expand its small, but concrete, assistance to those caught in the crisis.
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Jordan: accompaniment comes first for refugees
(Amman) October 31, 2012 – Few of the students at the Ashrafiyeh school here share a common language, or religious and cultural traditions. Most have been forced to flee conflict and survive on the margins of society. They need to be supported and kept engaged. This is the approach taken by teachers in the Jesuit Refugee Service school in Jordan.
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Syria: amidst upheaval, JRS expands services
(Amman) October 12, 2012 — Like many other people and places throughout Syria, Jesuit Refugee Service staff and buildings have not been spared from the violence of the conflict. Movement is constrained, goods deliveries are delayed and buildings are destroyed and evacuated. Despite these setbacks, JRS and local networks of solidarity have continued to provide emergency support.
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Syria: JRS refugee center destroyed, our work continues
(Rome) October 9, 2012 — The Jesuit Refugee Service headquarters in Aleppo was recently destroyed in the fighting there. JRS had left the space several weeks prior to this in the face on increasing violence in the neighborhood. The Deir Vartan center, once home to classes, counseling and social service for refugees from Iraq and elsewhere, is now in ruins.
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Middle East: updates from JRS
(Washington, D.C.) Oct 8, 2012 — Over the past several months, Jesuit Refugee Service has updated you on our work with vulnerable Syrians suffering in this seemingly never-ending conflict. On this page is a list of those stories with links to read further to learn about what JRS is doing in the region.
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