Since the Turkish military operation commenced in the afternoon of 9 October 2019, there have been continuing reports of intense shelling and airstrikes along the north-east Syrian border. Tens of thousands of civilians have fled from the fighting.
The full humanitarian impact of the current military operation remains difficult to ascertain given the volatile situation.
150,000- 160,000 people are on the move, and additional reports of mass migration keep coming in. The Caritas network is assessing needs on the ground and preparing a response: 33 Caritas offices, in cities like Raqqa, Al-Hasakah and Tal Tamer will receive essential emergency supplies.
Caritas Syria’s Al-Hasakah Office has already received 500 displaced families from the affected areas and provided them with drinking water bottles.
A timeline of the Syrian Civil War and the work of Caritas Australia
- March 2011: Syrian conflict escalates.
- August 2012: Caritas Australia supports the Emergency Appeal in Lebanon, providing immediate humanitarian assistance like food, medical supplies and shelter.
- May 2013: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade issues program support for humanitarian assistance.
- May 2015: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade program for Protection Activities in Lebanon: helping to train security forces, offer legal assistance, and provide ongoing humanitarian assistance and awareness raising.
- June 2015 - present: Caritas commences work with the Oak and Cedar shelters in Lebanon, supporting mothers and children displaced by the Syrian conflict. Support offered includes residential needs, psycho-social support, education for children, medical assistance and post shelter support.
- April 2016 - present: Caritas continues work at the Caritas Education Program in Jordan, offering free school and counselling programs to thousands of young Syrian refugees.
The needs are high. Through the support of generous donors, the wider Caritas network has been able to provide: drinking water, emergency food baskets, blankets and mattress, medical aid, cooking tools and clothes.