Caritas Jordan is providing aid to Syrian refugees fleeing conflict. Photo by Caritas Jordan

Refugees continue to flee conflict in Syria to Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. Meanwhile, the Vatican has announced that Pope Benedict’s Holy Thursday Mass collection in St. John’s basilica will go  to Caritas Syria for humanitarian assistance to Syrian’s forced from their homes because of the conflict.

In the latest update from Caritas Jordan, staff say the number of registered Syrians with them has reached 900 families in Mafraq and Ramtha, comprising 4500-5000 individuals. About 20 individuals are registering daily with Caritas; some are legally staying in Jordan while others managed to jump over the fence and got into the Jordanian territories that way.

After carrying out a distribution of household items in Ramtha and Mafraq two weeks ago, Caritas managed in the past three days to distribute blankets, heaters, bed linens, quilts, towels, plastic mats, sanitary pads, mattresses and jerry cans to 200 Syrian families in Mafraq. This batch targeted newly registered families with UNHCR in addition to single males and females.

Caritas is expecting to receive more relief quantities as its partner Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) pledged to transport two shipping containers laden of food and non-food items. The distribution is taking place inside the Catholic Church vicinity as the priest has allocated one of the halls to place these items and receive the beneficiaries. The UN refugee agency UNHCR is presented there on a weekly basis to fulfill the needs of registration of families who are to receive these items.

Caritas is working throughout the region with Syrian refugees.

Pope Benedict’s Holy Thursday Mass collection to will go to Syrian forced from their homes by the conflict and support the work of caritas Syria.

Maronite Archbishop Samir Nassar of Damascus told the Missionary news agency  Fides that, “It is a gesture of closeness and solidarity that has a strong meaning for us in this Lenten time and of great suffering: it makes the universal Church feel closer to its faithful in difficult. We keep in mind and we hope that the messages sent by Benedict XVI for a ceasefire, peace, dialogue, freedom in Syria are fulfilled.”

Fr. Simon Faddoul, President of Caritas Lebanon, told Fides: “Over the past two days we have welcomed other 100 families, and the flow of refugees does not stop. The situation is worsening dramatically and we are already in full emergency. Our volunteers do their utmost to be close to people, who arrive exhausted and psychologically tried”.

The Holy Father’s help “is a wonderful initiative, which encourages us a lot”, says the President of Caritas Lebanon. “We thank the Holy Father and his collaborators for their tenderheartedness. The Pope is close to all those suffering in the world and is close to the drama of the Syrian people. We hope and pray that the suffering of the Syrian people soon comes to an end”.