Pope Francis met with Church workers on the crisis in Syria and Iraq 29 September in the Vatican. There were representatives of 40 Catholic aid agencies and Churches engaged there in humanitarian operations, including Caritas organisations.
Nowhere is the level of destruction in Syria more evident than in the city of Homs. One of the first theatres of war between government and rebel forces, the sprawling, ancient metropolis has been turned into a post-apocalyptic landscape.
On the 22 February 2015, the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) attacked villages along the Khabour river in northern Syria. They kidnapped around 230 Assyrian Christians, including the family of a Caritas Syria staff member. They have just been released along with all the other hostages.
Caritas interviewed 288 Syrian refugee families in Beirut, Tripoli, and Saida. It found that refugee households paid an average $291 in rent and were forced to spend an average three-quarters (76%) of their total income on rental.
More than half of the Syrian refugees (56%) in Lebanon are under 18. While only one in ten was injured in the conflict before arriving in Lebanon, many of the child refugees show symptoms of trauma, including flashbacks and nightmares.