Canada’s response to the situation in Syria

Since the start of the Syrian uprising in March 2011, Canada has worked to support the Syrian people. Canada has been active in calling on the international community to come together and defend the rights of the Syrian people to determine its own future.

Canada has also contributed generously to the various international efforts to aid the Syrian people, including those living as refugees in neighbouring countries, support Syrian civil society and counter the threat posed by chemical weapons.

To date, Canada has committed more than $700 million in humanitarian, development and security assistance in response to the Syrian crisis. This support includes the following.

Humanitarian assistance

Since early 2011, the unrest in Syria has led more than 3.8 million Syrians to seek refuge in the nearby countries of Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, resulting in significant humanitarian needs. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), 12.2 million people inside Syria, including 7.6 million who are internally displaced, also need urgent help. It is estimated that more than 200,000 people have died in the ongoing conflict, with hundreds of thousands wounded.

Since January 2012, Canada has committed $403.5 million to international humanitarian assistance in response to the Syrian crisis. This amount includes the $50 million announced by Minister Paradis on January 7, 2015, for conflict-affected people in Syria and neighbouring countries, including Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, and the $150 million announced by Prime Minister Stephen Harper on January 24, 2014, as well as prior commitments. This assistance is delivered through experienced humanitarian partners in response to urgent needs, and it is contributing to significant results on the ground.

Canada has also expanded its commitment to help Syrian refugees by resettling an additional 10,000 Syrians by the end of 2017, bringing to 11,300 the total number of Syrian refugees Canada has committed to resettling. Canada will work with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and private sponsors to resettle these Syrian refugees in Canadian communities. Visit Refugees and asylum for more information about Canada’s refugee protection programs.

Development projects

Canada has already committed $230.7 million to support development projects in the region to strengthen government services and infrastructure stressed by the influx of Syrian refugees, specifically in health, education and the delivery of basic services, and to address Jordan’s specific development challenges.

Security and Stability Initiatives

Canada has committed $67.2 million in security-related assistance to address the effects of the Syrian crisis, including $52.51 million for Jordan. These funds will help mitigate the threat of chemical weapons and other weapons and materials of mass destruction, assist Jordanian security forces in managing the non-humanitarian aspects of the influx of Syrian refugees and contribute to Jordan’s counterterrorism capacity. This support also includes $3.8 million in stabilization assistance to Syrian activists and civil society members in areas such as civil administration, accountability, independent media and secure communications.

Travel advice for Canadians in Syria

The Government of Canada advises against all travel to Syria, because of the ongoing conflict. Commercial means to leave Syria are extremely limited, and Canadians already there should leave as soon as it is safe to do so. It is strongly recommended that Canadians register with the Registration of Canadians Abroad service, and it is important that travel documents are kept up to date.

Many airlines, including Arab League carriers, have suspended their flights from Syria. Battles between Syrian and opposition armed forces have taken place in the vicinity of the airports in Damascus and Aleppo. These airports could be closed quickly, with little or no notice, and checkpoints may delay or impede access to the airport. It is advised to check with the airline on the status of a flight before travelling to the airport.

Canadians leaving Syria by land to Lebanon should transit through the border area as quickly as possible. Consult Travel Advice for Lebanon for up-to-date information.

Canadians who choose to remain in Syria despite this warning should limit their movements and keep abreast of the latest developments. Outbreaks of violence can occur with little or no notice.

Contact Information

(collect) 613-996-8885

Assistance for Canadians in Syria

Embassy of Canada to Syria (Operations suspended - Canadians in Syria can obtain consular assistance from our Embassy in Lebanon)

Register here if you are a Canadian in Syria

Travel Report for Syria


News releases by email

Travel updates by email

Follow us on @DFATDCanada

Media Centre