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Since the Syrian civil war broke out in 2011, 11 million Syrians have been displaced, or about half of the entire country. Four million of them have fled across Syria’s borders, and 75% are women and children.

Canada banned Italian immigration in 1929, Jewish immigration in 1933. Neither group was admitted again for the next 15 years. The painful memory of that failure prompted us to accept Hungarian refugees in the 1950s and 50,000 Vietnamese refugees in 1979.

It is possible to resettle large numbers of people in this country.

Refugee Children

So far Canada has managed to admit around 25,000 people from Syria and will accept many more. The government will sponsor 40 for every 60 privately sponsored.

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As we celebrated Family Day in Canada, there was a stark reminder the situation for many families in Syria is deteriorating.

UOSSM (Union des organisations de secours et soins médicaux) reports: "On the morning of February 19, a fierce bombardment began in civilian areas of eastern Ghouta, with at least 72 airstrikes. 97 civilians have been killed and over 500 wounded in 24 hours and the number is set to climb, as many may still be buried under the rubble. Five hospitals were bombed and put out of service and all area hospitals are out of service due to the attacks.

"The Al Marj hospital was attacked by three barrel bombs, completely destroying the hospital and putting it out of service. One anesthesia technician was killed, one patient was killed, and several others were wounded. The Saqba Hospital, Saqba Maternity Hospital and Al Hayat Hospitals were also attacked and put out of service. Another area hospital in Douma and an ambulance were also attacked.

"'This could be one of the worst attacks in Syrian history, even worse than the siege on Aleppo ... there is virtually no medical care available for these people as they suffer severe trauma wounds. To systematically target and kill civilians amounts to a war crime and the international community must act to stop it,' said Zedoun Al Zoebi, CEO of UOSSM International."

UOSSM has set up an Emergency Appeal for medical aid in eastern Ghouta at, as well as global advocacy campaigns on social media: #BreakGhoutaSeige & #SaveEastGhouta.

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Congratulations to Ramez Aljasem. He will be pursuing his dream of becoming a police officer at Loyalist this fall. A big accomplishment to finish highschool in just 2.5 years! So proud of you Ramez. ...

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Do you live in Picton area and have some time to be a volunteer driver? We have a family that arrived this past fall and they don’t have drivers licenses yet. Drivers would be most appreciated. Even if you have just two -4 hours a week, your time will help this young family get established. And it’s fun! Louise Munday is our co-ordinator. Her number is ‭(613) 476-1649‬. Please call her if you have a car and can volunteer the time. Thank you! ...

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Syrian FamiliesThe Al Jasem family enjoying the ‘spring’ County weather. The father of the family, Abdel Malek who is pictured here with other family members, sends this brief message on behalf of all their families:

“We would like to thank all of the people who have helped our family. We are happy to be here and look forward to getting to know the community. The children are very excited to go to school.”