Barnabas Fund - International Headquarters River Street, Pewsey, Wilthire. Phone: +44 1672 565030 Latitude: 51 deg 23 min 18 sec N Longitude: 1 deg 45 min 48 sec W .
Syrian Christians in desperate straits: ...

Email:

Syrian Christians in desperate straits: will the churches survive?

To

Email address:
Separate multiple addresses with a comma (,). Maximum of 10

From

Your name:
Your email address:
Security test:
Please enter the numbers that appear here in the box below.
refresh captcha
CAPTCHA Image
Security code:

Details provided here will never be used in any other context

Syrian Christians in desperate straits: will the churches survive?

Project(s): 00-1032

Country/Region: Middle East and North Africa, Syria

The city of Homs, the third largest in Syria, has now seen almost its entire Christian population of 50,000 to 60,000 flee for safety as fighting continues in the stricken country.

Bombed out Syrian church
This church was damaged during the fighting in Homs
CC BY 2.0 / FreedomHouse

The number of Christians left in the city has reportedly fallen to below 1,000 after the strife between the troops of President Bashar Assad and anti-government forces reached its peak there last month. Christians have fled to surrounding villages, other major Syrian cities, and even Lebanon. Those who remain have spoken of a growing "atmosphere of fear".

During the worst of the conflict, the opposition forces attacked churches and also occupied an evangelical school and home for the elderly, which were then shelled by the army. Church leaders have reported that Muslim neighbours are turning on the Christians, and that Muslim extremists from other countries have been coming to Homs to join the fighting.

Christians have also suffered kidnappings and gruesome murders. Some Christian families, unable to pay a ransom for their relatives' release and fearing that they may be tortured, have been driven to ask the kidnappers to kill their loved ones at once.

The number of doctors in Homs has dwindled from 850 to 35-50, and the number of functioning hospitals from 40-45 to just five or six. Some hospitals have been attacked and destroyed; others have closed because they have no drugs or other resources; and two more have been robbed to equip field hospitals. Five schools have also been damaged.

The displaced Christians face an uncertain future and are concerned that they may be unable to return home, while the plight of those who remain is truly desperate. Prices have rocketed, supplies have run low, and it has often been too dangerous to go out.

Danger Beyond Homs

Christians are seriously endangered in other parts of Syria too. Not only are they generally assumed to be pro-Assad, but also a strongly Islamist element amongst the rebels will attack them simply because they are Christians.

Bombs have already exploded in the Christian quarters of Damascus and Aleppo. Church leaders hesitate to travel at night, believing that, as symbols of the Christian presence, they may be special targets for assassination. The authorities have warned the churches not to gather in large numbers over the Easter period in case their meetings are bombed.

One church leader told Barnabas Fund:

We hope for a safe future but nobody knows what will happen. There are many outside influences. We fear sectarian conflict. We fear becoming like Iraq. If the Christians leave the Arab countries it will be a loss for everybody.

Another added:

God willing, Syria will come out of it, but at what cost? I am not very optimistic that our Christian community will survive.

Barnabas Fund is working directly with Christian partners in the country to get emergency aid to needy Christians throughout Syria, including those from Homs and the victims of the bombings.

Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, International Director of Barnabas Fund, said:

I have just returned from meeting Syrian church leaders, and I am more than ever convinced that our Christian brothers and sisters in Syria need our help. The dark days of the Middle Ages when many churches were burned and Christians slaughtered in the region are threatening to return, endangering the very existence of the churches in this land that has had a Christian presence for almost 2,000 years. Please help us to support the Christians of Syria in their desperate need.

Give Today

If you would like to help Christians affected by the crisis in Syria, please send your donation to the Middle East Fund (project 00-1032).  using our secure server.

If you prefer to telephone, dial: 0800 587 4006 from within the UK or +44 1672 565031 from outside the UK. Please quote project reference Middle East Fund (project 00-1032).

If you prefer to send a cheque by post: Click this link for the address of our regional office. Please quote project reference Middle East Fund (project 00-1032).

For a quick donation of £3.00 by SMS (see terms and conditions here) text Barnabas/1032 to 70007 (Please note: This facility is presently only available to UK supporters).

Please Pray:
  • For protection for all the people of Homs and in other parts of Syria who are caught up in the conflict, and that humanitarian aid will reach them.
  • For the Christians displaced from their homes or in danger of attack, that the Lord will protect them and meet their needs.
  • For an end to the fighting and a just resolution of the crisis in Syria.
Help us: Share this article

Email:

Syrian Christians in desperate straits: will the churches survive?

To

Email address:
Separate multiple addresses with a comma (,). Maximum of 10

From

Your name:
Your email address:
Security test:
Please enter the numbers that appear here in the box below.
refresh captcha
CAPTCHA Image
Security code:

Details provided here will never be used in any other context

christian, persecution, charity, church, persecuted, sookhdeo, Islam

Other articles

View Timeline

There is a Church in Syria

Follow Barnabas

or

receive news & appeal emails as they are published

From Twitter

From Twitter_icon

    Daily prayer

    Daily prayer_icon
    • Give thanks to the Lord that Barnabas Fund is able to help oppressed and persecuted Christian communities by providing grants to Christian students in higher education. Pray for those who have received this help in the past, that they will give a voice to their brothers and sisters and will help to resource, empower and protect them in the face of hostility. Ask that God’s sustaining grace will uphold those who are currently studying, often under severe pressure from the majority community, and pray that they may be equipped for spiritual leadership. Praise God for their dedication to His service, and ask Him to use them powerfully in their various vocations. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 11 hours ago

    • Almighty God, we pray that You will protect Your people in the Holy Land. We pray especially for the congregation of a church in Gaza City, whose church compound was attacked with a small explosive device on 26 February. We give You thanks that the church, school, nursery and pastor’s house were undamaged and that a fi re that was lit under the pastor’s car was extinguished when Christians came outside to investigate. We pray that the congregation may stand firm for You in the face of the threatening message that was written on the wall facing the church gate: “We’ll get you soon, O worshippers of the cross.” We ask that there will be no further attempt to attack this church or others in the area. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Thu, Jul 2014 00:00

    • Taliban militants attempted to attack a Christian-run day-care centre in Kabul, Afghanistan, on 28 March, saying it was “a church used to convert Muslims to Christianity”. The attackers mistakenly targeted the next-door building, which houses workers on an agricultural and de-mining project, instead; two Afghan civilians, one a young girl, died in the crossfi re. All five Taliban bombers were also killed in the raid on the heavily-secured compound. The day-care centre that they were attempting to target, which is used by expatriates, is said to hold Christian worship services on certain days. Ask the Lord to change the hearts of those who plan and carry out terrorist attacks against Christians and other targets in Afghanistan; pray that they will turn instead to Him. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Wed, Jul 2014 00:00

    • “He was always a light for Christ and he had a love and commitment that he expressed for the Afghan people because of that love for Christ.” The widow of Dr Jerry Umanos, an American doctor who was shot dead at the Christian-run hospital where he worked in Kabul, Afghanistan, spoke of her husband’s faith and ministry. Two visiting American Christians, father and son Gary and John Gabel, were also killed on 24 April when an Afghan security guard opened fire on the staff he was meant to be protecting. Pray for comfort for the grieving families of the three men, and ask the Lord to safeguard the future of the hospital, which provides much-needed medical care and also trains Afghan doctors and nurses. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Tue, Jul 2014 00:00

    • “We ask all Christians and members of other faiths to reconsider their own beliefs and join Hinduism.” Krishna Hari Baskota, secretary at the Office of the Prime Minister in Nepal, was speaking about the application process for a new identity card that will show citizens’ religious affiliation. Christians and members of other minorities will be subjected to greater scrutiny before obtaining the official documents and will be asked to reiterate their faith. One Christian rights activist said that the government is trying to discourage people from converting from Hinduism. Pray that the Nepalese authorities will not discriminate against Christians but will treat them on equal terms with the Hindu majority. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Mon, Jul 2014 00:00

    © Barnabas Fund 1997 - 2014 All rights reserved. Barnabas Fund Australia Limited, a Company Limited by Guarantee – ABN: 70 005 572 485
    Barnabas Fund & Barnabas Aid are registered trade marks