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Desperate humanitarian crisis engulfs displaced Syrian Christians

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Desperate humanitarian crisis engulfs displaced Syrian Christians

Project(s): 00-1032

Country/Region: Middle East and North Africa, Syria

We have used the terminology ‘appalling’, ‘desperate’ and ‘deplorable’. We have run out of language to describe how it is for the civilian population.

John Ging, operations director for the UN’s Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

My heart goes out to the countless numbers of our brothers and sisters in Syria who have been reduced to homelessness and poverty by the present conflict. Within their own country they are in grave peril, and they may be unable to find security anywhere else. They have no-one to turn to for help except their worldwide Christian family.

Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, International Director of Barnabas Aid

Disturbing new reports from Syria have revealed the desperate humanitarian needs both within the country and on its borders, heightening concerns for its vulnerable and beleaguered Christian community.

This Christian orphanage in Homs was badly damaged in the fighting
This Christian orphanage in Homs was badly damaged in the fighting

Aid agencies are struggling to deal with an ever-growing number of refugees fleeing into neighbouring countries, as well as a large number of internally displaced people trying to get away from the fighting between government and opposition forces.

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reported on 20 July that around 120,000 Syrian refugees have now registered with it. But it acknowledges that the real number is undoubtedly much greater, and expects the total to reach 200,000-250,000 in the foreseeable future.

The agency says that an average of 700 people a day are crossing the borders into Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Turkey, though some of these countries put the figures much higher. Many are women and children, and have nothing with them except the clothes they are wearing. Large numbers are living in hotels or makeshift shelters, and are in urgent need of food, blankets and medical care.

One of the aid organisations active on the ground estimates that between 1 and 1.5 million Syrians have been forced to migrate within the country. There are thousands in the capital, Damascus, many lodging in schools, while local parks have been turned into camps for them.

The UN has launched two appeals, for $189 million to support aid to civilians inside Syria and $193 million for Syrian refugees. But both appeals are falling short by 75-80%, and the UN has warned that it may have to cut back its operations.

Christians in peril

As Syria implodes into chaos and civil war, its large but endangered Christian minority has been caught up in the growing crisis of displacement and poverty.

Tens of thousands of Christians have been driven from their cities by threats and violence. Almost the entire Christian populations of Homs and Qusayr have fled to surrounding villages or further afield. Many Christian families have seen their homes occupied and their lives torn apart by the conflict. They are in urgent need of food and other essentials.

The opposition forces and the militant groups that support them are largely hostile to Christians, believing them to be supporters of the government. An Islamist takeover is likely to generate further violence against Christians. Some believe that they have no alternative but to leave the country to avoid persecution or even death.

But few if any havens remain for them in the region. Turkey and Iraq are inhospitable places for Christians, and they have only restricted freedoms in Jordan. Even in Lebanon, once a Christian stronghold, the churches are beset by a powerful and confident Islamist movement.

Barnabas Aid is helping displaced Christian families within Syria and in other countries, with food, medicine, money for rent and other essentials. You can help by sponsoring a Christian family for just £18 a month.

Give Today

If you would like to help Christians affected by the crisis in Syria, please send a to the Middle East Fund to help Christians in Syria (project 00-1032) or a of £18 a month 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 to help Christians in Syria (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 to help Christians in Syria (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 all refugees and internally displaced people in Syria, that emergency aid will reach them quickly and that their needs will be met
  • For Christians who have been driven from their homes or fled the country altogether, that the Lord will be a sanctuary for them and that their distress will be relieved
  • For an end to the fighting in Syria and that its people will soon be able to return home
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Daily prayer

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  • Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we give You thanks on this Easter Day for the living hope that You have given us and all Your people through the resurrection of Jesus from the dead (1 Peter 1:3). We pray that the prospect of an enduring inheritance and future salvation will encourage our persecuted brothers and sisters to persevere in their faith, whatever may happen to them. We pray that we too may be sustained by this hope in the sufferings that we experience for the sake of Christ. We ask that the joy and resurrection power of the Lord will give strength and peace to persecuted believers today and every day. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 20 hours ago

  • Give thanks for the Christ-like responses of Christian leaders in CAR to the crisis that threatens them and their churches. They have distanced themselves from the anti-balaka militias, saying that these should not be labelled as Christian and that they hold no mandate from the churches. The leaders have also condemned the violence in the country, whatever its origin, and have called on Christians to pursue forgiveness, reconciliation and healing. Churches are hiding, defending and caring for thousands of Muslims endangered by the anti-balaka, and one of CAR’s most senior church leaders has invited the president of the country’s Islamic community to move into his church compound. Pray that this powerful witness to the grace and love of Christ will help to bring peace to the shattered country. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sat, Apr 2014 00:00

  • On this Good Friday, give thanks to God for the death of Christ and for His gift of eternal life. Praise Him too for the example of those Christians who have persevered in their faith at the risk of their lives and who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of Christ and the Gospel. Pray that their martyrdom will inspire their suffering brothers and sisters in Christ to endure whatever hardships befall them and will convince their persecutors of the truth and power of the Gospel. Pray too that their bereaved families and churches will not grieve without hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13). Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Fri, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Cry out to the Lord for Christians in the Central African Republic (CAR) who have been driven from their homes by the violence that has engulfed their country. Attacks by Islamist Séléka militants and retaliation from “anti-balaka” militias has generated a huge humanitarian crisis in which around two million people, many of them Christians, are in need of emergency assistance. Give thanks for the work of Barnabas partners who have been providing food rations to hundreds of displaced believers in the capital, Bangui, and distributing food, medicines, clothing and seeds to thousands in various regions. Pray that the aid will reach those who need it most, and that the Lord will comfort the relatives and friends of the thousands who have been killed in the fighting. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Thu, Apr 2014 00:00

  • “Jesus Christ performed tremendous miracles in all our lives through this Shalom Camp.” A pastor spoke of how God had worked through a Barnabas-sponsored weekend Bible camp for persecuted Christians in Sri Lanka. The camp was attended by believers from five different churches that had been the target of threats or attacks by Buddhist or Hindu extremists. The participants heard teaching on the Biblical basis for persecution and took part in group discussions; they came away refreshed and encouraged, and for many the camp was a time of great spiritual renewal. Give thanks to the Lord for the peace He has brought to these persecuted believers, and ask that the weekend will continue to bear much fruit in their lives. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Wed, Apr 2014 00:00

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