Barnabas Aid - 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 Aid:

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 Aid 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 Aid, 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
    • Please pray for Christians in northern Cameroon, where Boko Haram is terrorising people, especially Christians and security forces, just as in neighbouring Nigeria. The Islamist militants openly declare themselves to be Boko Haram, and issue threats by letter, including to pastors telling them they must leave. Two pastors were killed in the village of Assigashia on the night of 25-26 August, hich has caused great distress and consternation. The Cameroonian Christians ask for prayer that God will bring peace and security, that the kidnapped will be released, that believers will stand firm despite being targeted, that God will comfort the traumatised, and that church leaders will know how to prepare their people for persecution. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 23 hours ago

    • “The cathedral in Damaturu now has only about 40 members instead of 450 members. The church in Potiskum now has only about 15 members instead of 500 members… the southern part of [Yobe state] is still very dangerous and most of the churches here have closed down.” A senior church leader in Nigeria wrote to Barnabas Aid in August about the impact on the Church of Boko Haram’s violence. Nevertheless Christians were still holding worship services every Sunday, discipling the young people and even commissioning pastors. Praise God for such perseverance, and pray that a Christian presence and witness may remain in north-east Nigeria. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Tue, Oct 2014 00:00

    • Heavenly Father, we pray to You for our Christian brothers and sisters in north-eastern Nigeria, who are so vulnerable in the face of attacks by Boko Haram militants. We remember especially those who used to live in Madagali, in Adamawa state, until their town was seized by Boko Haram two months ago. We think of those who were betrayed into the hands of Boko Haram by their neighbours pointing out Christian homes or places where Christians had hidden. We bring before You those who saw their menfolk beheaded, and women forcibly converted to Islam. We cry out to You to intervene and bring an end to the murderous attacks by Boko Haram. We pray for all the thousands of Nigerian Christians who have suffered in similar attacks that they will not lose hope or faith in You, but will know Your peace which passes understanding. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Mon, Oct 2014 00:00

    • Pray for a pastor in the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania whose home was attacked on 17 May; two of his children were injured. When he went to report the incident to the police, he was falsely accused of raping a young woman who had left Islam to follow Christ. The pastor had taken her into his home, along with four other converts, after she was thrown out by her family; it was they who made the accusation against him. He has faced much opposition because of his fruitful outreach to Muslims, and several failed attempts have been made to frame him with false accusations. Pray that the sovereign Lord will help him and that he will not be disgraced (Isaiah 50:7-9). Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sun, Oct 2014 00:00

    • A church on Mafia Island, part of the Zanzibar archipelago, was attacked on 9 May by around 80 young Muslim men armed with arrows and knives. The church members, who are mainly converts from Islam, had gathered for their weekly overnight prayer session when the attackers appeared, shouting “death to ritad’i” (those who leave Islam). They set fi re to the church, leaving the interior in ruins, and then went in search of the pastor, but he was not at home. The incident followed a bomb blast at another church in Mwanza in mainland Tanzania on 5 May, in which a worker at the church rest house was critically injured. Pray that the authorities will effectively address the increasing incidence of attacks against churches. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sat, Oct 2014 00:00

    © Barnabas Aid 1997 - 2014 All rights reserved.
    Barnabas Aid is a registered trade mark