“They constantly sent oral messages to my husband asking him to leave the land, otherwise he was in danger of being killed,” said “Rana” as she recalled the persecution that has driven her and her family to leave Syria and seek safety in another part of the world.
“They knew that his land had a water well. While harvesting his crop with his workers, the terrorists started to hit and insult them. They kidnapped him, and, after continuous beatings, my husband had to give up his land, and assign it to their leader. We had to pay a large ransom – some of my relatives helped with this. When my husband returned he was badly hurt, both physically and psychologically.”
As Syrian Christians, living in a Christian-majority village, “Rana” and her family had enjoyed a peaceful existence before the Syrian civil war broke out in 2011. Rana’s husband, Fadi was running a curtain shop, which supported the family.
But as the war developed, the family found themselves living on the frontline, just on the edge of government-held territory that Islamist extremist rebel groups like Islamic State and Al-Nusra Front were trying to seize. Rockets from the Islamist rebels continually rained down on the village. One midnight, a rocket landed on Fadi’s shop, completely destroying it. Machinery and equipment were damaged, fabrics were torn to pieces. Literally overnight the family lost their livelihood.
They moved to some agricultural land which Fadi owned, near another village, planning to earn a living there instead. This piece of land happened to be on the frontline of the fighting against two other Islamist extremist rebel groups, so it was not until the Syrian army had advanced a couple of kilometres that the family could actually reach their land and start farming it.
But the inhabitants of this village were sympathetic to the Islamic extremist groups, and began sending the threatening verbal messages that Rana remembers so well, threats which led to the kidnapping of Fadi and the seizure of his land. The family were left again without income, and in great anxiety about the future for them as Christians in their homeland, Syria.
25 air tickets issued in 2 weeks
Australia is offering visas to persecuted Middle Eastern Christians, and Barnabas Fund is covering flight costs for those who have no money.
Australia has granted visas to Rana, Fadi and their two daughters, and Barnabas Fund’s Operation Safe Havens has paid their airfares. They are due to arrive in Australia later this month. Rana is yearning to be in “a peaceful place where there is no fear and no danger”.
Including this family, Operation Safe Havens has provided a total of 25 tickets in the last fortnight to bring Middle Eastern Christians to the safety of Australia.
Operation Safe Havens
Barnabas Fund’s Operation Safe Havens is there to rescue Middle Eastern Christians who feel they have no future in their homeland or region, who long to settle in a place of stability, safety, equality and freedom.
Our hope and prayer is to issue 100 air tickets in the next three months, and 500 in the whole of 2019. Will you join hands with us to rescue our brothers and sisters who have endured so much for Christ?
The typical cost of a ticket is £675 ($900; €790). 1,250 Australian dollars.
Help rescue our brothers and sisters. Please give today.