Monday, April 15, 2013

Caught in the Crossfire

Situation worsens for Christians in Syria

Christian Aid Mission
For Immediate Release

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA (ANS) -- As the exodus of Christians from Syria continues unabated, more reports are surfacing of the alarming conditions facing those who choose to remain.
Everywhere they turn, children are subjected to the harsh realities of war

"When people leave their houses in Syria in the morning to go to work, they say goodbye to their families in case they don't come back. There are suicide bombers and car bombs going off all around," a ministry leader in Damascus told Christian Aid Mission.

It is estimated that around 70 to 80 percent of the Christian population has fled Syria, particularly from the major cities where the fighting has been most intense. Over one million refugees, both Christian and non-Christian alike, have fled the civil war and poured into the neighboring countries of Jordan, Turkey, Iraq, Lebanon, and Egypt. The majority of those refugees, some 335,000, have sought refuge in Jordan.

Christian Aid Mission assists the ministry in providing emergency relief and spiritual help both to Syrian families who stay in their homeland and to refugees who have relocated to other countries.

The stories from inside Syria describe extremely harsh and dangerous living conditions for everyone. Few people are employed. The infrastructure is in tatters. People are beheaded.

Girls are raped and killed. The prices for gas and food are ten times what they were two years ago.

But according to the leader, the situation is even more threatening for Christians because they face persecution from all sides of the conflict. There is al-Qaeda, dissidents from the Syrian army, a Muslim group called Victory, and other factions.

Some 300 churches in and around Syria have been damaged or destroyed. Before the revolution, Syria was governed as a secular nation and Christians enjoyed some measure of freedom to worship in their churches.

Rubble is all that remains of this
Syrian neighborhood
Most Christians remain supportive of President Bashar al-Assad. The legal protection afforded them by the current government would most likely vanish if the rebels seize power, he said.

"The outside world thinks because of the media and news that the president is responsible for what's going on in Syria, that he is the one who kills and destroys. 

But it is totally the opposite," the spokesman explained. "Whenever the government fixes the damage from a terrorist attack, there is a repeat of destruction."

Disrupting the power grid brought a great deal of misery to Christians and non-Christians alike in Syria during the winter months. With no electricity available up to 14 hours a day, people suffered in their unheated homes. The ministry leader said the situation has improved, with electricity now cut for only four or five hours each day.

"Every time the government fixes the generators, the terrorists attack them again on purpose," he said. "A lot of people have lost their jobs because of the destruction of the country's infrastructure from the bombing of hospitals, businesses, factories, hotels. The terrorists attack and steal everything."

Without the presence of the Syrian army, he said there would be an even higher incidence of Christians dying.
In spite of the horrific situation, God is moving and subtle changes are taking place. The Syrian government appears to trust Christians more and is permitting them to freely do mission work and evangelize.

Syrian believers who remain are providing food packages, clothing, shelter, and New Testaments to people who have been displaced from their homes and relocated to other communities. These acts of compassion give them the opportunity to share the gospel.

"They visit Muslim neighborhoods and help them as much as they can, and they evangelize more than ever before now that the government has given them the green light to do so," the leader shared. "Muslims in these areas now trust Christians, because it's the Christians who provided for them and stayed beside them. Lots of Muslims have realized the love of Jesus and the Christian faith."

With no end in sight to the crisis, Syrian believers are asking for Christians around the world to join them in prayer and fasting. Please go to for more information on ways to support the refugee relief efforts of ministries assisted by Christian Aid Mission.

Christian Aid Mission is an indigenous missions-supporting organization based in Charlottesville, Va., that provides the financial resources to help ministries share the gospel of Jesus Christ in their home countries, particularly among unreached people groups. Since 1953, Christian Aid Mission has provided more than $100 million in assistance to more than 800 ministries based in 122 "mission field" countries overseas. These ministries deploy a combined total of 80,000 missionaries serving in the most unevangelized nations of the world.

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