Lawlessness and the sound of gun shots has become a norm in Syria. Churches are robbed, properties destroyed and kidnapping, rape and even killing of Christian woman and children is an every day routine.
It is only on Fridays that a few people dare to step out of their homes. Otherwise streets become deserted after 3 pm. Innocent bystanders even locals making trips to a store are gunned down.
Although the government has placed curfews, they have done little to make Christians of Syria feel safe and less fearful. All that the Christian community has left to do is band together and pray.
Many in the Christian community, which comprises approximately 6 percent of Syria’s population (1.5 million, including Christian refugees from Iraq), have fallen into severe financial hardship since the Arab Spring uprising, primarily because they are too afraid to leave their homes to go to work.
Thousands have lost their lives in a movement that aims to strip the present government of President Bashar al-Assad’s of its power. Islamic forces continue to clash against the government and the Christian community has become a victim in the cross fire.
The most recent fighting has left over 50 Christians dead. One victim, a young Christian boy, was killed by rebels who filmed the murder and then blamed the act on government soldiers. Another victim, a Christian man, was taken captive by rebels before being cruelly asked by them, “How do you want to die?” The man suffered a complete breakdown before he was eventually released.
Despite rampant fear and uncertainty, many Syrian Christians are ministering to Muslims in need. Many of these Muslims, particularly those of the younger generation who struggle with long-term unemployment, have become disillusioned and frustrated. Pray that God will touch the hearts of all those who hear the Gospel message and that Syrian Christians will continue to reach out to them despite the risks of persecution.