|Sources of Persecution||Islamic Oppression|
|Government||Authoritarian Presidential Republic|
|Leader||President Bashar al-Assad|
Syria: Cities In Ruins.
Since 2011, Syria's civil war has devastated the entire population as well as the Christians living there. By the start of 2017, 4.8 million people had fled the country, and a further 6.5 million remain inside Syria but are displaced. Since the start of the war, over half the Christian population have fled the country. Many ancient cities have been destroyed and are now shadows of their former selves.
Christianity has a long history in Syria, mentioned several times in the New Testament. In 2016 fighting stopped in the second largest city of Aleppo due to a peace agreement. Islamic State’s influence was weakened due to increased pressure in Iraq. These developments however are unlikely to bring an end to hostilities.
A Complex Situation.
The conflict started as a rebellion against corruption and a harsh government. This has since evolved into a conflict supported by different countries. The Shia majority of Iran, along with Russia, is supporting the government, while Sunni majority Arab states have provided support to different rebel groups. Many of the most contested areas of the country were home to large Christian populations. Cities like Aleppo, Homs and Damascus all had large Christian communities, yet now as a result of the conflict most have fled.
Muslims Discovering Jesus.
Some Christians have remained in the country to continue to preach the gospel. Open Doors supports local pastors as their churches stay and serve the community. As Christians identify with neither Islamic group they are often caught in the middle. Churches have been targeted by extremists and pastors kidnapped. Despite this there appears to be many Muslims coming to Christ. Thousands of Syrians in urgent need have found support from local churches supported by Open Doors.
“When I heard that people around the world who I don’t know and who are living in better situations were praying for me and for my country, I was given the spiritual strength to go on. This is true even though I am weak. I give glory to God. He makes the broken-hearted happy and sends His blessings to the poor. Prayer teaches us forgiveness; so we pray for those who harm us, that God will change their hearts and make them also tools to spread peace and love.” - Church Leader, Aleppo
Pray for peace in Syria.
Pray for God to protect the Christians who have chosen to stay and reach out to their friends and neighbours.
Pray for more people to discover Jesus as the church works as His hands and feet.