The persecution of Christians is quickly escalating in war-torn Syria. On July 23, an entire Christian family was brutally murdered by Islamists in the Damascus neighborhood of Bab Tuma. According to the Catholic News Agency, Islamists from the rebel group Liwa al-Islam, meaning “The Brigade of Islam”, ordered Nabil Zoreb, a Christian civil officer, his wife Violet, and his two sons George and Jimmy to get out of the car. The militants opened fire, killing them all.
Due to the rising threat of Islamists, Christians have fled Syrian cities in the thousands. The besieged city of Homs, for example, has been nearly emptied of its Christian community in recent months.
“The armed [rebels] in Syria [have] murdered more than 200 Christians in the city of Homs, including entire families with young children. These gangs kidnapped Christians and demanded high ransoms. In two cases, after the ransoms were paid, the men’s bodies were found,” a priest in Homs told Barnabas Aid.
Caught in the middle of a showdown between opposition forces and the Syrian army, many Christians fear the prospect of an Islamist-led government if President Bashar al-Assad is deposed. However, the Syrian church refuses to lose hope.
During this period of great suffering and uncertainty, ICC is receiving positive reports from the Syrian church. These Christians are daily confronted by the questions, “Why are we suffering? What is it that we are afraid of? And, how can we serve Jesus in this crisis?” Yet, the Syrian church has responded well to the difficult choices they’ve been forced to make by placing their trust in God’s provision and rejoicing over every new opportunity to share the love of Christ to the poor and hurting.
Syrian Christians are now on the front-lines, facing severe hardship for the sake of the Gospel. They desperately need and seek the prayers of the international church. In an effort to mobilize prayer, we want to share this recent update from a Christian in Damascus. We hope that his words will not only be informative and encouraging, but that they will also lead you to your knees to pray for the Syrian church.
Prayer update from a Christian in Damascus (some information had to be removed for the church’s security): My thoughts have been around our hope in the things that we have been living for as Christians. Recently I began to think and ask myself, “What are we afraid of in this life?” Is it evilness? Is it death that we are trying to avoid? With stories of people being emotionally, physically and psychologically hurt, much blood has been sacrificed in this country. We see people are fighting on both sides claiming to be doing the right thing and in the name of God.
Last month [June] has been hard for us here. We are trying to stay safe and managing our life around curfews. During the last few weeks we slept while hearing the sounds of heavy bullets in the background, which is not easy to sleep through. We think one day we can get used to it, but we are hoping that it won’t get to that point. But, the reason we are here is stronger than the sounds we hear or the curfews in place for our safety. We are truly seeing His mighty hands in the life of our Church and people. We are seeing doors to share the truth with many of the Syrian people. I can’t fathom all the doors God is opening up for the Church to speak the truth into people’s lives.
So many people have fled their cities and towns because of the fighting going on. People have been kicked out of their home by the extremist Muslim. Many did not want to leave, but they have gotten threatened to leave.
- Please pray for the leaders of the church in Syria.
- Please pray for safety of our families, the church, and its people.
- Pray that we can keep holding steadfast to the promise of God to the church and the body of Christ in Syria as we proclaim the Truth of Jesus.
We love you all and we love what God is doing in Syria. Please continue praying for us.