Persecuted Christians Share their Stories from War-Torn Syria
ICC Note: Many Christians in Syria—who have historically experienced a higher degree of freedom in Syria than in most other Middle Eastern countries—have refused to actively oppose the regime which, according to Islamists, means they are loyal to President Bashar al-Assad. While these Christians denounce the brutality of the regime, they fear that any government that replaces Assad will be dominated by extremists who will severely persecute religious minorities. In this article, Barnabas Fund shares the tragic stories of Christians who fled war-torn Syria to Lebanon.
5/16/2013 Syria (Barnabas Fund) – A tragedy of unbelievable proportions is unfolding in Syria. The Christians believe they are the meat in the sandwich, squeezed between the rebel forces with their extremist Islamist allies and the government forces. They are caught in the middle of a conflict not of their making. Increasingly the rebel forces are deliberately targeting them. When the al-Nusra Front takes an area, they systematically destroy all Christian symbols. The Christians are faced now with a disaster that is leading many of them to question whether the Church will survive in Syria. Many see this as Iraq Mark 2. Just as the Christians of Iraq were ethnically cleansed, with Western acquiescence, so today Western countries are supporting the Gulf States and Turkey who are facilitating the rebel fighters who want to introduce sharia and destroy Christianity.
I have just returned from Lebanon, where Barnabas Fund had brought together a range of Christians from different parts of Syria, each with their own heart-breaking story to tell about how the conflict there is affecting them and those for whom they care. Among the accounts I heard were: a woman who is too afraid to leave her home to go to work for fear of being raped; courageous and creative church leaders who are working tirelessly to help meet the needs of their splintered congregations; analyses from a journalist and a senior politician, in particular of the potential consequences for Christians.