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01/14/2022 Syria (International Christian Concern) – After more than a decade of strife and war in Syria, perhaps the largest threat to Christians is now more economical than physical. Going on five years since the declared defeat of the Islamic State in Syria, threats to the physical well-being of Syrians still exist. But the daily threat and turmoil that Christians face are how to survive another day, with sky-rocketing prices and minimal income.

Approximately 90% of Syrians live below the poverty line. According to Father Hugo, an Argentinian priest serving the church in Northern Syria, a family of five would need around $400 USD per month. Instead, salaries are usually only $25. Supermarkets are supplied with food, but the people can barely afford food or their necessities. Because of the large disparity in income and costs, international aid is crucial for the survival of the church in Syria.

International aid is also needed as companies pulled out of Syria due to high sanctions and borders closed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Churches decimated by war cannot be rebuilt for worship when the bare necessities are not even being provided to the people. Christians continue to flee the country in search of access to better medical care and education.

All the while, the underlying threat from Islamic State persists, though not as apparent as in previous years. In recent weeks, at least two strikes claimed by the group killed five and injured 20, occurring along highways and checkpoints. At least 600 people were killed in Islamic State attacks in Syria in 2021, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Analysts warn that the recent attacks could be a “slow build-up” to larger attacks to come in 2022.

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