Country/Region: Middle East and North Africa, Syria
“On behalf of Syrian Christians and other minority communities, we entreat Western governments to alleviate the suffering of our people by providing urgent humanitarian aid, as our communities are in dire need. The majority have been displaced from their homes with hardly anything to subsist on; most are jobless, homeless, and in danger of abduction and assaults by radical militants.”
As US President Barack Obama rallies support for a military strike on Syria, Christian leaders from the country have called on Western nations to focus their efforts instead on providing aid to help meet the “dire need” of the suffering people.
|Barnabas has provided aid to around 10% of Syria’s Christian community|
Barnabas Fund is at the forefront of humanitarian work among the Christian community in Syria. Since the conflict began in 2011, we have provided practical aid to an estimated 139,000 Christians, around 10% of those who remain in the country. Around 600,000 Christians have sought refuge in other countries.
Most of those whom we are helping are internally displaced, having had to flee their homes as a result of targeted violence against them by Islamist rebels. Christians are being singled out for violent attack, kidnap, torture, sexual assault and murder; their homes have been taken over in violent raids. Christian leaders have been particularly targeted, and numerous church buildings have been deliberately destroyed.
The Christians are in desperate need, having left almost all they owned behind, while shortages and soaring prices of essentials exacerbate their hardship. Our support includes food parcels, hygiene kits, medical and surgical costs, blankets, heaters and sleeping mats. We are also digging water wells in Aleppo, where the main pump has been damaged in the fighting, and building a refuge shelter for displaced Christians in Wadi al-Nasara.
One of our key partners in Syria, Dr Jany Haddad, a senior Baptist church leader, said:
We urge Western authorities to take the measures necessary to protect our Christian civilians in the country. We ask them to shift their thoughts towards increasing financial support to our Christian societies and communities because of their dire need at this time. We ask your governments sincerely and seriously to take into account the plight of our Christian societies and communities in Syria and continue your support to hundreds of thousands of Christian refugees here and beyond the borders.
|UNHCR said that Syria has created the worst refugee crisis for 20 years|
The civil war has now forced around seven million people – almost a third of the Syrian population – to flee their homes. Of these, two million have left the country as refugees, while the others are internally displaced.
On Tuesday (3 September), the UN’s refugee agency (UNHCR) said that it was the worst refugee crisis for 20 years and appealed for “massive international support”.
Lebanon has received the highest number of refugees at around 700,000 but is struggling to cope.
Sweden on Tuesday became the first EU country to offer permanent residency to refugees from Syria; the decision will enable the 8,000 or so Syrian asylum seekers in the Scandinavian country to stay permanently.
Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, International Director of Barnabas Fund, said:
The plight of Syria’s Christians has been tragically overlooked by Western governments; I pray that they will heed the cries of these Christian leaders from the country as they consider what action to take. As for Barnabas Fund, we desperately want to extend our support to help greater numbers of Christians as the war ravages more lives, but the need is growing continually and requires further funds. Can you help with a gift today or perhaps consider setting up a Direct Debit (UK ONLY) to provide regular support for this vital cause?
See open letter to Barack Obama, sent 28 August 2013.
To make a one off donation online using our secure server
Alternatively, you can set up a regular donation online regional office.or by contacting your nearest
If you prefer to telephone, dial: 0800 587 4006 from within the UK or +44 1672 565031 from outside the UK. Please quote project reference Middle East Fund to help Christians in Syria (project 00-1032).
For a quick donation of £3.00 by SMS (see terms and conditions here) text Barnabas/1032 to 70007 (Please note: This facility is presently only available to UK supporters).
- For wisdom for US legislators as they consider President Obama’s case for military intervention in Syria. Pray that they will be mindful of the consequences for Christians and take steps to protect them.
- That refugees from Syria will be welcomed and looked after in other countries. Give thanks for Sweden’s decision to offer permanent residency to 8,000 Syrians.
- For Syrian Christians, that the Lord will give them strength, hope and peace as they continue to suffer privation, danger and persecution.
Source: Barnabas Fund website