A Harrowing Report from Aleppo, Syria
Syria, August 01, 2013: Here is an update from a doctor friend in Aleppo, a besieged city caught up in Syria's seemingly unending civil war. He has chosen to stay in that war-ravaged place to help those in need of medical care and is also heavily involved in coordinating our aid to Christians, whose plight is worsening as the fighting rages on.
"Our situation in these hectic, unpredictable days in Aleppo, with no food or meat or bread at ease, no free movement, no security and no encouraging good news on the horizon, reminds me of the words of Habakkuk: "Though the fig-tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, YET I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in GOD my Saviour." (Hab 3:17-18)
Many sounds heard and continuing to be heard!! Are you still there? How come you don't move out? What about your family? How they can do without you? Many questions such these and no one can find the proper convincing answers to them.
Is it right to say, "Gone with the wind!" Of course not. My hope and trust is in the Lord who is my light and my salvation, who is the stronghold of my life. (Psalm 27:1) Where are we heading after two and a half years since the beginning of the war in Syria in mid-March 2011? And now it is more than one year since the beginning of the war in Aleppo in late June 2012. Everyone among our friends abroad may be wondering.
At the national level, nothing has changed since then apart from more suffering and more losses of souls and belongings. The two sides of the war continue to confront each other with no clear winner or loser at a cost of: more than 100,000 killed, more than a million and halfrefugees in the neighbouring countries, and more than 3.8 million internally displaced people (IDPs). Hundreds of thousands have migrated to Europe and the Americas.
The economy is in ruins and no one can predict how long it will remain like this. Sectarianism and extremism are flourishing and there is no glimmer of hope for a settlement to such mounting conflict. Following the retaking of al-Qusayr (a strategic region in the centre ofSyria, south-west of Homs and near the border with Lebanon) by the Syrian army and the defeat of the rebels there, the leaders of the Western world declared that the fall of al-Qusayr showed that the balance of power had shifted to the government side and that it was necessary for them to arm the rebels in order to re-establish equilibrium! What a way of thinking!! They simply want to re-establish equilibrium so that both sides will continue to fight ... to the last Syrian? Just imagine the satanic way of thinking! "But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Saviour; my God will hear me. Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise (with my nation). Though I (we) sit in darkness (since no electricity), the Lord will be my (our) light". Micah 7:7-8 (italics are mine)
In Aleppo, the military situation is at a status quo: the last [major] battle took place on Good Friday 29 March 2013, "120 days ago", with the capture of the Sheikh Maksoud quarter (Djabal Al Sayde) by the rebels. There have been no [major] combats since, but bombardments here and there with hundreds of houses, building, shops, offices and homes damaged. On the other hand, the humanitarian situation is getting worse and towards a catastrophic status, considering three important facts:
(1) The blockade of Aleppo has lasted now for more than 40 days: blocking of people, nobody can leave the city to go elsewhere, even to other nearby Syrian towns or abroad;blocking of merchandise, nothing can get into Aleppo. There are no more vegetables, fruits, milk, cheese, meat, chicken or fish, no fuel, gas (for cooking) and very little bread. There remain only imperishable supplies at the grocers such as rice, lentils, canned goods ... but at astronomical prices the majority cannot afford. It must be said that one dollar was worth 50 Syrian pounds (LS) before the war, 180 LS a month ago and 300 LS a couple of weeks back then came down again to be around 200+ LS. With all this and the income of families remaining the same, prices are escalating to ten times more than the original cost.
Just to give a couple of simple, painful examples: one of the kitchens for the Christian charitable association "Al-Ihsan", which used to provide daily meals for 35,000 IDPs, has been closed down for lack of gas, fuel, staff and ingredients; and the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), which used to provide 15,000 daily meals, will be closing down as well soon. So, 50,000 IDPs who are staying in different schools since early 2012 will be without food.
Another aspect, and as a funny result, of the lack of fuel, vehicles cannot be used and the forced march imposed upon all of us has become the sport of the people in Aleppo - just walk wherever you like, and keep on walking; we're spending more time on the roads at high risk. It is supposed to be good for the health of course, if only the average temperature was not 40 degrees! Almost every person has lost weight, about 8-18kg.
The inhabitants have waited in vain for protests by the Western public (so prompt at protesting over the slightest offence) and the pressure of its leaders on the rebels to lift the blockade. It is no longer a military or political problem but a humanitarian issue. Starving a population of 2.5 million people is logically a crime against humanity for those who believe in peace and justice. To be silent is to accept the rule of Western politicians: two weights, two measures.
(2) Mortar fire]: Every day, mortar shells fall on the quarters inhabited especially by Christians and Armenians. Those mortars are fired by the rebels; they are homemade but are still causing some deaths and seriously wounding dozens. The smell of death is everywhere nowadays. Just in the last couple of weeks in our Christian society, a boy of 14 years, a scout, died from a piece of shrapnel in his head while he was at home; a girl of eight years received a splinter in the brain; a young woman of 30, a hairdresser, had to have her left arm amputated below the elbow as a result of an injury; a man of 70 was wounded in the spine when he was coming out of church service. Above all those shocking stories, the most tragic event happened last week: a traveling Pullman bus with more than 35 Armenian passengers from Aleppo to Beirut was attacked by the rebels on the safe military road, resulting in five deaths and more than 30 wounded and badly injured. Four families were planning to migrate to Armenia; two of them (they were my patients at my clinic earlier) were wounded and one lost the mother, who had two children. These are a few examples among many other tragedies.
(3) Capturing and kidnapping Christians (mainly the Armenian lay people): what a nightmare to every single Armenian and Christian who plans to leave Aleppo for a safe haven. As you may remember, hundreds have already been kidnapped and no news so far about them, including the two senior archbishops, two elderly fathers and hundreds of young men. Just four days ago, four young Armenian chaps were kidnapped while leaving for Armenia and sadly, last night, 29 July, two very young brothers, aged 12 and 14, were kidnapped while planning to join their father in Istanbul, leaving their mother alone. How you can imagine the heart of this mother and the soul and spirit of these two youngsters? So far no news or any information. If a ransom is requested, it will be unaffordable and unfeasible.
In this context of violence, privation, desolation, suffering and despair, we continue, as Christian humanitarian committees in Aleppo and all over Syria, through our presence, our resistance, our support, our aid and our solidarity to be there for the people, a glimmer of hope in the darkness that surrounds us.
What are you saying? I am right in what I am hearing that you are still there, you have not left like the others? And we continue our action with the refugees, the deprived, the IDPs and the wounded.
Where are we now with our projects and missions? Let me paint a few lines. There are three major missions and works that we are carrying out:
1. Joseph's Food Relief Aid: mainly supported by Barnabas Fund since 2011, and to some extent by a few other small gifts and donations, every now and then, for the poor Syrian families and IDPs. Till now we are supporting, on a monthly basis, more than 2,168 families through more than 17 local committees.
2.Isaac's Water Supply - Digging Wells: supporting the societies and our heavily populated Christian residential areas with water, through three stages, and 14 phases, by digging wells in church yards, Christian school yards, monasteries or Christian institutions. So far we have finished seven phases with a lot of gratitude from the nearby families and leaders.
3. Luke's Medical Care and Support: since last year, more medical needs are building up. One of the Christian hospitals has set up a grant for "War-Wounded Patients", making their treatment free of charge. More than 23 patients have benefited so far; each patient costs around Euro 1,560-3,000). Beside this, two new policlinics have been established that are providing patients with free consultations, medicine and surgery.
That is where we are. We are trying to resist despite of all that has been said; resist after exactly one year, 365 days of war. We resist pessimism, resist fatigue, resist discouragement and extremism. As Jean Debruynne  said, "To resist, is to never give up looking out for the sun through the opening of a sewer outlet"; and "To resist, is to be stubborn enough to see the day arise behind barbed wire".
We do serve the One who deserves to be served."
Please pray for our suffering brothers and sisters in Christ in Syria and for this dear doctor and others like him who are trying to make a difference for the Lord in this war-torn nation.
Pakistan Taliban in Syria
Armed group says first batch of fighters have arrived and have set up a command and control centre to begin operations.
The Pakistani Taliban has said its first batch of fighters has arrived in Syria to fight alongside rebels battling the regime of President Bashar al-Assad…
More than two years since the start of the anti-Assad rebellion, Syria has become a magnet for foreign Sunni fighters who have flocked to the country to what many see as a holy war against the regime.
Operating alongside armed groups such as the al-Nusra Front, an al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria and a US-designated terrorist organisation, they mainly come from nearby countries such as Libya and Tunisia.
Al Jazeera’s Kamal Hyder, reporting from Islamabad, said the Taliban claimed that "Arab fighters in Syria had requested their help, that hundreds of their fighters were preparing to go there, or were already in Syria, through unfrequented roots".
The announcement further complicates the picture on the ground in Syria, where rivalries have already been intense between the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and groups seeking to implement Islamic law…
It also comes at a time when Assad's forces, with backing from Shia fighters from Hezbollah and Iran, have been making gains on the Syrian battlefield.
The Pakistani Taliban, known as the Tehreek-e-Taliban, operate mainly from Pakistan's ethnic Pashtun areas along the Afghan border - a long-standing stronghold for armed groups including the Taliban and their al-Qaeda allies.
Taliban fighters in Pakistan, who are linked to their Afghan counterparts, are mainly fighting to topple Pakistan's government and to impose their version of Islam, targeting the military, security forces and civilians.
Source: Al Jazeera and agencies
Please keep Syria and its ongoing conflict in your prayers. Some local Christian leaders are gathering there shortly for a united prayer initiative. Pray that they will be led by the Lord in confessing the sins of the nation, working for reconciliation among themselves and praying unitedly for His healing and deliverance for this embattled and suffering nation. There are also huge numbers that have left their homes and become refugees both within Syria and in nearby nations, causing a potentially catastrophic humanitarian situation. Pray for their needs to be supplied quickly and generously by the host governments, the international community and humanitarian and church organizations.
Day of Prayer for Syria
Syrian church leaders have called for a day of prayer for their country and its people on Saturday 11th May. Primarily, they are calling for prayer for peace to be restored to their country, enabling all Syrians to live in harmony within their own country.
As violent conflict continues, there are no precise figures for the number of those killed (most estimates state 70,000 or more), injured, internally displaced within Syria or who have fled to neighbouring countries and beyond. It is generally reckoned that over one million have left and at least another million have been internally displaced, all from amongst a population of approximately 23 million. Atrocities have been committed by many parties.
During 2012 there was a subtle shift in how Syrian church leaders typically interpreted events. Claims of the deliberate targeting of Christians for religious reasons increased as the year progressed. Initially, most were careful to stress that there was little religious targeting. However, church leaders are increasingly fearful of the growing extremist elements within the opposition movement (e.g. Jabhat an-Nusra), and fearful that a Sunni take-over of power in Syria would lead to greater restrictions on Christians. Some fear that the Iraq scenario (involving increased levels of sectarian attack and corresponding flight of Christians) could be replicated in Syria. Church leaders have called on Christians not to leave, acknowledging that significant emigration had already occurred.
Fears within Christian communities have increased following the kidnapping of two priests (Michel Kayyal of the Armenian Catholic church and Mahar Mahfouz of the Greek Orthodox church) on 9th February and the subsequent kidnapping of two bishops (Yohanna Ibrahim of the Syriac Orthodox Church and Boulos Yaziji of the Greek Orthodox Church) on 22nd April.
Syrian Christians request that we join with them in prayer, asking that:
a. Violent conflict will end, and reconciliation processes will begin.
b. Those bereaved and traumatised will know the healing touch of Jesus.
c. Those displaced will know the provision and protection of the Father; and those supporting them will know the wisdom and enabling of the Spirit.
d. Those from all communities who have been kidnapped, including the two bishops and two priests kidnapped, will be released unharmed soon.
e. Unity amongst Christian communities will be strengthened and that Christians will know the Lord's equipping as they respond to the overwhelming needs around them.
f. All those choosing to use violent methods will know the Spirit's conviction of sin and respond to the Father's offer of forgiveness and new life in the Son.
Global Alliance Expresses Concern for Syrian Crisis
Religious Liberty Partnership Releases Statement on Syria, Calls for International Day of Prayer
(April 2013) The Religious Liberty Commission of the World Evangelical Alliance and other religious liberty organisations united under the Religious Liberty Partnership (RLP) have released a statement on the crisis in Syria asking the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria to pay particular attention to "vulnerable ethnic and religious minorities", and calling for a designated day of prayer for the country.
Called the 'Istanbul Statement on the Church in Syria', it expresses concern about the exodus of Christians and other ethnic and religious minorities from Syria and calls on the international community to" provide sufficient protection for all ethnic and religious communities as well as their historical, religious, and cultural sites."
"There is an urgent need to speak out about the situation facing Christians and other religious minorities in Syria." said Godfrey Yogarajah the Executive Director of the Religious Liberty Commission of the World Evangelical Alliance, and member of the RLP Leadership Team. "We urge all Christians around the world to respond to this call to prayer and action in order to bring peace and stability to this troubled nation," he added.
According to the statement, drafted during the annual gathering of member organisations held in Istanbul in late March, the Religious Liberty Partnership commits "to raise awareness and work toward a peaceful solution of the current crisis, including reconciliation among the various ethnic and religious communities; and to utilize practices that prioritize the well-being of all Syrians when providing assistance and advocating on behalf of the vulnerable." The full Istanbul Statement is available here (http://library.constantcontact.com/download/get/file/1109200547735-21/RLP+Istanbul+Statement+on+Syria.pdf)
The Religious Liberty Partnership (RLP) is a collaborative effort of Christian organizations from over 20 countries focused on religious liberty. The RLP seeks to more intentionally work together in addressing advocacy, assistance, and in raising the awareness of religious liberty issues globally. Besides RLP Chairman, Mervyn Thomas, the RLP Leadership Team is made of: Godfrey Yogarajah of the World Evangelical Alliance; Ron Boyd-Macmillan, Open Doors International, Netherlands; Anne Brandner, Global Peace Initiative, Canada; Andy Dipper, Viva, UK; Daniel Hoffman of Middle East Concern; and Linus Pfister, HMK Switzerland. A listing of RLP members is on the Istanbul Statement.
For further information about the Religious Liberty Partnership or the Istanbul Statement, please visit: www.RLPartnership.org
Pray for Syria: A Letter from a Syrian Christian Leader in the Midst of the Aleppo Siege
Dear Brother John,
I am sorry for being delayed in my response. Actually it is due to lack of electricity and net off-ness. Daily we do receive light and net about 3-4 hours. Most the time spending in darkness and under the candles. Just back to early 18-19th centuries. PTL.
Many thanks for your kind words and supporting prayers.
The situation here in Aleppo Syria is getting worse more and more. Yesterday, as all churches decided to have a united prayer day, the rebels sent three rockets - mortars- and been exploded just couple of hours before the gathering few meters from the main gate of the church. No injuries; just few damages here and there with some affected cars.
But, with all this, just to let you know that in spite all the rockets and explosions, more than 300 members and worshipers attended the prayer service meeting on that Friday. PTL…
Lord protected all of us - near and far. He is good. He is in control. His presence is our protection. Still in Aleppo, serving the One who deserves to be served.
Keep us lifted up.
(A Christian leader living in Syria)
Syria: Increasing Incidence of Religiously Motivated Attacks Against Christians
Syrian Christians continue to request our prayers for their country. They note that, in recent months, there have been increasing numbers of attacks on Christians that seem to be religiously motivated.
There has been a spate of reported incidents involving the kidnapping of Christians. One example occurred on 9th February when two priests, Michel Kayyal (Armenian Catholic) and Maher Mahfouz (Greek Orthodox), were kidnapped when travelling by public bus between Damascus and Aleppo. The bus was stopped by armed men belonging to one of the groups fighting the government. The gunmen checked the identity documents of all passengers and only the two priests were taken. A Salesian priest travelling with them was not kidnapped. Negotiations for their release are on-going. Other kidnappings have been reported, especially in al-Hasakah Province where some Christians have demonstrated publicly to protest against this alarming new trend.
There have been a number of assaults on Church buildings and other Christian property. Such attacks are often interpreted as warnings or threats to the Christian communities. One example occurred on 10th February when gunmen vandalised the historic church of Saint Maroun in Barad village, some 40 kilometres (25 miles) north of Aleppo.
Syrian Christian leaders continue to note that there are political and economic motivations in many of these attacks. However, they identify a rising tendency for religiously motivated attack, linking this to the increasing prevalence and influence of religiously extremist groups amidst the opposition movement.
Syrian Church leaders also note the severe economic challenges faced by Syrians, with ever-rising numbers of internally displaced persons and Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries. Churches and Christian ministries remain active in helping to meet some of the overwhelming needs.
Syrian Christians request our prayers that:
a. The violence in Syria would cease, and peace and justice would be established for all Syrians.
b. Those that have been kidnapped would be released unharmed, and no further kidnapping incidents would occur.
c. There would be no further acts of vandalism against Church property.
d. Those engaging in programmes to meet the needs of their communities, and of refugees and the displaced, would know the Lord's provision and enabling.
e. Syrian Christians, and especially church leaders, will know the Spirit's wisdom and guidance each day.
f. All those using violence, including against Christians and Church property, would know the Spirit's conviction and seek the forgiveness of the Father through the life, death and resurrection of the Son.
Open sources used: FIDES Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding
Let us keep our brothers and sisters in Christ in this war-torn land in our hearts, agreeing together for the binding of the forces of darkness, violence and death that want to destroy this land. Pray for His peace and shalom to cover everything and everyone there and for a swift end to the fighting.
Refugees from Syria Threaten to Overwhelm Jordan and Other Nations
Today, a Christian leader from Jordan called to ask us to pray for his nation, which is being overwhelmed by 300,000 refugees from Syria. Iraqi and Palestinian refugees were already camped there for years. The new refugees need more food, clothing and heaters in the winter cold. Nearly 200,000 Syrian refugees are registered in Lebanon, more than 153,000 in Turkey, 69,300 in Iraq, 13,000 in Egypt, and upwards of 5,000 in North Africa, according to the United Nations, which expects their number to rise to 1.1 million by June if the war continues.
Read more: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2013/Jan-17/202575-jordan-seeking-aid-boost-for-syrian-refugees.ashx#ixzz2IMAulMyb
(The Daily Star: Lebanon News: http://www.dailystar.com.lb)
Please pray for them and for the provision of these needs by the international community through the government, the U.N., humanitarian agencies. Pray also that many of them will come to the knowledge of the Lord during this difficult ordeal for them and their nation. May a just peace and order be restored to Syria soon!
Syria: Christians Affected by Continuing Violence
“Syrian Christians have requested our prayers concerning the continuing violence in their country. Thousands of Syrians, including large numbers of Christians, have fled from their homes, especially in the Homs and Hama governorates and more recently Damascus and Aleppo. There have been reports of the targeting of Christians by both government and opposition sides.
Several prominent Syrian Christians have been killed recently, including Defence Minister General Dawoud Rajha (assassinated in an attack on the National Security Offices in Damascus on 18th July) and Brigader-General Nabil Zougheib (assassinated along with his wife and son at their home in a Christian neighbourhood of Damascus on 21st July).
Most Church leaders point out that any such targeting is not religiously motivated but is either politically motivated or is criminal activity for economic gain. Many Christians fear that radical Islamist groups are becoming more influential, and that this may lead to increased hostility towards Christians and other minorities. They fear that they may become more vulnerable to criminal activity, including kidnapping-for-ransom incidents.
Throughout the ongoing unrest, Syrian Christians have faced a dilemma of allegiance. They regard the current regime as having been a protector for many years and fear that any replacement regime is likely to prove more hostile. Yet along with others in Syria, they know that open allegiance to either the government or to the opposition could bring retaliation from the other side.
Syrian Christians request our prayers that:
a. Christians will know the protection of the Father, the inner peace of Jesus, and the daily guidance of the Spirit
b. Church leaders will know the Spirit’s guidance concerning public worship and private pastoral support of their congregations
c. The bereaved, wounded, and traumatized will know the comfort, presence, and healing touch of Jesus
d. There will be an end to violence by all parties and that a just resolution and constructive reform will follow
e. Many will know the love and forgiveness of Jesus
f. In the long term, there will be greater religious freedom for all citizens.”
Syrian Disaster Grows as Syrians Executed for Talking to UN
The Syrian regime appears to be sinking to new lows with reports of security forces executing Syrians who speak to UN observers. The military also reportedly is halting violence against towns for visits by UN observers but then resuming attacks as soon as UN personnel depart. Syrians have become so frustrated at the inability of the UN observers to stop the violence that activist videos have surfaced mocking them as useless.
Urgent Terror Alert – Syria’s WMD Programs
LIGNET has uncovered information suggesting Syria could provide Iran with sensitive nuclear technology and a secret stockpile of uranium to assist in the building of weapons of mass destruction. This is an urgent concern as the United States watches the situation in Syria deteriorate and terrorist groups like al Qaeda get a foothold.
The United States must start thinking about how to secure Syria’s nuclear program and to locate the missing uranium and nuclear weapons-related technology before they can find their way into the hands of the Iranians or terrorist groups, LIGNET Managing Editor Fred Fleitz said in an interview this week.
“If Assad thinks he’s in danger, he just may decide to transfer some technology, or maybe some uranium, to Iran,” Fleitz said of the Syrian president, who has earned international opprobrium for his brutal crackdown on the opposition.
“Now in terms of falling into the hands of terrorist groups, that is a real worry. The worry that militia groups could seize these weapons, such as militias in Libya did after that conflict, is a real concern.”
Excerpted from www.lignet.com
Syria Needs Our Prayers
In the midst of pain, they find God.
From our believing brothers and sisters in Damascus, needing our prayers came this prayer request. Will you join us in praying for all those in Syria and elsewhere suffering under violence and trusting in Jesus to keep them....pray especially for those who do not yet have hope in Jesus after this life! So many still need to know His love!
Please pray that many will hear the truth and accept it.
· Pray that God will change the heart of those extremists who are coming to Damascus from other Muslim countries to fight. Pray that they will leave Syria with the message of the Gospel. Just like Paul, as he was heading to Damascus to persecute the Christians but later he left Damascus with the Gospel of hope.
· Pray for those who are being persecuted for their faith.
Brutality in Syria Creates Humanitarian Crisis
Mission News Network – 19 March 2012
The crisis in Syria has created a flood of refugees. According to the United Nations, the number fleeing the regime's wrath has risen by several thousand in the past few days and now tops 34,000. Their most recent numbers show that hundreds of thousands are thought to be displaced within Syria. Bill Bray with Christian Aid Mission (http://www.mnnonline.org/groups/CAM) says, "Almost every day, we're getting new reports of increasing numbers of refugees and increasing sacrifice being made by the Christian community in the surrounding countries to reach out."
Most of the poor refugees, made up of nominal Christian and other minorities, are fleeing to neighboring countries where the reception has been chilly. "They are trying to contain the refugee crisis, and displaced persons within Syria and not welcoming them across their borders. All the borders are mined and armed--protected. They don't want a huge rush of refugees from Syria coming into their countries.
"God uses times of crisis to soften hearts to the gospel," added the Christian Aid staff spokesman. "This may be a time of harvest among Muslim and Christian refugees. God is sovereign. He cares for Muslims. Countries in the Middle East are going through great upheaval. Now many Muslims are turning to Christ. Maybe the long turmoil in Syria is God's way of bringing this about."
· Pray for strength for the Christian community and wisdom in dealing with the government and local police officials. A lot of these people are illegal immigrants, they're undocumented; there are no jobs for them so we need to pray for the Christian community as they try to integrate these refugees into their churches and into the community."
· Pray for continued open doors for the Gospel.
· Pray that God will cause seeds of the Gospel to grow.
· Ask God to provide the resources for this response.
Read full article http://www.mnnonline.org/article/16959
Urgent Prayer for Christians in Syria
From Open Doors UK:
“ From a very reliable source, we received the following message. Please join us in Prayer for our brothers and sisters in Syria. We've all seen and heard about the uprisings in the Arab world. The Middle East is heating up for better or for worse. We talk about fighting for democracy, desiring to see all ethnic groups obtain it, and even children seek some type of democracy of their own. It takes a huge amount of hatred and ignorance for anyone to refuse such democracy, and yet in the mind of fundamentalists and extremists, there is no room for it. This is the struggle of Christians in the Middle East, especially those living in Syria.
The last few months have been some of the hardest times for Christians in Syria, in the fight against corruption. They have united together to support the call to change. Things began to heat up in the streets, and the effort to fight corruption turned into power struggles, where sects in Islam are fighting each other, trying to take control, forcing their beliefs on one another.
Many slogans have been heard throughout the revolution. One in particular goes something like this, “Take the Christian man to the grave and their women to bed.” Hearing hundreds of men in the streets, chanting against Christians, has brought fear into their lives. Fear for the safety of their women and young children. It has come down to a battle for existence, all because of what they believe. Many stories of Christians being attacked and killed, woman being kidnapped and raped, are being heard throughout Syria. All in the name of Islam and of “Democracy!!”
· For an end to the blood shed and that any change of government will lead to greater freedom for the people of Syria.
· That the rights of Christians and other religious minorities will be protected
· That the church will have strength to stand firm and bring the light of Christ to their nation.”
Pray for Syria
The United Nations says more than 5,000 people have died as the Syrian government tries to crush the 9-month-old uprising there. Now, a pan-Arab body is calling for the immediate withdrawal of Arab League Monitors in Syria because the government has continued to kill opponents in spite of the monitors’ presence. The monitors are supposed to be ensuring that Syria complies with the Arab League’s plan to end Syria’s bloody suppression of dissent—a plan that the Syrian government agreed to already. Advocates said more than 150 people have been killed since the observers began their mission on last week.
Please pray that the Syrian government will heed the calls of the Arab League and the others in the international community “to remove its security forces and heavy weapons from cities, start talks with the opposition, allow human rights wrokers and journalists into the counrty, and release all political prisoners.” Pray for Christ’s peace and transformation of this important nation in a tumultuous region.
Syria, July 2011
Syria in Revolt
Reuters News Agency reported that Syrian security forces shot dead at least 34 demonstrators in the Syrian town of Hama on Friday, as once again protesters were mown down as they left Friday’s noon prayers. The revolt against President Bashar al-Assad is in its 11th week and security forces, including snipers, fired into a crowd of thousands in an attempt to bring it to an end. “The firing began from rooftops on the demonstrators. I saw scores of people falling in Assi square and the streets and alleyways branching out. Blood was everywhere,” a witness who gave his name as Omar told Reuters from Hama. “It looked to me as if hundreds of people have been injured, but I was in a panic and wanted to find cover.” Funerals for the martyrs have already started, “he said. History may be repeating itself in Hama, where Bashar’s father, Hafez, slaughtered at least 30,000 of his own citizens in 1982, in order to suppress a revolt…
According to human rights groups, security forces have killed more than 1,000 civilians since March. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who originally called Assad a “reformer” has said that his legitimacy “had nearly run out.” Although the United States has joined NATO operations in Libya aimed at toppling Qaddafi, who has also killed his own citizens, no similar actions have been announced against Assad. The EU, Australia, and the United States have passed sanctions against the regime. Assad has responded to this continuing revolt against his rule with violence accompanied by promises of reforms, which protestors have dismissed as irrelevant. The media blackout instituted by the regime has made a mockery of those promises, and news is dependent on activists who manage to communicate via the web. A 13-year-old boy, Hamza al-Khatib, who is said to have been tortured to death, has become the symbol of the human rights outrages perpetrated by Assad’s forces. His picture is seen at protests.
From: “Anneli Dietz” Subject: Syria Bloody Friday in Hama, Syria as History Repeats Itself by INN Staff
Please pray for a just government to arise that will serve the people and that the current oppression by Assad’s administration will cease.
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