111 people died in what’s being called the bloodiest day since the Arab Spring took its grip on Syria in March.
According to reports, more than 250 people died in clashes Monday and Tuesday. The White House condemned the latest violence in Syria on Wednesday, charging that Bashar al-Assad’s regime has no credibility even as it signed on to an Arab League initiative to stem the internal strife.
The violence is having a direct impact on Christians in the country. According to Operation World, approximately 6% of Syria’s population is Christian. Middle East/Central Asia Director for E3 Partners, Tom Doyle, says, “Nobody knows whether to even go out of the house. There is a military presence all over. There have been several people who were innocent going to the store, and they were gunned down. There are curfews. There’s not clear communication on what they can and can’t do. So, there’s a lot of fear. Believers have been grouping together praying.”
According to Doyle, Christians are asking for prayer. “We even just got a few messages from believers that said it had been blood in the streets, war in major cities, and the government is showing no mercy. It’s like gang warfare with all these groups.”
Doyle says most believers aren’t sure what would be the best form of government in Syria. “Unfortunately, it may end up being Assad,” he says, “with some of these groups that are trying to take over. There’s been just brutality in the streets from some of these hard-line Muslim groups. Those are the guys who are trying to take over. Assad is bad enough, but it could get worse.”
Despite the uncertainty, ministry is taking place. Christians are taking in Muslim families who are struggling. “They see Muslims killing Muslim, and every bit of security seems to be ripped away from them. So in the midst of this, God moves in uncertainty and He becomes the Rock in the midst of the country turmoil. So, some awesome things in ministry have happened.”
Doyle believes these are interesting spiritual times for the region, especially since the unrest is being driven by young people. “Many of them are not getting jobs. They’re frustrated with their religion. This is an open time for us. This is a crack in Islam’s foundation that Christians need to aggressively pray for and get involved. You can give, you can help out, because God is moving in the midst of all this chaos.”
E3 Partners will be releasing a new book to help you pray for the Middle East. It’s called, “Desperation.” Be watching for the book here on Mission Network News in the weeks ahead.
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