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Christians in Kurdish-controlled Syria fear for their safety

23 January 2018

The city of Afrin in the North of Syria is under attack by the Turkish military and its allies. A church in Afrin has issued a plea for protection from the international community.

The Church of the Good Shepherd, one of the local churches in the Afrin, asked today for prayer for an end to the attacks on their city and urged the international community to stop the bombings and protect the citizens of Afrin.

Pastor Valentin Hanan of the Church of the Good Shepherd, said, “We are at this moment under heavy shelling, and Islamic groups are threatening to enter the area.”

The Turkish Prime Minister, Binali Yildirim, said the aim was to establish a 30 km ‘safe zone’ deep inside Syria.

Reverend Abdalla Homsi, pastor of the Evangelical Christian Alliance Church of Aleppo, said “We condemn the unjustified Turkish aggression against our Syrian citizens from the Kurdish background who were safely and peacefully living in Afrin. We plea all humanitarian and international organizations to exercise maximum pressure to stop this criminal act.

“This brutal bombardment and assault of the civilian population will inevitably lead to a tragedy, a new humanitarian catastrophe, and a wave of displacement and suffering that will deepen the wounds of our wounded Syrian homeland. We hope that all of us will participate in prayer, and ask our God to protect and deter evil.”

Over 200 families attend the Church of the Good Shepherd. Many families from the church have fled the city, others are in shelters. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, 22 civilians have died in Turkish air and artillery strikes.

The Turkish military launched its Operation Olive Branch offensive on Saturday to oust from the region Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) that it considers a terrorist group.

A spokesperson for Open Doors said, “It’s a tragedy to see more bloodshed unfolding in Syria. We will be asking our supporters and Christians around the world to unite in prayer for a peaceful outcome.” 

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