WHO IS THE LEADER OF SYRIA?
President Bashar al-Assad is the leader of Syria.
HOW MANY CHRISTIANS LIVE IN SYRIA?
814,000 Christians live in Syria. They make up 4.5 per cent of the total population of 18.3 million.
WHY ARE CHRISTIANS PERSECUTED IN SYRIA?
As the conflict in Syria continues, Islamic extremists still have control over areas of Syria. Anyone who doesn’t conform to their extreme brand of Islam is a target to these groups.
WHAT IS LIFE LIKE FOR CHRISTIANS IN SYRIA?
In areas controlled by Islamic extremists, Christians are forced to pay protection money, must follow a strict dress code and dietary rules, and cannot express their faith publicly.
In other areas of Syria, the leaders of historical churches are targets for abduction – they are very recognisable because of their clothes. Christians are sometimes kidnapped for ransom.
Believers from Muslim backgrounds face pressure from their families, as leaving Islam is seen as a huge source of shame.
Despite the challenges they face, Christians in Syria are shining as a light in the darkness of war. Open Doors local church partners are providing vital aid for 12,000 vulnerable families.
Ghassan is one of Open Doors local church partners in Aleppo. He says, "My bishop was kidnapped in April 2013, my church was destroyed, and my house was bombed. My two sons left the country, my wife died of cancer and I lost two of my close family members because of the bombings.” And yet, he has chosen to stay in Syria to serve his community. He says, "The role of the church is not only having the services - we welcome the people and we try to help solve their problems. The needs of the people are very big; we’re trying to meet their needs. It’s God mercy that I stayed, that we stayed.”
"When we give a loaf of bread, the love of Christ is written on it."
- Ghassan, church leader
HOW CAN I HELP CHRISTIANS IN SYRIA?
You can give to provide vital support
Through local church partners, Open Doors supports the church in Syria with Bibles, training, relief aid, trauma care and helping displaced Christians to rebuild their homes and livelihoods.
Every £26 could provide a monthly emergency relief pack for a family in Syria.
You can tell others
The story of Ghassan, a church leader who has chosen to stay in Syria and serve his community through years of war, is included in our free Can you believe it? pack. Order yours and inspire your church or small group with stories of faith, hope and love.
You can pray
Brother Andrew, the founder of Open Doors, says, “Our prayers can go where we cannot... There are no borders, no prison walls, no doors that are closed to us when we pray.”
A PRAYER FOR SYRIA
Heavenly Father, we ask for Your peace in Syria. Bring an end to war and violence there, that Your people may flourish. Be with all those who have no place to call home. Strengthen Your church, our family, that they may continue to bring Your hope to their communities.