How many Christians are there in Syria?
744,000 Christians live in Syria, which is about four per cent of the population. That’s about 70,000 fewer Christians than in 2019, many of whom have fled because of the risk of being displaced by persecution and hardship.
Why are Christians persecuted in Syria?
Coronavirus is having a significant impact on the Middle East. Many believers, who were already vulnerable, have lost their jobs and have no money for food. They are often last in line when official food and aid is distributed - discriminated against because they follow Jesus.
Though conflict has abated in parts of Syria, there are still areas that are controlled by radical Islamic groups. Anyone who doesn’t conform to their extreme brand of Islam is a target to these groups, with church leaders particularly vulnerable to abduction. Believers from Muslim backgrounds face pressure from their families and communities, as leaving Islam is seen as a huge source of shame.
More recent attacks in north east Syria have left believers vulnerable to Islamic militants among the Turkish army.
“My faith in God is very big. I say to Him: ‘O Lord as You like, may Your will be done; O Lord, I just ask you to return my husband safe and sound.’”Jina
What’s life like for Christians in Syria?
Jina’s husband Rober was kidnapped for his faith in 2013. She and her young son, Abraham, are still waiting for him to come home. Another man was kidnapped and later released – he told Jina that Rober refused to convert to Islam: “Rober refused and said, ‘I have my God and that’s it.’”
Christians are kidnapped for ransom across Syria, and in areas controlled by Islamic extremists, they can’t express their faith publicly.
Despite continuing challenges, Christians are shining a light in the darkness of Syria. Open Doors partners with local churches, like Pastor Abdalla’s church in Aleppo, which operate as Centres of Hope. These centres are providing vital short-term aid for thousands of vulnerable families and also offer long-term support, including trauma care and business microloans.
How can I help Christians in Syria?
Please keep praying for your brothers and sisters in Syria. Your gifts and prayers make an enormous difference to those following Jesus no matter the cost.
Open Doors is encouraging the local church through raising prayer and strengthening its leadership to help them take advantage of the many opportunities for ministry, in the midst of the country’s ongoing crisis.
Lord God, please bring peace and protection to Syria. We pray for an end to conflict there, and safety for Your children. Please strengthen the local church to be a light in the darkness and hope for the Middle East.