|Sources of Persecution||Islamic Oppression|
|Government||Authoritarian Presidential Republic|
|Leader||President Bashar al-Assad|
Even though Christians have been in Syria since the first century, Islam is now the main religion. Since the war broke out in 2011, Islamic extremist groups previously oppressed by the government have been able to operate more openly. The Islamic State, well known for their violent persecution of Christians, are one of many groups seeking to remove Christianity from Syria.
Many Christians in Syria have been targeted in violent attacks and forced to flee the country. In areas controlled by Islamic extremists, most historic churches have been either demolished or turned into Islamic centres. Public expressions of Christian faith are prohibited and church buildings or monasteries cannot be repaired.
Persecution is worst for those who leave Islam to become a Christian. They are pressured to renounce Jesus, as their new faith dishonours the family.
“Sometimes we have fear, we have frustration. Definitely, we experience depression sometimes, but at the end of the day we chose to stay because it’s the Lord’s calling for us.” – Rana, from Syria.
Although many Christians have left the country, some Christians still choose to stay in Syria. They are serving their communities in the midst of war.
Through local partners we are discipling leaders, providing emergency relief, trauma counselling and Bible distribution so the church in Syria can be strengthened and continue to share the gospel, even in the ongoing crisis.
Pray that those who persecute the Christians in Syria will experience the love of God and have a change of heart.
Pray for the believers who choose to stay in Syria, that the joy of the Lord will be their strength in the midst of persecution.