“These last weeks were the toughest in Aleppo since the conflict started,” one of our partners said recently. In June there was heavy bombing in Midian, where the local project office is, for several consecutive days. “We are thankful that no one from our teams got hurt,” he said, “but many people lost their homes… and asked for help and shelter as our office is just around the corner.”
There are 4 million internally displaced people in Syria, and an estimated 500,000 Christians have fled their homes since the conflict in the country began. These refugees continue to be in desperate need of shelter, food, and other basic supplies. “There is no water and electricity in most of the project areas these days, sometimes for one, two weeks or even more,” another partner said.
Open Doors is supporting 9,000 families in Syria every month through our partners and local churches, providing food, medical supplies and Bibles. We were also able to distribute clothes to over 1,900 children in Aleppo, Damascus and Hasaka through our partners. When one mother came to collect clothes for her children, she cried. “My son hasn’t had any new clothes since the conflict started three years ago.”
As the conflict continues, people are beginning to adjust to the state of war. “Every day we have grenades exploding in Jaramana and Bab Touma [neighbourhoods where many Christians live in Damascus] but life goes on,” one young Syrian told an Open Doors fieldworker. He is working with refugees who have fled to Damascus from other parts of the country. “Sometimes a Muslim family is totally surprised when we as Christians visit them, facing the danger outside,” his friend added.
Radical groups such as IS have also gained power in parts of Syria, and they have even put Islamic law in place in Raqqa and other places. It is expected that as IS approach Christian and Alawite villages in the countryside of Homs that even more Syrians will be forced to flee their homes. One partner in Aleppo told us, “The fact that extremists have taken over Iraq and control large areas in central Syria is a matter of great concern for all.”
However, there have been some victories over extremists, he said: “In Afrin our project leader and his family suffered from a serious threat by Islamist extremists. However, Kurdish forces intervened and are now protecting him and his fellowship every week… they often experience God’s wonderful intervention and supernatural peace.”
It can be hard for people in Syria to imagine what the future holds. “Me and the team, we live day by day. We can’t think of the future,” said one pastor, whose church is supplying hundreds of refugees with food and medicine with the help of Open Doors.
However, they are thankful for the support they have received from their church family around the world. “Thank you in the name of these families. Because of your support we can help them with basic physical needs but also their spiritual needs. Your prayer and your support are leading to good results. God is using what we sow and plant.”
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.