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The Pope has called for a day of prayer and fasting for Syria today, and Syrian church leaders have welcomed and endorsed that call. The Pope condemned the use of chemical weapons and all other forms of violence, and appealed for a negotiated settlement rather than military intervention.
The Syrian crisis is increasingly complex. The August 21 chemical weapons attack was a particularly heinous example of the many atrocities committed by many different groups. Widespread violence between Government and various opposition groups continues, between Kurdish groups and opposition groups, and clashes between different opposition groups. These have affected the major cities of Damascus, Aleppo and Homs.
The death toll continues to rise and the number of displaced people grows ever larger. The most reliable estimates suggest that at least 4 million are displaced within the country and thatmore than 2 million are officially registered as refugees in neighbouring countries (many more have not officially registered).
Christians fear for their own communities based on clashes that affected them directly and in which they have been specifically targeted. Islamist opposition groups have great influence in several areas.
Syrian Christians are asking us to pray for their country, specifically that:
- Peace, justice & reconciliation would be established in Syria
- Calls for renewed effort to find a political solution will be heeded by all those in authority and with influence
- There will be effective provision for those internally displaced and for refugees
- The international community will stop using Syria as a way to pursue their own agendas and act only in the best interests of the Syrian people.
They are connecting with Syrians who have sought refuge in Jordan. They have circulated an audio version of the Gospel. Pray that these seeds would take root, and that these workers would be God’s hands and feet extended to their neighbors.
Some of this information originated with Middle East Concern, www.meconcern.org.