Syria

World Watch List Rank: 15

Leader: President Bashar al-Assad

Population:  18.6 million (772,000 Christians)

Main Religion: Islam

Government: Republic

Source of Persecution: Islamic extremism

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"Lord, we pray for strength and energy for Pastors who are working to care for the people of Syria - a work that is often exhausting and traumatising"
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Visit Open Doors website to find out more about the situation in Syria

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Since the start of the civil war in 2011, 700,000 Christians have left Syria.

What began as a popular uprising with demands for political change has increasingly developed into a 'jihad' against the Syrian government. Islamic State (IS) have claimed parts of Syria for their 'caliphate' (Islamic state), and other radical groups such as Jabhat al-Nsura are also a threat.

Christians are frequently attacked, abducted and killed, and one Muslim cleric has declared that "raping Alawi or Christian women is not contrary to the precepts of Islam".

Thanks to our supporters, Open Doors has been working through local churches to support 9,000 families each month with food and hygiene kits. We have also provided believers with thousands of Bibles, as well as training for youth leaders and trauma counselling amongst other projects.

"I give huge thanks to you on behalf of these families for not forgetting us, and standing with us in the long term,” says Pastor Boutros still living in Syria, “even though the situation is difficult and prolonged, I thank you that you have continued with us. Through your partnership we are seeing beautiful results."

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