On the night of Monday 18th July, gunmen opened fire on a church in Qamishli, in the far north-east of Syria. The attackers then stole offering boxes from the church before before detonating explosives inside the building.
Militants from Islamic State (ISIL) are suspected of carrying out the attack.
“The church was completely destroyed, you can see only ashes here,” an eyewitness told local press.
Qamishli was already home to a substantial Christian minority before the outbreak of the Syrian conflict, and has, increasingly, become a place of refuge for Christians. Just last month, the town saw a surge of newly displaced believers arrive, resulting from ISIL’s capture of parts of the town of Hassake, which is 50 miles to the south of Qamishli.
The security situation is extremely fragile, as control of the town is divided between Kurdish militia and Syrian government forces, who have had an agreed, but uneasy, truce since April. Meanwhile, ISIL controls territory to the south of Qamishli.
In June, an ISIL suicide bomber killed two Christians in a failed attempt to assassinate Patriarch Aphrem II, the head of the Syriac Orthodox Church, and Christians in Qamishli have also been the targets of multiple suicide and grenade attacks by ISIL militants.
- Pray for the town of Qamishli and the surrounding region, for protection for the Christians who have found refuge there, that it may indeed be a place of peace and safety for them to live without fear.
- Pray for Christians across Syria, who are often targeted by government bombing raids as well as by ISIL. Pray that they will not lose their faith, but rather, hold onto the only One who can restore hope and life to this nation and their lives again.
- Pray for a move of the Holy Spirit across this nation, for an end to the conflict, for restoration for its people, and for many to come to know the healing grace and love of Jesus Christ.
Isaiah 42 vs 3 – 4: “a bruised reed he will not break, and a dimly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice. He will not grow faint or be crushed until he has established justice in the earth;“