Bandaging the shrapnel wound of a woman caught in the crossfire, the doctor shook his head in disbelief. He hardly has had any respite since he began volunteering at the hospital in Damascus. In between tending to the incessant line of wounded, he recounted the horror of civil war.
“I do not recognize this place anymore,” he said before screaming sirens drew him away to the next group of victims in this gory three-year strife.
The road between Damascus and Aleppo is peppered with checkpoints, half of which are manned by the military and the remaining controlled by the rebels. Even within the city of Damascus, the divide is quite telling. While Bashar al-Assad’s military controls the middle of the city, much of the suburbs is under rebel control.
The United States and United Kingdom have asserted with some degree of confidence that Syria might have used chemical weapons such as the nerve gas sarin. The government in Syria has dismissed the allegations as not credible.
Even as the world watches with bated breath, many middle-east commentators believe that the end is not very far. The government forces led by al-Assad are launching offensive after offensive and rebels are returning fire for fire. And world players are beginning to align themselves with the warring factions.
The largest rebel group is the Free Syrian Army. It claims to support democracy. However even among the rebels there are splinter organizations with extreme and sometimes militant views. One such group is the Al-Nusra (The Front For The Defense Of The Syrian People). They have set up food distribution stations and Sharia courts in Aleppo. Even though they claim their attacks are retribution for the suffering inflicted on the people of Syria, their true aim is setting up an Islamic state. Recently al-Qaeda in Iraq claimed that Al-Nusra was part of its ranks, ending months of speculation about their jihadist motives.
Even as the Free Syrian Army distanced itself from Al-Nusra, the al-Qaeda connection causes great concerns to many in and outside the region. Syria continues to be in an extremely volatile situation even as world leaders take sides. Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey are stepping up arms supplies to rebels. Russia and Iran will only allow regime change as part of a balanced orderly transition. Diplomats say Iran has provided at least 12.6 billion USD in financial support to help the government in Syria.
In this highly unstable situation, Christian Believers, a minority in Syria, find themselves in a unique situation. They are targeted and will continue to be targeted no matter who wins this struggle. According to International Christian Concern, Christians have condemned the atrocities committed by the regime, but they widely chose not to take up arms and not to extend support to either of the two warring factions.
Emblematic of the predicament of Christians in Syria is the recent kidnapping of two orthodox archbishops by Syrian rebels as they returned from a humanitarian mission. Many Syrian Christians choose to remain in Syria in spite of increasing danger to their lives.
Pray for Christian Believers in Syria, pray for God’s protecting presence to envelop them against every force of darkness (The Bible, 2 Samuel 22:3-4).
Pray for wisdom from God for world leaders as they strive to broker a peace agreement between the regime and the rebels (The Bible, Proverbs 2:6).
Pray for a speedy return to normalcy in this nation torn by civil war (The Bible, Psalm 29:11).
Pray for strength and courage for Christians as they share their faith even at great risk to themselves (The Bible, Isaiah 41:10).