Urgent: ‘Pray for the fighting to stop’—Syrian believers call for prayer as firefights rage

April 23, 2021 by Lindy Lowry in Persecution updates

“Sisters and brothers, … we haven’t slept since yesterday. Many of Christian families are displaced to another area. Please pray for us for the fighting to stop and for the protection of the church.”

This urgent request comes from one of Open Doors ministry partners in Qamishli in northern Syria. Fighting between the Kurdish militia and Syria’s National Defense Forces has broken out less than a mile from the neighborhood in northeast Qamishli where most Christians live. In the background, one can hear gunshots and an explosion. Listen below:

On Wednesday, Christians in the city called on the international Church to pray for them. Pastor George Moushi—one of our partners, who runs a Center of Hope in Qamishli—shared: “A violent fight broke out last night [April 20] … There were fatalities on both sides; the firing was going on all night with only occasional short periods [of] quiet. A few church members live near the fighting.

“Everyone is fine, but they are in real danger of random shooting. I asked my church members to stay at home and not leave for any reason. They are now in their houses and praying for peace.

According to the Christians  in Qamishli we spoke to and to local news outlets, the hostilities started in al-Tai neighborhood, bordering the area where most Christians live in predominantly Kurdish Qamishli. Already, several fighters and some civilians have been killed.

“Kurdish militia want to take control of the al-Tai neighborhood using heavy weapons and artillery,” reports an Open Doors source in Qamishli (because of security, we can’t identify him). “We haven’t slept since yesterday, but we’re fine. We are about one kilometer [a little more than half a mile] from the war site. Please pray for us.”

Over the last 10 years, the Christian church in Qamishli and throughout Syria have endured ongoing conflict, including ISIS occupation, the Syrian Civil War and extremist violence. In fall 2019 during the Turkish incursion, believers in Qamishli, including Pastor George’s congregation were in the path of bombs dropped by Turkey’s military.

Once again, Pastor George asks us to remember his church and city: “Please pray for us, that God will intervene and calm the situation. Because of prayer, we feel we are not alone.”

Open Doors partners are watching and monitoring the situation closely—preparing to provide shelter and basic needs to Christians who become displaced.

Praying with believers in Qamishli

Ask God to intervene and for peace to come to Qamishli and the surrounding areas.

Pray for wisdom for Pastor George and other leaders as they  lead their churches and exemplify Christ’s love during these dangerous and unstable times.

Pray the church in Syria would be strengthened and protected.

Syria and Iraq are still recovering from ISIS and war—Christians left the countries in droves, and many haven’t returned. We are standing with our brothers and sisters in our seven-year campaign aimed to restore hope to the church in the Middle East. Join the Hope4 the Middle East campaign. 

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