“We welcome any agreement that creates peace in the area,” says Pastor George, a church leader at an Alliance church in Qamishli, northern Syria, who works with partners of Open Doors in the region. “We had a prayer meeting [on Tuesday] for the country; it was at 6 p.m., during the last few hours before the end of the ultimatum that the Turkish government gave to the Kurds. We trusted God that He would protect us and not allow anything bad to happen to us.”
Tuesday night brought some clarity, though as has often happened in Syria over the last decade, that “clarity” is complicated and involves lots of countries. The main development is that Turkey signed an agreement with Russia—a close ally of the Syrian government—that ensures Turkey’s military actions will stop, and Russia and Syria will make certain that Kurdish forces will stay behind a 20-mile “buffer zone” south of the Syrian-Turkish border.
For Christians, this was a welcome development. “We prayed hard for so long, and [on Tuesday] night we heard about the agreement between Russia and Turkey,” Pastor George says, “to give the Kurdish troops another 150 hours and to create a border line between Syria and Turkey where Russian and Syrian soldiers will do joint patrols on the borders, whereas Qamishli will stay as it is, peaceful and safe.”