Syria Facts

Score: 76 / 100
Region: Middle East
Persecution Type: Islamic Oppression
Persecution Level: Very High
Population: 18,907,000
Christians: 899,000
Main Religion: Islam
Government: Presidential Republic; Highly Authoritarian Regime
Leader: President Bashar al-Assad

Profile of Persecution Methodology

Violence 22%
Church Life 88%
National Life 86%
Community Life 84%
Family Life 86%
Private Life 86%

Where Persecution Comes From

Christians in Syria experience persecution at the hands of Islamic militant groups, family members, government authorities and Islamic leaders. In June 2014, the Islamic State group (IS) declared a caliphate covering large parts of Syria, implementing a strict form of Sharia law. Earlier that same year, Christians were forced to sign a “dhimmi contract,” forcing them to give up their basic rights and religious freedom. Syrian society has radicalized quickly, especially in areas controlled by IS and other radical Islamic groups. Government authorities are known to restrict the activities of evangelical Christians, while the families of converts cause persecution within the home.

How Christians are Suffering

All Christians in Syria are experiencing persecution in one form or another. Historical churches have been demolished or converted into Islamic centers, while their leaders are targeted for abduction or attack due to their public exposure. Meanwhile, congregations in other denominations, including Baptists, Evangelicals and Pentecostals, are easy targets for attack due to their fragmentation. Pressure is especially strong in areas controlled by radical Islamic groups; in these areas, Christians are severely restricted in the practice of their faith. Something as minor as singing out loud poses great danger. Christians in these areas are forced to adhere to the Islamic dress code, pay protection money and keep Islamic dietary restrictions, including a ban on alcohol.


A Christian leader with a Druze background has been interrogated by the security services and is being monitored. Many are coming to faith through him. Although there has been no direct threat against his life, some converts in his church are being threatened by their extended families.

A female Christian with a Druze background from the southern province of Sweida is currently hiding in Lebanon. When she converted, her young daughter was taken away from her, and her family threatened to kill her.

Pray for Syria

  • Pray for peace negotiations. The current war is extremely complex and civilians are suffering greatly. Up until now, the peace negotiations have seemed to go nowhere, yet still they continue. Pray for a true turnaround for this country.
  • Because the war keeps raging on in Syria,  basic necessities are in incredible demand. Please pray that our brothers and sisters will remain encouraged by the help they receive. Also, pray for spiritual encouragement and strength.
  • Pray for the Syrian government, that leaders will make decisions that are good for the Syrian people and for the future of the country.

Stories from Syria

December 29, 2017

2017’s Top 10 Most-Read Stories From the Persecuted Church

Throughout the world, 2017 was a difficult, yet also hopeful, year for the persecuted church. Take some time to look…


December 22, 2017

A Dangerous and Difficult Season for Thousands of Christians

For persecuted Christians around the world, Christmas brings increased persecution and requires greater caution.


December 21, 2017

Petitions, the United Nations and a God Who Sees

Open Doors UK CEO Lisa Pierce shares why advocacy is such an important part of the work Open Doors' does--and…