Syria has been undergoing a bloody and destructive civil war for over four years. From the besieged city of Aleppo, Pastor Samuel (pseudonym) has been giving regular insights into what Syrian Christians face on a daily basis.
On April 26 after the worship service, the people went home safely. But after a few hours a lot of shooting started and rockets came down at different places. The following day we found out that the rebels were targeting several Christian churches. They came as close as 330 yards from our church.
Rockets were exploding everywhere. We could hear the noise of bombing and shooting the entire time. The smell of gunpowder filled the houses. Dust of the collapsing buildings covered the streets.
Families were shocked, not knowing what to do and not knowing where to go or where to stay. The people in the houses stayed far from the windows and doors because of the many explosions.
We as Christians continue our prayers. We pray that God will do miracles. People are crying; some tremble out of fear as the rockets shake the buildings. The people have no more strength to stand firm.
Added to all this, the situation in Aleppo was already very bad. There is no work. We face shortages of water and electricity. And since the middle of March there has been no Internet.
Families ask where they will find safety. When people stay in their homes, they don’t know if the building will be hit by a rocket and collapse. When they are outside, there is the danger of explosions or bullets killing them in the streets, or the bricks of a collapsing building falling on them. The situation can’t get worse than this.
Many see no hope in the city; no reason to stay. People face the dilemma: stay and live in very hard and risky circumstances and waiting to die, or leave the city. For me as a pastor, besides facing the same circumstances, my challenge is what to say. Unfortunately, I can’t give standard answers. I don’t know what is best. What about the elderly people, the families that have small children? What about all those who have no financial means to leave the city? The others, who had the money to leave, have already left.
I continue to pray that the Lord will give me mercy, hope and peace, but also the wisdom how to help the people to make the proper decision and how to give them His hope.
Syria is ranked No. 4 on Open Doors’ 2015 World Watch List of the worst persecutors of Christians. Approximately 4 million Syrians have left the country. That includes approximately 45 percent (700,000) from the Christian community. Inside Syria there are 6.5 million Internally Displaced Persons. Open Doors continues to work with churches and Christian partners in Syria to provide food, clothing, medical supplies and trauma counseling.
Compiled by Jerry Dykstra. For media inquiries, contact Christine Cape at 404-545-0085 or Christy Lynn Wilson at 770-401-9842.