Report from a ministry in Aleppo, Syria

January 15, 2012

Aleppo, Syria´s largest city, has been fought over by all sides of this civil war. Large minorities of Christian Arabs, Syrians, Assyrians and Armenians live in Aleppo. At times life in Aleppo is quite peaceful but now, all live under great tension. Electricity is available only one or two hours a day. Refrigeration, regular communications and business activities are impossible. Even simple things like bread, when it is available, now cost 12 times its price prior to the revolution. Inflation has sent prices soaring, especially for heating fuel, critical now in winter.

As the societal structures have broken down, Christians, as the body of Christ, are holding together as native pastors and workers provide help and spiritual strength. While everything in the society surrounding believers seems hopeless, they remain faithful anchoring their hope and encouragement in Christ.

Christians rarely leave their homes or neighborhoods for fear of kidnappers, snipers and mortar fire. Most of the historic and industrial neighborhoods, where Christians worked before the civil war began in October, have collapsed in the turmoil.

Christians have suffered deliberate attacks on church buildings. More churches and Christian institutions have been destroyed in the last two months than in the last 100 years, breaking down of the relative peace attained by Christian communities between the various faiths before the start of the civil war. Local ministry leaders report that the rebel army is clearly reorganizing the surrounding cities under Sharia law. Newly appointed "emirs," or "ruler princes," are the new leaders controlling suburban and outlying towns along the lines of similar Sharia Taliban-led areas in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The fighting has taken its toll in many ways. One Christian leader stated: "I´m most concerned for my son. Like all the children here he is getting a big education in violence, learning about weapons and killing – seeing and hearing about beheadings – I am very sad."

Christian leaders in the community have made the distribution of aid and services such as counseling, evangelism and worship their primary focus during the fighting. Christian Aid is collecting and sending financial aid to native missionaries who provide assistance to Christian communities in Syria. These funds enable ministries to buy bottles of cooking gas, pay electric bills, purchase food and needed medicines, etc. When possible, Christians share the gospel with those who are without hope in Christ.

The believers in Aleppo find comfort in knowing that Christians around the world are praying for them.

Four Things to Pray For: