• Pray for a swift end to the horrific civil war with people of peace rising to leadership.
• Pray for Jesus to reveal Himself to the millions of Muslims displaced by the war.
• Pray for the Church to be protected and expanded amid hostility.
Nestled between Turkey and Lebanon, modern-day Syria has boasted a population of over 22 million people, 90% of which are Arabs. Damascus, its capital, is considered to be the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world. Syria's location on the fertile Mediterranean coast has historically made agriculture and tourism a critical part of its struggling economy. Numerous coups and political instability have been the norm and led Hafez al-Assad to power in 1970.
But in 2011 Syria’s fragile stability unraveled. Pro-democracy protests erupted, eventually becoming nationwide. Masses of Syrians demanded the resignation of President Bashar al-Assad. As the unrest continued, violence escalated and the country descended into civil war. Since 2011, hundreds of thousands have lost their lives and millions have been forced from their homes, leading to a mass humanitarian crisis of historic proportions.
As the Islamic State (IS) gained momentum, it capitalized on the instability and chaos of Syria, starting a “war within a war” – taking control of huge areas across northern and eastern Syria. IS has brought nothing but terror and suffering to an already terrorized people.
Syria is in desperate need of the peace that only Christ can bring. Islam is the religion of the majority, even though Syria has been a secular state since its independence from France in 1946. Before the infiltration of the Islamic State and this bloody civil war, Syrian Christians enjoyed more freedom and stability than many of the surrounding nations. But today Syria is among the most persecuted nations on earth, as the Islamic State has kidnapped, tortured, and killed followers of Jesus in the regions they claim.
But out of the ashes of death, new life is rising. Though many believers have fled the nation seeking safety, God continues drawing Syrians to Himself. Like the faith-filled New Testament church of Antioch before them, may today’s small and persecuted Syrian body of believers rediscover the zeal and faith of their fathers to cause Christ's love and hope to be poured out on a nation in great turmoil.
Source: Syriac Orthodox Hymn "Shlom Lekh": ProjectSyriac
Capital City: Damascus
Major People Groups: 92% Arab, 7% Kurd, 1% Armenian
Religion: 90% Muslim, 5% Christian, 2% Non
GDP Per Capita: $4,100
Literacy Rate: 79.6%