Dozens of people were killed in a surge of violent exchanges between government forces and rebels in recent weeks in Aleppo, Syria. During an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council, the UN Humanitarian Chief said that hundreds of civilians have been killed or injured in indiscriminate attacks over the past ten days in what he called “the carnage of Aleppo”.
“Never, since the beginning of this terrible war, were things as bad as they are now. I have no words to describe all the suffering I see on a daily basis,” a Syrian church leader says. After a lull of attacks in Aleppo, Syria, the situation in the city has taken a more dramatic turn in the past several days.
April 26 was “a bloody day in Aleppo” said a Christian man in the city. “Many shells covered one side of the city. Tens of injuries; 17 were killed. Suleymaniye was hit as well. It is a Christian area.” On May 3, 2016, a maternity hospital in a government-controlled area was hit by rebel fire, killing at least three people. This came days after another hospital was hit in rebel-held east of Aleppo in a deadly government airstrike.
“Some of the busiest streets in Suleymaniye are empty after what has happened. All the shops are closed. I heard from my friend that he saw just three or four people on a street that normally is crowded. I urged him to stay inside,” said another local.
Bishop Antoine Audo from the Chaldean Church in Aleppo, recently reported that in only five years of conflict and persecution, the Christian population in Syria has been reduced by two-thirds, from 1.5 million to only 500 000 today. According to him, the situation in Aleppo is even worse than in the rest of Syria, with only a quarter of the Christian population remaining since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011.
Elsewhere in the region, the Islamic State has taken over large parts, putting tens of thousands of people to flight in both Syria and Iraq.
On May 8, this past Sunday, Syrian churches, across all denominations, joined forces in prayer and fasting for the Lord’s mighty intervention in their country. Please continue to stand in prayer with our brothers and sisters in Syria, ranked #5 on the Open Doors 2016 World Watch List of places where Christian persecution is worst.