Barnabas Fund launches crisis appeal for Christians in Syria

Christians in Syria are “hungry and helpless” in the midst of fierce fighting between government forces and rebels.

The city of Homs continues to experience the worst of the fighting in spite of a resolution passed by the UN General Assembly on Thursday demanding an immediate halt to the violence.

The resolution also calls upon President Bashar al-Assad to resign and condemns human rights violations.

Barnabas Fund warned that around 100,000 Christians in Homs and the surrounding area were “trapped” by the fighting.

The cost of food and fuel has soared, while supplies are low. The charity said it was often too dangerous for people to go out in search of food.

Syria is home to around two million Christians, many of them Iraqi Christian refugees forced to flee their homeland because of attacks by militant Islamists.

Barnabas Fund said that more than 200 Christians had been killed in the conflict so far and that the Christian community had been beset by a series of kidnappings.

“The rebels make high ransom demands for the return of the captives, but in two known cases the victims’ bodies were found after the money had been paid," the charity said.

“Some families are now becoming so desperate that they tell the kidnappers to kill their loved one immediately rather than subjecting them to torture.”

Barnabas Fund is working with Christian partners in Syria to deliver urgent supplies to families in need.

The charity’s director, Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, has just returned from a visit to the Middle East where he met Syrian pastors and church leaders.

“Our brothers and sisters in Syria are in a desperate state, facing the daily struggle of trying to get enough food to feed their families while war rages all around them,” he said.

“And they are also understandably anxious about how this conflict is going to end and what that will mean for their future in the country.

“Please keep them in your prayers and give whatever you can to help alleviate their distress.”

Lifestyle