Alarm over exodus of Christians from Syria

The Religious Liberty Partnership has expressed concerns about the plight of minorities in Syria and is calling for prayers.

The alliance of Christian organisations from over 20 countries is urging the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria to pay particular attention to the country's "vulnerable ethnic and religious minorities".

They want the international community "to provide sufficient protection for all ethnic and religious communities as well as their historical, religious, and cultural sites".

The alliance warns of an "exodus" of Christians as well as other ethnic or religious minorities from Syria because of the violence.

"We believe the international community must act now to protect them. And we are calling on Christian leaders around the world to unite in calling for prayer for peace for this troubled nation," said the alliance in a joint statement.

The statement comes at the end of a meeting of the Religious Liberty Partnership in Istanbul, Turkey.

In addition to greater protections, the RLP is urging the global church to designate World Refugee Sunday on 23 June as a special day of prayer for Christians in Syria.

Christians are also being asked to write to the UN Special Envoy for Syria to ensure protection for ethnic and religious minorities.

Mervyn Thomas, chairman of the Religious Liberty Partnership and chief executive of Christian Solidarity Worldwide said: "We urge Christian leaders around the world to respond to this call to prayer and action now in order to bring peace and stability to this troubled nation."

The Religious Liberty Partnership leadership team includes Godfrey Yogarajah, of the World Evangelical Alliance, Ron Boyd-Macmillan, of Open Doors International, Andy Dipper, of Viva, and Daniel Hoffman of Middle East Concern.