God is at work in Syria in the midst of the tragedy and suffering, according to OM. The mission reports several stories of ministry to Syrian refugees in Lebanon and Jordan, where care given by Christians, both nationals and expats, is opening hearts and providing opportunities to share the gospel.
One report said Syrian women are coming regularly to a centre to get food packages, but then staying for meetings where they hear about Jesus, with some of the women wanting to know more and more of the Bible. Arab Christians are also reaching out to their Muslim friends and neighbours.
Meanwhile, Embrace the Middle East (EmbraceME), formerly BibleLands, has denounced the decision by European Union foreign ministers, led by the UK and France, not to extend the EU ban on the supply of weapons to the Syrian opposition.
CEO Jeremy Moodey said, ‘EmbraceME, and other humanitarian agencies such as Oxfam, are united in the view that sending yet more instruments of death into the Syrian civil war is a recipe for even more bloodshed’.
‘Already we have seen that Russia will respond to the EU decision by increasing arms supplies to the Syrian regime. The international community needs to break this spiral of death and destruction and renew its efforts to seek a political solution to the crisis, rather than a military one’.
More than 5 million Syrians have fled their homes, with 10 million refugees expected by the end of this year, representing half the country’s population.
EmbraceME says access to emergency aid is severely limited, with people living in areas too dangerous for the large aid agencies to enter. Many of these families are too frightened to register for help.
Meanwhile, Barnabas Fund is highlighting concerns by UN investigators about the increasing radicalisation among the Syrian opposition after Dweir, a Christian village, was savagely attacked and almost 40 of its residents, including women and children, killed by opposition fighters in May.
In April, the Iraqi wing of al-Qaeda confirmed that it has links with the al-Nusra Front, which has become a leading rebel band, while al-Nusra’s leader pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda front-man Ayman al-Zawahiri.