An evangelical Syrian pastor has issued a plea to the international church to pray for Syrian Christians.
In a letter sent through MERF, he said, ‘The armed Islamist opposition in Syria have murdered more than 200 Christians in the city of Homs, including entire families with young children.
‘These Islamic gangs also kidnapped Christians demanding high ransoms. In two cases, after the ransoms were paid, the men’s bodies were found. Christians are being forced to flee the city to the safety of government controlled areas. Muslim rebel fighters and their families are taking over their homes. We need your prayers and we need them urgently’.
This comes as anti-government forces stepped up calls for the UN to respond to what is increasingly becoming ‘another Libya’.
Both sides claim huge death tolls, with the hard-line government alleging that 2,000 members of the security forces have died fighting ‘gangs and terrorists’.
The self-styled ‘freedom fighters’ claim that thousands of lives have been taken by government forces. Human rights groups say more than 7,000 have died nationwide since March last year, when the Arab Spring swept across North Africa, the Gulf nations and the Middle East.
In Damascus, an army chief was assassinated, while in the city of Homs, tanks and artillery bombardments were used in an intense government assault.
In a Barnabas Fund report, a 30-year-old church leader was gunned down as he rushed to the aid of a parishioner wounded amid heavy fighting in Hama. Basilios Nassar was shot twice by anti-government rebels as he gave medical assistance to the man, who had also been shot.