Syria (MNN) ― Western nations including Australia, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United States announced the expulsions of Syrian diplomats after a massacre in that country over the weekend. The coordinated attacks left more than 100 dead; a little over 30 of them were children. French and Australian leaders called President Assad a murderer and vowed to hold accountable those who were responsible for the atrocities.
Todd Nettleton with Voice of the Martyrs says, "The violence seems to just be escalating."
While this latest attack is tragic, one thing is certain, says Nettleton. "We haven't seen a lot of Christians being targeted specifically because they are Christians. There have been a few instances where we've seen that, but it hasn't been widespread at this point." He believes it's the result of more political upheaval and two political factions fighting against each other.
Nettleton says Christians have not been publicly critical of Assad, and that could cause problems. "So you have people who look at that and say, 'Well, look: the church is on the side of Assad in this conflict. And really, what the church wants is the freedom to hold services, to be protected, to be safe. They have identified with the government because the people in control could offer them some sense of safety, some sense of protection."
While there is fear and uncertainty, Nettleton says Syrian Christians are telling him, "You can plant a church in a day because there is so much hunger for the Gospel. [People are] worried. They're thinking about eternity. And so, there is a great mission field, even though it's happening within the context of violence war and uncertainty."
Voice of the Martyrs is involved with Syrian Christians, says Nettleton. "We are working with the church. We are working to provide Bibles and support [believers] even as they're doing outreach, even as they are planting churches and reaching others with the Gospel message."
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