Syria (MNN) — With a single photo, Aylan Kurdi and his family have put the 4-year Syrian refugee crisis back in global headlines.
Now aware of refugees’ plight, most of the world is watching Europe as its nations confront the crisis on their doorstep.
An estimated 366,000 refugees and migrants–mostly from Syria–have crossed the Mediterranean this year searching for a better life in Europe.
Back home in Syria, those who haven’t left yet are packing their bags.
“There were 93 bombs dropped on the capital city in just one day,” Vice President of E3 Partners Ministries Tom Doyle says of Damascus.
“Inside Syria, the last few months have been brutal,” UNHCR spokesperson Melissa Fleming told a press briefing in Geneva yesterday.
“Fighting has intensified in almost all governorates.”
Medics are telling Reuters that in and around Damascus, over 500 Syrians have been killed since mid-August by the most intense bombing they’ve seen in the past 4 years of war.
With alleged help from Russia, Syrian forces are struggling to keep a solid hold on their nation’s capital city. According to “ISIS expert” Hisham al-Hashimi, “ISIS’s strategic target is to control one of the historical capitals of the Islamic caliphates: Damascus, Baghdad, or Samarra.
“These cities are very symbolic for its followers.”
For everyone else in Damascus, that’s not good news.
“People are sick of it–the war, the killing,” Doyle shares. “But, they have never been more open to Christ than they are today.”
Syria’s silver lining
It’s hard to imagine anyone left in Syria after 4 years of brutal civil war and the rise of ISIS, but thousands are still leaving daily.
“We just had some horrific reports out of Syria,” Doyle shares, sparing specifics.
Although it’s the current center of attention, Europe’s not the only destination for fleeing Syrian refugees. An estimated 7.6 million people are displaced within Syria’s borders, and at least 4 million are taking refuge in neighboring Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Egypt.
Amid an abundance of desolation, E3’s partners on-the-ground are sharing good news.
“More Muslims are coming to faith in Christ today than, really, ever before,” says Doyle.
“We’re seeing a tremendous rise [in persecution], but if you look at our 2,000-year Church history, whenever you see a tremendous rise in persecution, it’s always the Enemy’s answer to the harvest.”
Now that you know both sides–the despair and the hope, what will you do?
“For Americans, It’s very easy to hear the news, get discouraged and say, ‘Oh that’s terrible!’” Doyle observes.
“But, we have Muslims coming in to America, [and] this is our time. This is the opportunity for us to reach out to Muslims with the love of Christ, especially ones like Syrian refugees that have nothing.”
“Amazingly, the believers there don’t ask for these trials to leave. They don’t ask for it to end, because they see the Gospel surging throughout their country, throughout the region.”
Through E3 Partners, you can help Syrian refugees know they’re not alone in this crisis.
“Hundreds of thousands of refugees are fleeing to neighboring countries, such as Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey in search of relief. We are privileged to partner with believers in these countries who are waiting with open arms to meet the physical and spiritual needs of these refugees,” E3’s Web site reads.
“We have an incredible opportunity to make an impact! Let’s pray for peace to come to Syria, that the Lord would strengthen His workers; and together let’s help provide for these refugees!”
Registration for all of E3’s mission trips to the Middle East in 2015 is currently closed. However, by clicking here you can request more information about upcoming trips.