Syria (MNN) — Syrian President Bashar al-Assad made a rare appearance on national television yesterday, as government troops loyal to Assad launch an intense attack on rebels in Aleppo. His message? To purge his country of terrorists.
This comes on the heels of the defection of Syria's Prime Minister and Iran's pledge of support for the Assad regime. All of this is only creating more difficulty for Syrians, says Middle East expert Tom Doyle with e3 Partners.
Doyle, who has spent a great deal of time in the Middle East, says nobody knows how this has affected Syria's people. "There are so many homeless right now. The government, obviously, is consumed with just survival right now, so it's not out building homes for displaced people. I've heard estimates of a million people." With limited press access, however, nobody really knows.
What is known is that Syrians are leaving the country in droves. Doyle says there are approximately 250,000 refugees in Jordon, Turkey, and Lebanon who are predominately Sunni Muslims, both nominal and radical. E3 Partners is doing something to help. "There are about 250 to 300 families that have come over from Syria that are being reached out to and given food, clothing, and things that they need," says Doyle.
Doyle says Mission Network News listeners have had an impact, and it's not too late for you to help. He says your gift of $30 a month is making a difference. "One woman said, 'This was the first group–The Bible People (she called them)–who reached out to us with love. Everybody else was treating us like animals.' As we're meeting their needs, they're opening up spiritually, and God is using this crisis for some good."
Doyle does believe the Assad regime will be able to keep power. "If they didn't have Iran propping them up, it probably would be over and the regime would be done away with." He says the 80% majority Sunni community has been waiting to retake power from Assad and the Alawite minority.
If the Sunnis win, Doyle says it could be difficult for Christians. "This refugee crisis right now [is the result of] Sunni Muslims on the run. If the Sunnis get control of the government, you could have exactly the same thing happening, but it would be Christians on the run."
However, Doyle doesn't really know what's going on. "We have not been able to make contact with different [Christian] leaders there. Probably the internet has been cut and telephone."
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