Pressure heats up for Assad

By January 4, 2012

Syria (MNN) — Despite an ongoing investigation thrusting members of the Arab League right into the heart of the fighting in Syria, violence has not let up.

The Arab League has been threatening Syrian president Bashar Assad for months now and is finally in Syria assessing the situation. Since members of the League have been in the volatile nation, fighting has not only continued, but the Arab Parliament has actually advised the League members to leave Syria for their own safety, according to BBC News.

Tom Doyle with E3 Partners has been providing updates on the Syrian conflict since it began in early 2011. Doyle says now, "It is bloody, and we keep getting reports from our E3 leaders in Syria that say some of the things happening in broad daylight in the middle of the streets are unspeakable."

The Local Coordination Committee, an umbrella group of activists, has reported that since December 21–less than two weeks ago, 390 people have been killed. The total death toll throughout the clashes between Assad's regime and civilian rebels has surpassed 5,000.

Despite the treacherous outlook, the international response to the violence is growing stronger by the second. French president Nicolas Sarkozy reportedly demanded that Assad step down in a statement he made yesterday. On Monday, Israeli Defense Ministrer Ehud Barak went as far as to say that Assad only had "a few weeks" left to control Syria, according to Agence France-Presse.

Even as violence continues, Doyle agrees that Assad cannot hold on much longer.

"There's a Sunni majority within the country, and they've always despised the whole Alawite control of the government. But I think it's all come down to that fight. And I really just don't know if Assad is going to be able to hang on through this. There is so much international outcry, and if there's international assistance, I think his days are over."

The Alawites, an Islamic sect in Syria, make up a mere 20% of the nation, says Doyle. Assad's family is Alawite, but the majority of the population is made up of Sunni Muslims. Those facts combined with extreme international pressure could push Assad to boiling.

There can only be speculation as to what will happen then.

In the midst of the turmoil, E3 Partners has seen tremendous church growth. The ministry has repeatedly heard of Muslims knocking on the doors of Christians in the night, looking for someone who is not taking part in the violence. Muslims all across the Middle East are hungry for Truth, says Doyle, and many have already come to Christ underground.

Fervent prayer is needed in Syria. Pray for boldness for the church, for guidance and stability for the nation, and for heart change among the people. You can also get behind specific church leaders working in Syria at the E3 Partners Web site.

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