Syria (MNN) — There’s a war underway for the hearts and loyalty of Syrian men. Russia calls militia from the Middle East to join their ranks in the war against Ukraine. Many answering the call are experienced fighters from Syria, The National reports.
“There is a saying in Arabic, ‘The enemy of my friend is my enemy as well.’ This is a fight that they (Syrians) feel is unfair – against Russia from the West – and they want to be part of it,” MENA Leadership Center’s Fadi Sharaiha says.
History is another factor driving Syrian loyalty to Russia. “People in the MENA, they appreciate history. Russia supported the Syrian regime, supported the Syrian people, by [helping them to] not have their country divided,” Sharaiha says.
“They (Syrians) feel grateful, and that’s why they want to jump on the first opportunity to pay (Russia) back.”
According to a Syrian non-governmental group, over 40,000 Syrians have registered to travel to Ukraine and fight for Russia. None had left as of last Monday, but Russian President Vladimir Putin said foreign volunteers who wanted to fight with Russia should be allowed to do so earlier this month.
“In Syria right now, we have so many Russian military [forces],” Sharaiha says.
“The first opportunity [to] go and help the Russians, they (Syrians) will do this; especially if this is encouraged somehow by the government of Syria.”
A different kind of war
The Lord is also calling Syrian men but to a vastly different battlefield. This one is spiritual, and the mission is to win hearts for Christ. MENA Leadership Center equips Syrian believers to accomplish that mission.
“Right now, we have two courses running. One is on human capital, and how to develop the human capital in your ministry; 25-percent of the class is Syrians,” Sharaiha says.
“Another training [focuses on] how to strategize and develop an action plan for the ministry. We have Syrians in [that class, too].”
MLC also teaches Syrian believers how to care for one another practically. “People are going through a lot in Syria, especially Christians,” Sharaiha says.
“Their (ministry leaders’) focus is on helping the Christian minorities in Syria [holistically:] sharing the Gospel with them, encouraging them and, at the same time, trying to do some kind of support on the ground – helping them with food whenever it’s needed, and clothing.”
Through sponsorship, you can help Gospel workers receive training from MENA Leadership Center. Most importantly, pray. “Let’s pray for our brothers and sisters in Syria, that they will be rooted in Christ, encouraged in the Holy Spirit, and the Lord will help them go through this very difficult time,” Sharaiha suggests.
“Syrians right now have most of their resources going to support Russia. They’re not sure about the future because, in politics, Syria could be one card in a big game. They don’t know if this card will be dropped or not, [creating] a lot of anxiety.”
Header image depicts a 2019 demonstration in Ufa, Russia, showing Russian support for Syria. (Wikimedia Commons)