Tens of thousands of refugees flee Syria

By March 29, 2012

Syria (BGR/MNN) — Despite accepting the terms of a peace accord, Syria
continues to engage rebel troops.

Arab countries are beginning to unify their calls for the Assad regime to
cease its crackdown. Meanwhile, the
United Nations estimates at least 30,000 refugees have fled the fighting since
the start of the conflict a year ago. There are estimates of hundreds of thousands internally displaced people
within the country's borders.

Thousands of Syrians have poured across the country's borders into Lebanon,
Jordan and Turkey, most of them families with small children, fleeing with the
clothes on their backs. Many of them
are being met by Southern Baptists ministry partners with badly needed help
and the love of Jesus.

Baptist Global Response is sending Middle East director Abraham Shepherd and
his wife, Grace, to assess the needs and plan a flexible response.

More than $165,000 has been disbursed from Southern Baptists world hunger
and general relief funds to assist those partners in Lebanon and Syria in
meeting refugee needs, Shepherd said. Already, human  needs funds have
helped more than 12,000 people in at least 49 communities, providing food and
hygiene supplies, as well as temporary shelter, bedding, heaters, and some

As the need has been increasing, BGR has been expanding assistance with
partners on all Syrian border fronts, caring for the fleeing refugees, Shepherd

"The crisis throughout the Middle East has been labeled by mainstream media
as ‘the Arab Spring.' But to the average Arab in the Middle East, it's anything
but spring," Shepherd said. "What they are experiencing is more devastation,
disillusionment, fear, and scarce basic necessities of life. That is even truer
of the minorities among them, like the Christian minority in the Middle East."

The Southern Baptist aid not only is helping the fleeing Syrians, but also
Christians in the neighboring countries by empowering them to be a blessing to
their local communities — "showing true Christianity in word and in deed,"
Shepherd added.

"We are deeply grateful for the generosity Southern Baptists show when they
give to hunger and relief needs," Shepherd said. "Your giving and your
generosity, along with our trained responders, enable us to show God's love to
the suffering Syrian people in their time of need."

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