Syria (MNN) — Syrian refugees could soon be on the run… again. Turkey is working on a new housing project that would facilitate the return of one million refugees to northwest Syria.
More than half of the proposed houses have been built so far, in a so-called “safe zone” in Idlib province. Most of the four million Syrians currently living in Idlib rely on humanitarian aid to survive.
Syrian refugees in Turkey do not wish to leave, Daily Sabah reports. Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said yesterday the government would not force their departure.
“There’s still some fighting going on” in northwest Syria, Uncharted Ministries’ Tom Doyle says.
“To just open the gates for a million people and say ‘Go back’ [would] be chaos.”
Turkey has played the role of gracious host to Syrian refugees since the civil war began in March 2011. It currently hosts nearly five million Syrian refugees, and some Turkish political parties say it’s past time for the Syrians to return home.
Meanwhile, in Syria…
Living conditions throughout Syria remain dire. Key infrastructure throughout the country – hospitals, schools, utility buildings – remains in rubble, destroyed by more than a decade of war. Approximately 14 million people in Syria need humanitarian assistance; nearly half of them are children.
Plus, a recent assassination attempt on President Assad reflects instability at the highest level.
Citing reports from Iran and Lebanon, Doyle says, “There was an attempt on his life [when] he was going into the central mosque in Damascus, on the last day of Ramadan. His wife Esma tweeted [about] how they were going to find the people responsible for this attempt, and there would be severe justice.”
Yet, hope remains. “It is a great opportunity for the Gospel because right now, Syria has problems that seem unsolvable,” Doyle says.
“The news (in Syria) is horrible, but look at what Christ is doing. The leaders we work with [tell] us they’re having trouble keeping up with the massive number of new converts,” Doyle says.
“The kingdom of God is advancing in the midst of the ashes, and people are coming to faith in Christ.”
Header image is a representative photo depicting a Syrian refugee camp in the outskirts of Athens, Greece. (Photo courtesy of Julie Ricard/Unsplash)