Syria’s Part in the Refugee Crisis

unnamed (2)Since March 2011, Syria has been embroiled in an uprising against President Bashar al-Assad. This civil war has made it one of the most brutal, upended countries in the world. Syria is comprised of Arabs, Greeks, Armenians, Assyrians, Kurds, Turks, and others. They are Sunni Muslims, Christians, Alewites, Druze, Mandeans and Yazidis. The largest group is Sunni Muslims.

ISIS has about 31,000 fighters there and is the dominant group in eastern Syria and along the Turkish border. The U.S.-led coalition has been conducting strikes against ISIS, but we aren’t making a dent. ISIS continually recruits more fighters and has gained a lot of territory in Syria. There are other jihadist groups fighting in Syria, some, like Al-Nusra, are allied with al-Qaeda.

The civil war has caused hundreds of thousands to flee to Turkey and then on to Europe to escape torture and death. Since the beginning of the war, more than 250,000 have been killed, one million wounded, and about 23 million have been displaced. Four million have fled. Last week, the body of a three-year-old Syrian boy washed ashore in Turkey. There are daily reports of drownings, suffocation, and horrific abuse aboard boats fleeing the civil war.

Syria’s backers are Russia and Iran. The U.S, Britain, France, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Jordan, Qatar and the UAR back the armed opposition to Assad’s government. Assad’s government is weakening and currently controls just 30-40% of the area and less than 60% of the population.

Why this Matters: There is no end in sight and the quantity of refugees is overwhelming the resources of the international community. If an outside power occupies Syria and puts and end to the civil war, they would have to suppress the extremists and spend the decades trying to get the different ethnic and religious factions to share power equally. It’s highly unlikely this would work. Another option would be to wait it out. The Lebanese civil war ended after 14 years when everyone was weary of war. It was “no victor/no vanquished,” and everyone got a little something. Some have proposed a no-fly zone over Syria to prevent Assad from bombing his own people.

How to Pray: ISIS will be contained and any constructive groups would gain power in the area. Pray that the Syrian people will turn to the true God for their help. Pray the end of the war would come sooner rather than later, and God would raise up people to spread the Gospel among the refugees. There are answers to this situation, and God has them. Pray U.S. and international leaders would follow His leading.

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