The situation in Syria is evolving rapidly, and there are positive developments to report. In particular, the risk has been diminished that the city of Aleppo and its 100,000 Christians will be overrun by the Islamic State or other forces hostile to Christianity, and of the Christian population there being eradicated.
Today the international community is more disposed to find a peaceful resolution of the crisis in Syria. Part of the impetus for this new push for peace results from the pressure put on Europe by the flood of Syrian refugees; part of it results from the recent terrorist violence experienced in Paris, London, and San Bernardino California.
SPC is convinced that what Christians in Syria, Iraq, and Nigeria want is the ability to go home. We must create the conditions in these countries which will allow Christians to feel safe and to be able to practice their faith openly.
As international negotiations proceed in private, we want to call on the international community to acknowledge these facts:
Christians are an integral part of the Syrian society, and they must have a place at the table in every discussion concerning the future of Syria. So far, Christians have been neglected, and their interests less than an afterthought.
The removal of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad without a clear successor who is committed to the tolerance of Christians will guarantee the eradication of Christians remaining in Syria. If Syria devolves into second civil war between the al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State, there will literally be no place for Christians. And that is precisely what will happen if the transition to a post-Assad Syria is not carefully managed and peace assured by the international community.
There is no opposition currently fighting the government which will be tolerant of Christians. Look at the pictures of the Christian old city of Homs after it was vacated by the Free Syrian Army to see the future of Christians living under the opposition. Virtually none of the one million Christians now living in Syria reside in opposition controlled territory. They live either in areas controlled by the government or by Syrian Kurdish forces.
Regime change at the barrel of a rifle is a failure of imagination. Patriarch Gregorius, head of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, begged the world in February 2013 not to send arms to Syria. He was ridiculed then as an apologist for Assad – and he was right.
To see all of our efforts, you may go to our current programs page here.
We pray for an immediate ceasefire and an end to the violence in Syria; we pray for the ability of all Christians to return to their homes; and we pray that our Christian brothers and sisters to be able to live and to love Our Lord in peace.
During this Christmas season, if you decide to open your hearts to Persecuted Christians, you may do so with our form here.