Barnabas Fund - International Headquarters River Street, Pewsey, Wilthire. Phone: +44 1672 565030 Latitude: 51 deg 23 min 18 sec N Longitude: 1 deg 45 min 48 sec W .
Thousands of Christians flee Syrian city...

Email:

Thousands of Christians flee Syrian city amid “ultimatum” reports

To

Email address:
Separate multiple addresses with a comma (,). Maximum of 10

From

Your name:
Your email address:
Security test:
Please enter the numbers that appear here in the box below.
refresh captcha
CAPTCHA Image
Security code:

Details provided here will never be used in any other context

Thousands of Christians flee Syrian city amid “ultimatum” reports

Country/Region: Middle East and North Africa, Syria

Thousands of Christians have fled the besieged Syrian city of al-Qusair after reportedly being given an ultimatum to leave by an opposition military chief there, a threat echoed by the mosques.

Most of the western city’s Christian residents have left, and some of the mosques in al-Qusair are said to have given last week the thousand or so who remain a deadline to vacate. Two Christian leaders, who were among those fleeing the city, said that they heard the following message from the minarets: “Christians must leave al-Qusair within six days, ending Friday (8 June).” 

Damage-in-Qusayr-Syria_4X3.jpg
al-Qusair has been heavily damaged
in the fighting
CC BY 2.0 / FreedomHouse

An earlier ultimatum had allegedly been issued by a military chief of the armed opposition, Abdel Salam Harba. Local sources said that Islamic extremists within the opposition consider Christians “infidels”, confiscate their belongings and carry out mass executions.

Opponents of the government have denied ordering Christians out of al-Qusair. In a statement said to be from the rebel leadership in the city, issued on Monday (11 June), they said that they had “lived together with our beloved Christian brothers and sisters for decades, working together and living alongside one another”.

They added that most of the Christian families, along with Muslim families, had fled al-Qusair around two months ago owing to shelling by government militia.

The city is an extremely dangerous place for those who remain. A church minister, Atallah Ibrahim Bitar, was shot dead while reportedly taking food to people forced into hiding by a week-long bombardment.   

Al-Qusair, which is around 15 miles from another key battleground of Homs, has been the site of intense clashes between President Assad’s troops and opposition forces for months. Almost the entirety of the 50,000-60,000 Christian population of Homs has fled as a result of heavy fighting there.

Christians from al-Qusair have gone to nearby villages or to stay with relatives and friends in the capital, Damascus.

Whether or not they were ordered out, it is clear that they no longer felt safe in their homes, and like their counterparts in Homs, have been forced to flee as a result of the ongoing conflict.

On Tuesday (12 June), the UN’s head of peacekeeping said that Syria was in a state of civil war – the first time a UN official has used this term to describe the conflict.

Christians are particularly vulnerable in anti-government strongholds because they are assumed to be supporters of President Assad, having enjoyed considerable freedom under his regime.

Barnabas Fund has been helping Christians affected by the unrest in Syria since the start of the conflict. We are providing food, medicine and other essentials to the neediest families.

Give Today

If you would like to help, please send a donation to the Middle East Fund (project 00-1032). using our secure server.

If you prefer to telephone, dial: 0800 587 4006 from within the UK or +44 1672 565031 from outside the UK. Please quote project reference Middle East Fund (project 00-1032).

If you prefer to send a cheque by post: Click this link for the address of our regional office. Please quote project reference Middle East Fund (project 00-1032).

For a quick donation of £3.00 by SMS (see terms and conditions here) text Barnabas/1032 to 70007 (Please note: This facility is presently only available to UK supporters).

Help us: Share this article

Email:

Thousands of Christians flee Syrian city amid “ultimatum” reports

To

Email address:
Separate multiple addresses with a comma (,). Maximum of 10

From

Your name:
Your email address:
Security test:
Please enter the numbers that appear here in the box below.
refresh captcha
CAPTCHA Image
Security code:

Details provided here will never be used in any other context

christian, persecution, charity, church, persecuted, sookhdeo, Islam

Other articles

View Timeline

There is a Church in Syria

Follow Barnabas

or

receive news & appeal emails as they are published

From Twitter

From Twitter_icon

    Daily prayer

    Daily prayer_icon
    • Pray for Christians in Sri Lanka facing attacks from Buddhist extremists, who have forced the closure of numerous churches. In an apparently positive move, the government has created a Religious Disputes Unit to address conflicts between different groups and combat attempts to create religious discord. But many Christians and Muslims believe that Buddhist extremists are allowed to operate with impunity and that the new unit will not solve the problems faced by non-Buddhists. A cap on the building of places of worship has also been announced, and this seems to serve the Buddhist lobby, which is opposed to expanding Christian activity. Pray for protection for Christian congregations and that their ministry and mission will not be further impeded. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 7 hours ago

    • Cry out to the Lord for Alexis Prem Kumar, a 47-year-old Christian minister from India who was abducted in Afghanistan on 2 June. No group has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping, but three Taliban militants have been arrested in connection with it. Alexis had worked for an NGO in Afghanistan since 2011, helping returning refugees. He was leaving a school near Herat for Afghan children who have recently returned from Iran or Pakistan when he was seized. Give thanks for Alexis’ willingness to serve the Lord in what remains one of the most dangerous countries in the world for Christians, and pray for his safe return. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Thu, Sep 2014 00:00

    • The case of an Egyptian Christian man arrested following complaints by Muslim neighbours that he had been using his home as a church without a permit highlights the need of the Christian community for more places of worship. The 55-year-old man from Minya in Upper Egypt, where Christians are particularly vulnerable to persecution, was arrested once before, in 2011, for the same offence. Every church building in Egypt requires a permit, but these are notoriously difficult to obtain. Pray that the authorities will show leniency to the Christian man and that a provision in the new constitution addressing the issue of church buildings will be enacted. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Tue, Sep 2014 00:00

    • Kidnapping for ransom has been a persistent problem for the Christian community in Egypt amid the political upheaval and instability following the “Arab Spring” revolution of 2011. On 14 June, Wadie Ramses, a well-known surgeon, was seized in El-Arish. The assailants opened fire on his vehicle and took him away wounded. They later demanded a ransom of ten million Egyptian Pounds (£800,000; US$1.4 million) for his release. Two days later, Christian merchant Gemal Shenouda was captured near his home in the same city. It is thought that Islamic militants with links to al-Qaeda, who have been behind escalating violence in the Sinai region, are responsible for the kidnappings. Pray for the safe return of our two Christian brothers and that they and their families will know the Lord’s peace. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Mon, Sep 2014 00:00

    • On 18 June, Bishoy Armia Boulous (31) was sentenced to five years in prison and given a fi ne of 500 Egyptian Pounds (US£70; £40) for “disturbing the peace by broadcasting false information” in connection with reports he produced relating to anti-Christian violence in Minya for a Christian TV channel. His lawyer believes that Bishoy has been targeted because of his conversion from Islam. The Christian gained notoriety in Egypt in 2007 as the first person to try to change his religion on his ID card, a case that is still unresolved owing to the political tumult in the country over the last three years. Pray that the Lord will be Bishoy’s strength and shield (Psalm 28:7), and that he will soon be released. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sun, Sep 2014 00:00

    © Barnabas Fund 1997 - 2014 All rights reserved.
    Barnabas Fund & Barnabas Aid are registered trade marks