The targeting of Christians in war-torn Syria is increasing, according to Open Doors sources.
“The car bomb in Jaramana was targeting the Christian and Druze community as a group, since the area has no political ties or buildings,” a local Christian source explained about the large bomb blast in the Damascus suburb on Monday.
According to contacts in the neighborhood, 11 Christians where killed and one Muslim killed in the explosion. The blast left 69 people, all Christians, wounded. Twenty are in critical condition.
Open Doors’ country coordinator for Syria says: “The attack took place during the final day of Eid al-Adha (Muslim holiday). Observers hoped the four-day holiday would mark a temporary ceasefire, but that hope proved to be false. I see this as another example that Christians are increasingly targeted.”
A believer from Damascus reports that last Sunday a car bomb was found in a Christian neighborhood in the old part of the city. The car was parked next to two churches, a Maronite and Latin church. The two churches were warned and church officials instructed all their parishioners to go home in case the bomb exploded. Authorities were successful in disabling the bomb.
Situation in Aleppo, Homs and Christian Valley
An Open Doors contact in Aleppo reports that, “the situation is not getting any better, but we are hoping the situation will cool down.”
Last week Open Doors received a report from a believer in Aleppo, the largest city in Syria, that about 100 insurgents infiltrated a main street in a Christian area of the city. Aleppo is one of the hot spots in the 21-month civil war between rebels and the Syrian government. According to the report, the Syrian army quickly surrounded the insurgents and drove them out.
Another believer reports that in some of the predominantly Christian villages in the Homs area there is not a threat against the entire Christian community, however, individual Christians are being targeted.
In a village in the Christian Valley, a region west of Homs and Hama, three Christian men were kidnapped and one killed. “One of my contacts is stuck there, waiting to find a way back to Damascus. The roads are the worst now,” the believer shares.
The Open Doors country coordinator for Syria adds: “The violent situation deeply hurts the entire Syrian population, the Christian community as well as other people groups. But about two or three weeks ago we observed an increase of violence that specifically is targeting Christians or Christian neighborhoods. Bombs now are placed in Christian areas where there is no strategic or military target at all. We are deeply concerned about our brothers and sisters and call all churches and all Christians to continue praying for this dangerous situation for Christians.”
Jerry Dykstra, media relations director for Open Doors, says the request for prayer from Syrian Christians comes as the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP) will be observed in the United States on Sunday, Nov. 11.