03/15/2020 Syria (International Christian Concern) – Today marks the anniversary for the start of the Syrian Civil War in 2011. The passage of 9 years of conflict has left the country in tatters and sowed the seeds of instability in neighboring countries, even contributing to the rise of ISIS.
The conflict has evolved significantly since when it first erupted 9 years ago. Syria has become a breeding ground for extremism and several other countries—namely Russia, Iran, and Turkey—have grown their military involvement there. Most Syrian Christians left the country in the early years of the conflict, especially after the rise of ISIS and their declared genocide against religious minorities. The government has regained much of the geography of Syria, with the notable exceptions being the NE corner and Idlib. Because the conflict is ongoing, the impact of the violence will look different for Christians depending on their location.
Regardless, however, one factor remains the same: minorities are the first to suffer in any conflict. Given the Islamic extremism elements driving so much of the war, any Christian who remains in Syria does so at extreme risk. It is a tragedy that after 9 years of violence, still no resolution to the conflict remains in sight.