Displaying items by tag: Syria
Over a hundred people, including ten civilians, were killed and another 125 were injured when drones carrying explosives targeted a graduation ceremony at a military academy in Homs. The army blamed ‘terrorist groups backed by known international forces’, and said it would respond with full force and determination against these terrorist groups ‘wherever they are’. There was no immediate claim from the rebels and jihadists battling the government in the country's civil war. The attack is believed to have been launched from opposition-held areas north-west of Homs. An eye-witness said, ‘After the ceremony, people went down to the courtyard and the explosives hit. We don't know where it came from, and corpses littered the ground.’ Syria's defence minister attended the graduation ceremony, but left minutes before the attack.
Ten UN relief trucks carrying aid finally reached northwest Syria four months after huge earthquakes rocked the region. This was the first aid convoy to cross from government territory into a rebel-held enclave since aid deliveries became a political pawn following the disaster. Pray for the 15 million Syrians needing help to survive, and for God to comfort an estimated 8.8 million people affected by the earthquakes; they may have a roof over their heads, but their hearts remain unsettled. Every new aftershock triggers a flashback and trauma. No one knows when the earth will stop moving. Pray for the global church as it continues to offer help and hope. Syrian Christians have been helping earthquake survivors from day one. Believers are telling people about God’s love, which their consistent presence shows is real.
Nine women and seventeen children are taking the Australian government to court, arguing that Australia has ‘effective control’ of their detention and the power to set them free from Syria’s Roj refugee camp. These Australian wives, widows, and children of slain or jailed IS members claim a legal right to return to Australia. Most are in squalid and violent detention camps, some held for four years. Children have untreated shrapnel wounds, malnourishment, and serious mental illnesses. Some were born in the camp and know no life outside it. Save the Children Australia say that legal action was a last resort, but they were left with no choice but to take Australia’s government to court. Pray that the US-backed Kurdish SDF army and the refugee camp officials will actively cooperate in the release of these Australians as they did for other countries, including Denmark, USA, Germany, France, Sweden, and the Netherlands.
Built on the ashes of ten years of war, an illegal drug industry run by associates and relatives of President Bashar al-Assad has grown into a multibillion-dollar operation, eclipsing Syria’s legal exports and turning the country into the world’s newest narcostate. Its flagship product, captagon, is an addictive, inexpensive amphetamine, popular in Saudi Arabia and now being found in Europe, Africa, and Asia. Syria’s operations include workshops manufacturing the pills, packing plants to conceal them for export and smuggling networks to spirit them abroad. The production and distribution is overseen by the Fourth Armoured Division of the Syrian Army, commanded by Maher al-Assad, the president’s brother. Hezbollah's fighters have played a key role in helping the Syrian government turn the tide in the civil war and have long been accused of involvement in drug trafficking. The UK and US have imposed sanctions on those responsible for the captagon trade, which could be worth $57 billion. See
Arab reports indicate a Palestinian terror group based in Syria with ties to Iran and Hezbollah is actively preparing for a new series of attacks inside Israel. Speaking from Syria, Fadi Malach, commander of the Galilean Wolves, said, ‘We are in the midst of preparations for a series of additional operations inside Israel, despite Israel’s warning to Hezbollah, who might go on another adventure.’ Malach also said that his group was responsible for a roadside bombing at the Megiddo Junction in northern Israel on 13 March, which injured an Israeli motorist. The man who planted the bomb was subsequently killed by Israeli soldiers while driving back towards the Lebanese border. Explosives and a weapon were found in the vehicle, and the terrorist wore a suicide bomb belt. Malach said Galilean Wolves have been active since 2004, in an effort to liberate Galilee in the first stage, and they are not co-opted by Iran.
President Bashar al-Assad joined the Arab League summit in Jeddah and was embraced by the Saudi crown prince. A decade ago, the Saudis funded anti-Assad militias; now they want to remake the Middle East and need Syria onside. Assad insists, ‘Other countries should not interfere with what happened inside Syria’s borders. It is important to leave internal affairs to the leader and his supporters.’ Between them, princes and presidents at the summit have locked up many thousands of their opponents. Syrians blame the Assad regime for destroying their country. Over a million Syrian refugees have fled to Lebanon, but recently Lebanon sent 1,500 back to Syria at gunpoint. The UN insists Syrian refugees cannot return home until their country is safe and secure. The Assad regime remains under US and European sanctions. Amnesty International said, ‘Assad has turned Syria into a slaughterhouse’. President Bashar al-Assad broke his country to save his regime. There has been no justice for his victims.
Scammers are using Turkey and Syria’s earthquakes to trick people into donating to fake causes. These scams claim to raise money for survivors, but instead they channel donations away from real charities into their own PayPal accounts. One of over a hundred recently created fundraisers for Turkey is TurkeyRelief, which joined Twitter and touts for donations. Its PayPal account has received US$900, but that includes $500 from the page’s creator, who donated to their own cause to make them appear authentic. On TikTok Live, content creators make money by receiving digital gifts. TikTok livestreams show photos with sound effects and ask for donations. One video shows a distressed child running from an explosion. Their plea for TikTok gifts is ‘Please help achieve this goal’. But the photo of the child is not from Turkey. The same image was on Twitter in 2018 with the caption ‘Stop African Genocide’.
At the time of writing there are 19,300 dead after earthquakes hit Turkey and Syria. Rescuers are running out of time to find people alive under the rubble. The death toll will far exceed 20,000, and without shelter, water, fuel or electricity many survivors could yet lose their lives in a secondary disaster causing more harm than the initial quake. Survivors could face danger inside fragile structures amid aftershocks or freeze outside in the snow. Numerous regions await help which it is impossible to provide on the scale needed. Syrian rebel-held areas have even less access to medical care and supplies. The first UN aid lorries have arrived. Pray for more medical equipment, warm clothes, blankets, field hospitals, hundreds more volunteers, medical professionals and search and rescue professionals. Ask God to strengthen those working tirelessly to help. Pray for urgent donations to purchase tents, beds, medical equipment and gas heaters. For an update see
Foreign ministers from Turkey, Syria, and Russia may meet this month in the highest-level talks since Syria’s war began. Turkey supported Syria’s opposition for 10 years, Russia backed Syria. But sadly, diplomacy remains disconnected from the people’s needs. The UN calls Syria ‘one of the most complex humanitarian and protection emergencies on the planet.’ Extreme poverty haunts nearly every household, and disease runs rampant. Fighting has lessened but shows no signs of completely stopping. It would be easy if just two factions were fighting, but Turkey is in the mix with Iran and rebel Kurds. Physical danger is a minor threat compared to economic challenges. A pound of sugar is over £2.87. Rising prices make it unbearable for people to live yet hope remains. Many Christians fled during the crisis, but those remaining are committed to reaching their communities for Christ.
Saudi news channel Al-Hadath reported that hundreds of Iranian missiles armed with the lethal chemical thionyl chloride have arrived at a warehouse in Syria, with a bird’s eye view of Lebanon’s border nine miles away. They were transferred there by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The recipient was Hezbollah, the Iran-backed Lebanese terror army on Israel’s northern border. According to Saudi media, Hezbollah has Iran and North Korea to thank for the arsenal. Plans are reportedly in place to move them to a site three miles from Israel’s border. Israel’s defence ministry identified ten Syrian locations where Iran has facilities producing advanced weapons for its proxies in the region. Pray for Israel’s defence force to constantly look to God for guidance. May the Lord enable them to think outside the box as Gideon did when he divided the men into companies with trumpets and companies with jars containing torches (Judges 7:16).