The festival of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month, is always marred with death and destruction as the most fundamentalist adherents to the Muslim faith consider their martyrdom to be particularly rewarded by Allah if they can rain down death and destruction on those they view as heretics.
The vast majority of this year’s Ramadan attacks have been perpetrated against other Muslims, but there have been Christian victims as well, namely, women and children in a small Christian town in Syria.
Five children, ages six to ten, and one woman were murdered in the attack near a monastery in the town of al-Suqaylabiyah
According to local priest Father Maher Haddad, “The kids went out to play after some days of calm.”
Haddad explained to the Associated Press that “A rocket struck near a group of children, instantly killing five and wounding other… the woman was killed in a nearby street by a separate rocket.” Eight others were also wounded in the attack.
The AP says Syrian rebels are to blame for the attack. According to CBN News, “Syrian troops retaliated by firing shells toward insurgents on the southern edge of Idlib province, the last major rebel stronghold in the civil war-torn country.”
Violence has been increasing in the region in the last few weeks, forcing Syrian troops to conduct repeated airstrikes against the rebel forces.
Around 3 million people live in the province and around 150,000 have been displaced due to the constant back-and-forth fighting between the rebels and the Syrian government.
International Christian Concern’s Regional Manager for the Middle East, Claire Evans explains, “The Syrian Civil War is a sad example of the indiscriminate killing of civilians and senseless violence. As the situation escalates in Idlib, many have warned that an increase of targeted massacres would be the result. It has started – with Christians paying a high cost as they are often viewed as vulnerable, second-class citizens. Their villages have become a pawn in a greater strategy for the multiple factions involved in the civil war. We must keep the families of the deceased in our prayers, and offer up continued prayers for the safety of those believers who find themselves caught between Syria’s warring sides.”
This is yet another reminder never to take for granted the safety and security we, as Christians, enjoy in the United States. Living with the peace of mind that our loved ones are not going to fall victim to senseless violence and hate like this is truly a gift from God that we should be thankful for daily.
Times are getting more and more perilous for Christians all across the world. We must do our part to pray for their safety. Imagine the difference we could make if we all set our hearts to praying for persecuted Christians living in volatile, dangerous parts of the world. Pray for their safety and protection but most of all, for their spirits. We know we worship a God who will avenge the blood of His servants.
We stand in solidarity with our persecuted brethren.
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