Voice of the Martyrs, 23 February 2023 (excerpts)
Aaron and Khalil Hassan are two brothers who fled to Lebanon after the self-proclaimed Islamic State (ISIS) chased them from their apricot farm. While in Lebanon, they heard the gospel and placed their faith in Christ. When they returned to Syria, they found their farms pillaged; ISIS had chopped down the apricot trees and used them for firewood.
“Basic life necessities are scarce and horrendously expensive if they can be found,” said a front-line worker. Christian families remain alert to Muslim extremists: “The threat from Islamic militants remains.”
The churches and believers that have been able to remain in Syria have served as a beacon of hope and a source of peace for both Christians and Muslims throughout the war. Many Muslims have come to Christ as Christians have reached out with acts of compassion and practical assistance. And reports that neighbouring countries may send Syrian refugees back to Syria gives believers hope that those who came to faith in nearby countries will return and strengthen local churches.
Syria was once known for religious tolerance, relative to most nations in the Middle East. However, in recent years Syrian Christians have faced the same restrictions and opposition that are common in the region’s more restricted Islamist nations.