As the Syrian civil war, also referred to as the Syrian uprising, continues to spiral out of control, with the ongoing armed conflict being fought between forces loyal to the Ba’ath Party government and those seeking to oust it, things are looking bleaker by the day for the country.
A building burning in Homs city
The bloody conflict began on March 15, 2011 with public demonstrations as part of the wider Arab Spring. Protesters demanded the end to nearly five decades of Ba’ath Party rule, as well as the resignation of President Bashar al-Assad.
In April 2011, the Syrian government deployed the Syrian Army to quell the uprising and soldiers were ordered to open fire on civilians. After months of military sieges, the protests evolved into an armed rebellion as opposition forces became increasingly armed and organized as they unified into larger groups, as well as receiving military aid from several foreign countries.
The protests have now spread to Lebanon
However, the armed opposition remained fractured, without organized leadership. The Syrian government characterizes the insurgency as “armed terrorist groups.”
Media reports say that during August alone, more than 5,400 people, a significant majority of them civilians, were killed during the month, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a widely cited London-based opposition group that tracks the violence.
The group puts the total number of both civilian and military deaths since the uprising began at 26,000, which suggests that about 20 percent of recorded deaths occurred in August alone, when the regime began unleashing more air power to crush the revolt and fighting reached the country’s largest city and its commercial capital, Aleppo.
Isam Ghattas photographed in Northern Iraq
Now comes the news that Isam Ghattas, a Jordanian Christian who runs the Amman-based Manara “Lighthouse” International, a ministry that for many years has been helping believers throughout the Middle East, with Bibles, medical relief and money, has stepped forward to help Syrian refugees who have fled the violence and moved into Jordan.
In an urgent message to his friends, Ghattas says, “The horrors of the Syrian uprising were inconceivable a year ago. Today, they are still inconceivable, not because we are shocked any longer at the inhumanity of man, but because it is so hard for us to comprehend the magnitude and depth of the suffering.
“Also because it can make us feel so helpless. No, we cannot stop the slaughter and destruction. But we can pray, and we can trust God.
A morgue inside of Syria
“We cannot take hundreds of thousands of refugees into our homes. But we can share with them what God gives us.
“Our Father’s purpose for Jordan has always been to serve as a refuge. And he has placed Manara International on the front lines.”
Mr. Ghattas went on to say, “For decades, we have shared God’s peace and hope and comfort and helped meet the essential needs of refugees from Palestine. Then, eight years ago, when Iraqis fled the violence of the second Gulf War and the terrorism and anarchy that followed, we welcomed them into Jordan as guests.
“And just as we were wondering how to keep our resources from being overwhelmed, civil war broke out in neighboring Syria. And again the floodgates burst open.
Syrian refugees arriving in Jordan
“According to the UN, over 100,000 people fled Syria last month alone, doubling the total number of refugees to more than 235,000 people. They left behind 5,000 new corpses, 1,600 in just the last week.
“Some flee to Turkey, Iraq, and Lebanon. But most come here. About 1,000 every day — a total of 183,000 people, by one count. Keep in mind that Jordan is about the size of Indiana or Austria.
“The UN can only set up overcrowded tent camps on dehydrated, barren stretches of desert, crawling with snakes and scorpions and blasted by sandstorms. There, Syrian families who escaped the violence of their country suffer what many refer to as a ‘slow death,’ where their chief employment is survival and they can do nothing but swelter under the scorching desert sun.
What kind of future will this Syrian child have?
“Even the UN is overwhelmed by the needs and relies heavily on nongovernment organizations and ministries like Manara International. For several weeks now, I have been meeting with ministry leaders who want to partner with us to help the refugees.”
Ghattas added that he is asking for prayer for these refugee families and for millions more who are unable to escape their war-torn country.
“But please also pray for my country, for Jordan,” he said.
Ghattas then stated the following:
* For decades, Israel has tried to transfer two million Palestinians from the West Bank to Jordan,
* Al Qaeda is working to use my country as a corridor of terrorist operations against Israel and Syria,
* and the Muslim Brotherhood is working to take over Jordan — as it has Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya — and turn us into an Islamic Republic, subject to Sharia law.
“If these forces succeed, Jordan will no longer be a safe haven in the Middle East, and one more Arab nation will become an enemy of Jesus Christ and his people,” Ghattas said.
The devastation of the fighting inside of Syria
“I explain these realities so that you can pray knowledgeably and effectively. And I am working to build alliances with other ministries so your power and influence will be increased exponentially for the glory of God.”
He said that Manara wishes to partner with others seeking to help the refugees and he says that they need to raise $150,000 to do so.
“Please consider what you can do to help today and send a gift as soon as you can,” he added.
Ghattas said that if you are in the US, please send your tax-deductible gift to Hope Builders International, PO Box 5465, Charlottesville, VA 22905. You can also go to www.hope-builders.com to give online or share by phone at 1.434.295.1124.
He concluded by saying, “I thank God for the growing number of ministries that are willing to help us in the work he has given us to do in Jordan. And I thank God for you, my friend. May he bless you with every good thing, just as you are a blessing to our suffering brothers and sisters and to all those who are being saved through your generous expressions of God’s love.”
You can contact Isam by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org