Praise reports from Syria

Recently, good news has come out of Syria including the rebuilding of a church and the release of hostages taken captive by ISIS.

An organization, “Aktion für verfolgte Christian,” (Action for persecuted Christians, AVC) has reconstructed a church in Kobane, along with a school and a bakery. Perhaps most surprisingly, the rebuilding of the church came at the request of the Muslim mayor of Kobane.

In the fall of 2014 the city was attacked and captured by ISIS, causing hundreds of thousands to flee. In February of 2015, however, the city was liberated with the help of Kurdish defenders. Kobane is now part of the Democratic Self-Administration of Rojava and is one of the three cantons.

Located in northern Syria, the Democratic Self-Administration of Rojava is considered autonomous by the Syrian government. It was GIRESPI-CEKIRINA-KENISE-1-620x364established on the principles of democracy and equality, while also implementing a secular constitution that guarantees freedom to practice any religion. This has allowed Christian organizations, such as the AVC, to provide aid in the area. The Democratic Self-Administration of Rojava has a population of approximately 2.5 million and is governed by Kurds, Arabs, and Assyrian Christians.

The Rojava region is protected by many groups, including the Syrian Democratic Forces, a coalition of Kurdish, Arab, and Christian fighters, as well as the People’s Protection Units (YPG) and their female counterpart, the Women’s Protection Units (YPJ).

A similar women’s force has been created in the Christian community. A force of about 50 women trained in Al-Qahtaniyeh are ready and eager to face ISIS.

On Christmas, news was released that 25 Assyrian hostages had been freed by ISIS. The hostages had been captured on February 23 when ISIS attacked villages alongside the Khabur river. Of those freed, two are men, seven are women, and the rest are children. They are in good health and arrived to Tel Tamer safely.

We are continually advocating for the State Department to include Christians in their genocide designation. This past week President Obama made a statement about persecuted Christians, saying, “In some areas of the Middle East where church bells have rung for centuries on Christmas Day, this year they will be silent; this silence bears tragic witness to the brutal atrocities committed against these communities by ISIL.” He furthered offered prayers for protection of persecuted Christians. We urge President Obama to act on his statement, and recognize the genocide facing Christians in the Middle East.

We give praise to the Lord for the rebuilding of a church in Kobane so that believers in the region may have a place to worship together. We are thankful for the Muslim mayor’s open mindedness towards the Christians to invite this construction.

We are also grateful for the release of the 25 hostages. Join Jubilee Campaign in continuing to pray for the softening of the hearts of ISIS members, for the release of the many hostages that remain in captivity, and for the protection of Christians facing persecution.

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