Syrian refugees are fleeing the destruction of their homeland. There are just under 20,000 refugees living in tent cities across the Turkish border, 5,000 refugees in the Bekaa Valley and just under 8,000 refugees in Jordan. Even in Syria there are over 200,000 internally displaced persons, with the potential of that number multiplying rapidly.
MercyWorks is communicating with people in Syria who confirm the ongoing strife has caused mass devastation in families lives, especially in the city of Homs. The Turkish Red Crescent chief Ahmet Lutfi Akar warned last week that up to half a million Syrian refugees may enter Turkey from the government’s violent crackdown on the people, saying “There is an extreme situation.”
Our contacts have been helping the Syrian people by assisting some of the hardest hit families in Homs with food and much needed medicines.
In January 2011 we watched international news showing uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen, as well as Libya. Much of the Arab world seemed precariously unstable.
Then in March 2011 smaller pro-democracy protests began in Syria, such as one over the arrest and torture of a group of teenagers who had painted anti-government slogans on their school walls. During a march to protest the student arrests, authorities fired on civilians, killing four people. Then at the deceased persons funerals authorities again fired at mourners killing another person.
Now a year later, events like these have continued to snowball into an ongoing war between the regime and opposition groups. The city of Homs has been especially targeted as opposition forces seek refuge there. As always though, war doesn’t just take a toll on those who are fighting it, but on the families and children as well.
MercyWorks is preparing to send an assessment team to the Syrian refugee camps in neighboring Turkey and Jordan to gauge what help is needed and how to put that into action. Please pray with us for the Syrian people caught in the crossfire of the unrest in their nation.