Transforming The 10/40 Window Nations Through The Power of Prayer

Syria, Middle East

Population: 19,314,747
Political Leader: President Bashar al-Assad
Religions: Islam 90.3%, Christianity 5.1%, Non-Religious 2.9%, Other 1.7%
Persecution Ranking: No. 45
Number of Terrorist Groups: 16
Acts of Terrorism: 43; Casualties: 102
Percent of Corruption: 71%
% of People in Poverty: 11.9%

Location:
Syria, officially the Syrian Arab Republic, is a country in Southwest Asia bordering the Mediterranean Sea and Lebanon to the west, Israel to the southwest, Jordan to the south, Iraq to the east and Turkey to the north. Syria consists mostly of arid plateau, although the northwest part of the country bordering the Mediterranean is fairly green. The Northeast of the country "Al Jazira" and the South "Hawran" are important agricultural areas. The Euphrates, Syria's most important river, crosses the country in the east. It is considered to be one of the 15 states that comprise the so-called “Cradle of Civilization.”

Terrorism:
The Syrian government continued to provide political and material support to Hizballah and political support to Palestinian terrorist groups. Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Hamas, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command among others, base their external leadership in Damascus. The Syrian government insisted that the Damascus-based groups undertake only political and informational activities, but Palestinian groups with leaders in Syria have claimed responsibility for anti-Israeli terrorist acts.

The government of Syria has not been implicated directly in an act of terrorism since 1986, although preliminary findings of a U.N. investigation into the February 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri indicated a strong likelihood of official Syrian involvement. That investigation remains in process.
On September 12, 2006, four Syrian nationals with alleged Islamist ties used grenades, guns and a small truck bomb to launch an attack against the U.S. embassy in Damascus. All four of the assailants were killed as was a Syrian security officer who responded to the attack. In the incident's aftermath, the Syrian government enhanced security for the embassy and American personnel in Syria, although it declined to provide the embassy with the findings of its internal investigation into the attack

Religion:
Syria is comprised of 90.3% Muslims and only 5.1% of the population are Christians. The constitution provides for freedom of religion. However, the government imposes restrictions on this right. While there is no official state religion, the constitution requires that the president be Muslim and stipulates that Islamic jurisprudence is a principal source of legislation.

Challenges for Christians:
Syria is ranked No. 45 among nations that are the worst persecutors of Christians based on Open Doors 2007 “World Watch List.” The majority of the population are Muslims, although Christians do have some freedom to meet together and worship. The government monitors the activities of all religious groups and discourages proselytism.

Prayer Points:

  • Pray for Syria to stop its support of Hizballah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Hamas, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command.
  • Pray that these terrorist groups will be thrown into confusion, and will not be able to regroup, recruit, or have the capacity to be disruptive. Pray that the demonic forces that are using the terrorists like puppets will be toppled, and that the people will be set free to worship the Lord. Pray that their leaders will experience conversion to Christianity. (1 Timothy 2:1–4)
  • Syria has been involved in wars and confrontations with surrounding states for more than 50 years. Pray that there would be greater political freedom in Syria.
  • Although Christians are tolerated in Syria and can meet together, any attempts to witness to Muslims is seen as a threat to the government. Pray for wisdom to know how best to share their faith in this environment.
  • Many Muslims are around Christians every day. Pray that in their lifestyle they would get to see Jesus and want to find out more.

Sources: 24-7 Prayer, Operation World, Wikipedia, Country Reports on Terrorism 2006, International Religious Freedom Report 2007, Open Doors, The World Factbook

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