Today, March 15, marks five years since the start of the Syrian Civil War. The war was ignited after an uprising against the government in 2011. Protestors demanded democracy in the face of a violent and totalitarian regime led by President Bashar al-Assad. Numerous rebel armies and military forces have entered the war making any claim to simple understanding of the issue preposterous.
The United Nations considers Syria “the biggest humanitarian emergency of our era.” An estimated 250,000 people have been killed, and over half of the nation’s population has been displaced. Copious human rights have been violated during these past five years, and because of the ongoing war, many of Syria’s citizens are seeking refugee status in order to find peace and safety. The UNHCR states around 4 million people have fled Syria’s borders while 6.5 million are internally displaced. Peace talks and plans for a cease-fire have been stalled over and over again while refugees continue to pour into Europe and Syria’s neighboring countries. World powers have agreed to a “cessation of hostilities” in Syria, yet many questions remain concerning the actions that will follow the ambitious plan. As of this morning, the first Russian planes have started to withdraw from Syria.
So, five years later, what can we do?
We can serve, listen, and love.
We can work with our partners around the world that are daily serving refugees through both humanitarian aid and sharing the Gospel. We can listen to the stories of refugees from Syria that find their way to places across Europe. We can pray boldly and intentionally for these people who are in the midst of extreme difficulty. While we do not have the solution to the war in Syria or the refugee crisis, we do have the power of Christ and the knowledge that He is the only lasting form of peace and love.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”- John 14:27