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The Flight Of A Million Christians

“If you gave me a plane ticket and a visa to Germany, I’d go to the airport now.” Sitting in a dimly lit room crowded with fellow Christian refugees, Stephanos Giorgis could be forgiven for wanting a future outside the Middle East.

This young man had escaped from his home town of Rableh in western Syria after a ransom was paid following his abduction by an Islamist group. The extremists had threatened to kill him and a number of others after they refused to abandon their faith.

Almost all who made up Rableh’s large Christian community had fled for their lives, mostly to neighbouring Lebanon, which is where we met Stephanos. The exodus has been replicated in so many Syrian towns and cities, as we discovered when our small delegation from Aid to the Church in Need, the Catholic charity for persecuted and other suffering Christians, visited the region.

A central finding of our trip was that unless there is a radical change in Syria’s fortunes, time is running out for the country’s Christian community.

We found that Christians in Syria are fleeing their homes at a far higher rate than hitherto reported. Almost every Christian we spoke to on the subject said they were avowed supporters of President Assad, and many went further, claiming that unless he emerged victorious in Syria’s civil war the country’s Christians would drain away. Full Story

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