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Conflict has been devastating for Christianity in Syria, group warns

Speaking on this Saturday's Voice For The Voiceless programme with Rick Easter, CSW's Special Ambassador Stuart Windsor said the situation is dire and getting worse by the day.

He said: "It's absolutely terrible, it goes back to 2007 and the Arab Spring when a peaceful march erupted and boys were detained and tortured for writing graffiti in support of the uprising.

"One was badly tortured and killed - sparking the Arab Spring."

Fadi is a Syrian and Middle East and Africa Officer for CSW. He has also been talking to Premier on Voice For The Voiceless about the ongoing conflict and the devastating effect it has had, and continues to have, on people in the war-ravaged country, especially Christians.

He said: "I am heartbroken...the situation is very sad, not only for me as a human being but as a Christian...the level of violence, destruction and ethnic tension.

"Half of Syria's population is displaced, more than ten million people. There is a huge refugee crisis. The humanitarian situation is beyond belief. I have no words to describe the level of suffering the people have endured the past six years."

Fadi went on: "The future is quite uncertain...I am not very optimistic. Christians and other minorities cannot survive in any environment where Sectarian narratives and actions are widespread and where there is no rule of law.

"It is estimated that 40 per cent of Syrian Christians have left and it is unlikely they will ever return.

He continued by saying under the President, before the uprising, things were nowhere near as bad as they are now: "People's lives are on the line every day...Assad's regime is brutal and corrupt, a dictatorship. But it retained a level of religious freedom so some people were able to practise and were tolerated in some areas.

"But, the influx of foreign fighters created a very hostile environment against Christians and other religious minorities.

"There are only eighty Christians left in Raqqa now...there were was eleven thousand before 2011 and when ISIS arrived."

Fadi asks: "Can anybody imagine what it's like to be a Christian under ISIS? It saddens me that Christianity is disappearing form the birthplace of Christianity."

He concluded by saying: "The only answer to that amount of violence and hatred and conflict is Jesus. We can pray for peace and reconciliation and for the war to stop. God will deliver us from war and conflict and hatred. We can pray for all the people in the Middle East."

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