Those who choose to leave Islam to follow Jesus face intense pressure.


“Every week, a Christian person or family I know is leaving the country, especially the younger generation... it is getting harder and harder.”

– Ibrahim, Open Doors local partner


Middle East
Sources of persecution
Dictatorial Paranoia
Christian population
President Bashar al-Assad

What’s Life Like For Christians?

Despite Syria’s conflict easing slightly in recent years, the challenges facing Christians continue to be numerous and severe.

In areas where Islamic militants are active, leaders of historical churches are particularly vulnerable to attack or kidnap, while most buildings belonging to such groups have been demolished or co-opted for Islamic use. For Christians living in these areas, there is little scope for expressing their faith, and many have been forcibly displaced from their homes.

In government-controlled areas, authorities are tightening their grip on those whom they feel are a threat to social stability, including converts from Islam to Christianity. Although all Christian communities come under pressure, historical churches are in a stronger position to defend their rights than those from non-traditional church groups such as Evangelicals, Baptists, and Pentecostals.

The key headline from the past year is the devastating earthquakes, which have added to the challenges faced by many Christians. Open Doors’ long-term support for the church through a decade of war and persecution has meant that local churches, many of them Centres of Hope supported by Open Doors, were equipped to immediately serve their local communities and show the love of Jesus.

Who Is Most Vulnerable To Persecution?

Converts to Christianity are at risk across the country, but their situation is especially dangerous in the northwest and northeast.

The most imminent threat to men and boys in Syria is forced conscription into the Syrian army or another military faction.

In a context of instability and restrictions on religious freedom, women and girls from religious minority groups—including Christians—risk abduction, violence, and sexual harassment, both in rebel-held and government-controlled areas.


– That God will continue to help His people be salt and light in Syria.

– That believers from Muslim backgrounds will draw strength from the Holy Spirit.

– That the Holy Spirit will give relief and refreshment to Syrian Christians.

What Does Open Doors Do To Help?

Open Doors works through local church partners and Centres of Hope to strengthen the church in Syria through literature distribution, discipleship and leadership training, trauma counselling, vocational training, relief aid and practical support for internally displaced people and earthquake victims.

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