(Washington, D.C.) — The humanitarian disaster in Syria just keeps getting worse, the death toll keeps climbing, the destruction keeps spreading, the nation’s children are being subjected to unspeakable crimes, and now the latest round of peace talks in Geneva have broken down without progress.
Please pray urgently:
- for peace
- for the immediate end of this horrific civil war
- for the bodies and souls of the Syrian people
- for the international relief organizations trying to get food and other supplies to suffering people amidst so much fighting and danger
- for Christian relief organizations will have wisdom to know how to bless and care for the suffering people of Syria
- for wisdom for government leaders, NGOs and Christian groups to know how to care for the 2 million-plus Syrian refugees who have poured into neighboring countries
- for pastors and evangelical Christian leaders around the region and the world will be moved by the Lord to mobilize more pray for Syria, and moved to invest in this important work.
The Joshua Fund is helping where the Lord opens a door, but I concede it is a drop in the bucket as the needs are enormous and overwhelming.
“More than 140,000 people, over 7,000 of them children, have been killed in Syria’s uprising-turned-civil war, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Saturday,” Reuters reports. “The pro-opposition Observatory said the period since the ‘Geneva 2’ peace talks for Syria began last month had been the bloodiest of the nearly three-year conflict.”
“The death toll is now at 140,041, according to the Observatory, which is based in Britain but has a network of activists across the country. Among the dead were 7,626 children and 5,064 women,” the article notes. “The revolt against President Bashar al-Assad began as peaceful street protests but transformed into an armed insurgency after a fierce security force crackdown. It has since descended into a civil war with sectarian dimensions. The Observatory’s toll could not be independently verified by Reuters. The United Nations said last month it would stop updating its death count in Syria as dangerous conditions on the ground made estimates impossible to update with accuracy. The Observatory said all those cases included in its count were those it could document with either names and identification documents, or pictures and videos. It said the fate of tens of thousands more people remained unknown.”
A recently-released UN report paints an especially grim picture of the situation for Syria’s children — excerpts:
- Syrian children have been subjected to “unspeakable” suffering in the nearly three years of civil war, with the Government and allied militia responsible for countless killings, maiming and torture, and the opposition for recruiting youngsters for combat and using terror tactics in civilian areas, according to the first United Nations report on the issue.
- “Violations must come to an end now,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says in the report, which was released yesterday to the Security Council. “I therefore urge all parties to the conflict to take, without delay, all measures to protect and uphold the rights of all children in Syria.”
- The report, covering the period from 1 March 2011 to 15 November 2013, lists a raft of horrors that Syria’s children have suffered since the opposition first sought to oust President Bashar al-Assad, ranging from direct commission of abuse, including sexual violence, to more general violation of their rights from school closures and denial of access to humanitarian aid.
Agence France Presse reported that “a second round of peace talks between Syria’s warring sides broke off Saturday without making any progress and without a date being set for a third round, the UN mediator said.”
“I think it is better that every side goes back and reflects on their responsibility, (and on whether) they want this process to continue or not,” Lakhdar Brahimi told reporters in Geneva.
“Speaking on the final day of a second round of talks that have been mired from the start by blame-trading over the violence ravaging Syria, he apologised to the Syrian people for not making progress,” AFP reported.
“I’m very, very sorry,” he said.
AFP also reported that according to Brahimi, “the two sides now at least had reached agreement on an agenda for future talks — if they happen — something they had failed to do throughout the past week.”
“At least we have agreed on an agenda. But we also have to agree on how we tackle that agenda,” Brahimi said, adding: “I very much hope there we will be a third round.”