Country: Middle East and North Africa, Syria
Christians desperate to flee the besieged Syrian city of Homs are caught in the crossfire; they are not even safe in their own homes as fighters invade and plunder their properties.
The rebels, who are increasingly influenced by Sunni Islamists, go from house to house, taking whatever they want – even the doors – to resource their campaign against government troops. To avoid being captured, the intruders make their escape by knocking holes through the walls between the properties.
Around 70 homes belonging to Christians in Homs have been invaded and pillaged. The rebels are also seizing vehicles and stripping them of their parts.
In recent weeks Homs has been subjected to intense government shelling, which has killed many civilians, while rebel snipers kill people on the streets, making it almost impossible for anyone to leave their homes.
A senior Christian leader told Barnabas Aid:
The situation of Homs at the moment is a horrifying one. Violence has escalated… We witnessed a lot of bombardments, killings, shootings, kidnappings.
As well as the danger of being caught in the crossfire, the lack of resources is putting the survival of Homs’ residents under serious threat. There is no electricity, and people are running out of clean water, food and medicines.
A senior Church leader told Barnabas Aid that thousands of Christian families who are still trapped in Homs would flee if there was just a small window of opportunity, even two or three hours.