Writer’s Note: Attacks on camps for the displaced in Syria continue, as does the barrage of artillery from the Turkish border. Israel took out Iranian positions in Syria in retaliation for rocket fire. At least 500,000 people have been killed in the war and more than half of Syria’s 22-million (pre-war) residents have fled. What follows is an account of the trauma in microcosm, multiplied by roughly 11-million people.
Syria (CAM) — When Christian Aid Mission partners in one city in Syria met a family who had fled Islamic State (ISIS) atrocities in another, they were shocked at how deeply traumatized the displaced Muslims were.
Rima* and her mother had seen ISIS militants thrash Rima’s brother, and they and other residents had witnessed the terrorists executing Syrian soldiers. The destruction that arrived with ISIS occupation led to Rima’s husband losing his job and, likewise, the flower shop that she and her mother had run lost its market.
“Rima’s family had to stay hidden in a shelter because snipers were everywhere – it was rarely safe to walk around,” the ministry leader said. “One day she saw a soldier that had his legs blown off. He begged for help, but no one was able to get close enough to help him.”
When ISIS took over the city, the terrorists beat residents, raped them and forced them out of their homes, he said.
“Rima’s family was forced to leave and lost everything – their home, their business, and all their possessions,” the leader said. “They felt they had no hope or dignity left. When they moved to a new area, they moved into a place that had only a roof.”
Finding new community outside of Syria
As the ministry team provided them food packages and other basic necessities, they got to know the family and began praying with them, he said. In time Rima and her mother put their faith in Christ.
“They often say that, ‘Although we lost everything, we have gained our Savior, Jesus Christ,’” the leader said. “Rima’s mental health has started to improve through times of prayer and Bible study. She is very artistic and creative, writing poems and meditations that talk about Jesus. Both her and her mom are in a Bible study and have begun to help in the knitting and crochet program.”
At the knitting and crochet venue, displaced women are further healed from trauma as they engage in fellowship and a common purpose of creating clothes and other items to sell.
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SOURCE: Mission Network News, R.B. Klama