Aleppo’s Christians Face Ongoing Struggles from War and Displacement

Publication Date: 19/12/2023

Source: Persecution - International Christian Concern

Aleppo, the second-largest city in Syria, has witnessed profound transformations over the past 12 years, becoming a poignant symbol of the broader challenges faced by the nation and the entire Middle East region. Aleppo, in the past decade, has experienced the devastating consequences of war, mass displacement, economic crises, and societal breakdown.

The Christian community in Aleppo, like in many conflict-ridden regions of the Middle East, has found itself caught in the crossfire of the long-standing Syrian Civil War. Drawing parallels to the Lebanese Civil War (1975-1990), the Iraq wars (2003-2011 and 2014-2018), and the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Christians have often been disproportionately affected. International Christian Concern (ICC) estimates that approximately 200,000 Christians have left Aleppo in the past 12 years. This mass exodus reflects the broader trend of displacement and persecution faced by religious minorities in the region.

Aleppo, once a thriving hub and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities globally, has a deep historical significance. It was the third-largest city in the Ottoman Empire, a nexus for trade, and boasted a population that included 250,000 Christians, constituting around 12% of the city’s inhabitants before the war. The Battle of Aleppo (2012-2016) during the Syrian Civil War was particularly devastating, with an estimated 31,000 people losing their lives. The conflict led to significant damage to the city, compounded by the 2023 Turkey-Syria Earthquakes, further worsening the challenges faced by its residents. Churches were not spared. A staggering 20 churches suffered considerable damage during the war in Aleppo.

Now, as Aleppo attempts to rebuild, the Christian population has dwindled significantly. There are currently only around 50,000 Christians left in a city that now hosts 3.4 million people, representing a mere 1.4% of the population. As the city grapples with the aftermath of conflict and natural disasters, the plight of Aleppo’s Christians remains a poignant reminder of the human cost of prolonged conflict and the urgent need for international attention and support in protecting Christian communities in the Middle East during conflict.

Link: https://www.persecution.org/2023/12/19/aleppos-christians-face-ongoing-struggles/

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