World Evangelical Association deeply concerned at suffering of vulnerable, including Christians, on Syria-Turkey border

(Photo: © Peter Kenny / Ecumenical News)Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the World Council Churches (L) and World Evangelical Aalliance general secretary, Bishop Efraim Tendero taking notes during a Nov. 4, 2015 meeting in Tirana, Albania.

he World Evangelical Alliance has said it is deeply concerned about recent developments in the border region between Syria and Turkey and calls for prayer for the thousands of vulnerable people at risk of further suffering.

WEA said in its statement that it serves and represents some 600 million evangelicals in 130 countries, and is deeply concerned about the recent developments in the border region between Syria and Turkey.

It calls for prayer for the thousands of vulnerable people at risk of further suffering.

"The escalation of military attacks in the wake of political decisions by the United States, Turkey and Syria along with other state and non-state actors, threatens areas in northern Syria that are populated by Christians of various traditions, including evangelicals," said WEA in a statement on Oct. 15.

WEA made its statement before U.S. Vice President Mike Pence announced in Turkey on Oct. 17 that he and Turkish President Erdogan agreed to a pause in fighting.

It would halt Turkey's incursion into northern Syria, which was launched after President Donald Trump effectively gave Turkey the go ahead on a phone call with Erdogan earlier this month.

The deal appeared to secure Turkey most of its military objectives, forcing America's one-time allies in the fight against ISIS -- Kurdish forces -- to cede a vast swath of territory, CNN reported.

One senior US official familiar with operations in Syria told CNN that the deal meant the United States was "validating what Turkey did and allowing them to annex a portion of Syria and displace the Kurdish population."

WEA cited Open Doors saying that a pastor of a Christian and Missionary Alliance in the Syrian city of Qamishli reported numerous deaths and injuries as a result of recent bombardments.

It said it was just one example of the suffering inflicted on populations in areas that have previously already suffered at the hands of ISIS terrorists and who are now again forced to flee in the thousands for relatively safer zones.

"This internal displacement in itself will present new threats of food and water shortages, lack of medical services and vulnerability to exploitation, among others," said WEA.

"We are very concerned about the deteriorating situation in Syria and the people who are caught up in this conflict yet again.

"We call on Christians and churches to pray for and stand in solidarity with their brothers and sisters in Christ in the region, and also with the Syrian people in all its diversity, including Kurds and Arabs," said Bishop Efraim Tendero, Secretary General of the WEA.

He said, "We also call on all involved parties to work towards an immediate end to the senseless violence, towards the protection of innocent civilians and the restoration of peace, which will also prevent the resurgence of terrorism that threatens people of all faiths, including Christians."

The Guardain newspaper repored Oct. 11 that evangelical Christian voters have been among U.S. President Donald Trump's most enthusiastic and reliable supporters.

"A great schism, however, may finally be at hand. In drips that have become a gush, evangelical leaders this week have sharply criticized Trump's decision to stand down US forces in northern Syria, warning that Turkey's invasion of the region threatens America's longstanding Kurdish allies and vulnerable Christian communities," commented the Guardian.

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