- (Photo: World Compassion Terry Law Ministries Facebook)
Syrian refugees have said that they are "horrified" at the prospect of a U.S. military attack on the government to take down President Bashar al-Assad, while Muslims have shared their amazement at a Christian missionary group providing relief in the region.
"It is about divided, the opinion. Some believe the rebels did it, but the majority of the people I talked to believe that Assad gassed his own people. That's the general feeling in the camps," Dr. Terry Law, the founder and president of World Compassion Ministries, shared with The Christian Post in a phone interview on Monday.
"They are horrified by it. Anybody in the camps says 'no more bombing, no more violence, our homes are destroyed already' and they are begging 'please let there be no response from the U.S. Just leave us alone,'" Law added of what refugees think of President Barack Obama's warnings of a military strike on Syria to punish Assad for using chemical weapons to kill 1,429 people in August.
Law's World Compassion ministry has been engaged in helping the over 2 million refugees who have fled Syria to neighboring countries over the two-and-a-half-year civil war that has ravaged the country.
Over 150,000 refugees are concentrated in camps in the Kurdish region of Northern Iraq, where World Compassion is helping and where Law has visited to speak with local officials and help the people.
"We delivered a lot of humanitarian aid to the camps, we bought in special packages of food. Some of the Kurds from Syria – came with only the clothes on their backs," Law explained.
After speaking with the interior minister of Iraq's Kurdistan region, Karim Sanjari, Law revealed that he has received assurance that Muslims converting to Christianity will not be persecuted, as has been the case in the past. He also made an appeal to churches and Christian communities in the West to come and help in Syria with anything they can.
Law said that many of Syria's Christians have fled south to Jordan and Beirut, and that there are few ethnic Christian refugees in the Kurdish region. The Muslims, however, have been impressed by the relief efforts the Christian organization has put together to help the many people in need.
"I stood up last week and I announced to the crowd that we have food for them," the World Compassion Ministries founder said.
"We are doing this because we are Christians. We believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and Jesus has instructed us to take care of the poor. And that's why we are doing these things," he added.
When asked by the refugee camp leader why Christians would help Muslims, Law quoted from Matthew 25:
"For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me."
The response from the Muslim refugees has been one of gratitude, with the camp leader saying: "This is amazing that Christians have come to do this. Our Muslim brothers have not helped at all. To see you doing this is a powerful testimony of your faith."
Law said that he has spoken to and led a number of people to Jesus Christ in the camps, but described the situation in the region as "dire" and called on the Christian community in America to look into ways to help.
"We are looking at rallying Christian organizations in the West. Churches, doctors, anybody like that we can encourage to go over there," he added. "This may be the greatest opportunity Christianity has had in the Middle East, ever."
At the beginning of September, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) declared Syria to be the "great tragedy" of the 21st century.
"The war is now well into its third year and Syria is hemorrhaging women, children and men who cross borders often with little more than the clothes on their backs," the UN refugee agency said in a statement.
"This trend is nothing less than alarming, representing a jump of almost 1.8 million people in 12 months."
Syrian refugees have numbered hundreds of thousands across Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, with close to 52 percent of those children 17 and below.
The vast number of refugees has created big problems for the regions where the camps have been set up, and with the Syrian civil war still raging on with no signs of ending, the fate of the 2 million men, women and children remains uncertain.
"The host countries who are receiving these people, they don't want them staying, they want them to go back. But with the current situation in Syria, I don't see them going back. I don't have any easy solutions either because the opposition, the Free Syrian Army, has a lot of Al Qaeda members in it. Syria is a difficult world question right now," Law admitted.
The World Compassion website features a number of stories by the refugees and survivors of the civil war who share the atrocities committed both by government loyalists and the rebel fighters. The website also lists ways for people to donate, raise awareness for the cause and help with what they can.