After President Donald Trump announced airstrikes on chemical-weapon targets in Syria in coordination with the U.K. and France, the Open Doors ministry called for urgent prayers for the Syrian people "during this tragic and complex time" due to a "monstrous regime" and an unending civil war.
"Syria is experiencing extremely difficult circumstances. For believers and non-believers alike, they are living with constant threats from a monstrous regime and unending civil war to poverty and overall instability," the Christian ministry said in a statement.
Homes of numerous Christians in Syria were destroyed in attacks by the Islamic State terror group. "These brave believers returned to their homes to be a light and many of them live in Homs and Damascus—near the targeted strikes," the statement explained.
It suggested believers pray thus: "Lord, we pray for peace and your protection over the men, women and children of Syria. Keep them safe from the bombs and missiles—no matter who is firing them… We ask you to stop this ongoing civil war in Syria and to provide stability and peace for its people and a future for this generation and generations to come… we pray for you to convict the hearts of the Syrian government to care for its people, more than power."
Last month, the U.S.-based charity Knights of Columbus announced that it had given $1 million to church leaders in Iraq and Syria. "Having faced suffering and even death at the hands of ISIS, we hope that our assistance will help these communities to rise up again and rebuild for the future," Knights of Columbus CEO Carl Anderson said in a statement at the time.
The U.S., France and the U.K. launched airstrikes late Friday in response to the Syrian regime's use of chemical weapons near the capital city of Damascus a week earlier. That attack killed dozens of civilians and injured hundreds others.
The targets of the airstrikes by the three countries included Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's chemical-weapons arsenal and a former missile base 15 miles west of the city of Homs, according to The Wall Street Journal.
After the strikes, Trump tweeted: "Thank you to France and the United Kingdom for their wisdom and the power of their fine Military. Could not have had a better result."
After the news of the alleged chemical attack surfaced, Trump called Assad an "animal."
"Many dead, including women and children, in mindless CHEMICAL attack in Syria. Area of atrocity is in lockdown and encircled by Syrian Army, making it completely inaccessible to outside world. President Putin, Russia and Iran are responsible for backing Animal Assad," Trump tweeted.
Sen. Tom Cotton, a Republican from Arkansas, supported Trump's decision to launch the strikes. "The Butcher of Damascus learned two lessons tonight the hard way: weapons of mass destruction won't create a military advantage once the United States is done with you and Russia cannot protect its clients from the United States," he said in a statement.
Cotton added that Trump should sustain the attacks if the Syrian regime "doesn't learn these lessons, and Iran's ayatollahs and Kim Jong Un might want to learn the easy way."
British Prime Minister Theresa May was quoted as saying, "I believe that this action was necessary. I believe it was the right thing for us to do."
French President Emmanuel Macron explained the need for the airstrikes. "Dozens of men, women and children were massacred with chemical weapons...The red line had been crossed."
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization also backed the strikes.
"We have to uphold and support the ban on chemical weapons, and not erode it," NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said. "That is exactly why allies condemn any use of chemical weapons and that is why all NATO allies support the actions taken by key allies."