U.S. ANNOUNCES ALMOST $1 BILLION IN AID TO SYRIA, SOUTH SUDAN, AND THE SAHEL

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On Thursday 24 September, Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun announced, at the UN General Assembly in New  York, that the US would send approximately $960 million in humanitarian aid to countries, including Syria (over $720 million), South Sudan ($108 million), and the Sahel region of Africa ($152 million). The aid to Syria will go…

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CHURCH BUILDINGS – DO THEY MATTER?

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By Donnelly McCleland Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s unprecedented decree (10 July) converting Hagia Sophia once again into a mosque continues to reverberate across the region and beyond. It elicited sharp criticism, despair, and disappointment from both Christians and non-Christians alike. The 1,500-year-old UNESCO-listed site was initially an Orthodox Christian cathedral that was turned into…

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EXPANSIONIST TURKEY RECONQUERS ONE OF ORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY’S BIGGEST SYMBOLS

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By Donnelly McCleland Turkey and the European Union (EU) clashed on Monday [13 July] over Ankara’s decision to change the status of Hagia Sophia from a museum to a mosque and its continued energy exploration in disputed Mediterranean waters. After their first face-to-face meeting in months, the 27 EU foreign ministers said that they “condemned…

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UN RENEWS AID TO MILITANT-CONTROLLED REGION OF SYRIA, BUT ONLY ONE ACCESS POINT

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On 11 July, the United Nations Security Council approved a new round of cross-border aid to Syria through the Turkish border, into militant-controlled Idlib province. The deal was approved on the council’s fifth vote. The proposal, written by Belgium and Germany, will provide one year of foreign aid to the northwest region of Syria, providing…

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24 JUNE ’20 | PRAY FOR THE GLOBAL ECONOMY

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Dear prayer partners, The COVID-19 pandemic has spread globally, at a rapid rate, and infected millions. It has had a huge impact on the world as we knew it; there have been thousands of deaths, it has disrupted our ways of life, and led to huge job losses.  According to the World Bank’s special report…

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NEW U.S. SANCTIONS THREATEN TO DEVASTATE SYRIA’S BELEAGUERED ECONOMY

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Syria faces near-complete isolation as the toughest U.S. sanctions yet come into effect on 17 June. The new law, Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act, allows foreign companies to be targeted, including in neighbouring Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq. Effectively, the sanctions prevent anyone around the world from doing business with Syrian officials or state institutions or…

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RUSSIA AND TURKEY AGREE ON IDLIB CEASEFIRE

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, signed a ceasefire agreement on Thursday 5 March to provide a reprieve to the Syrian city of Idlib. The agreement went into effect just after midnight on Friday 6 March. It committed to ending the fighting along the entire line of contact; and establishing…

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EU-TURKEY STANDOFF AS GREECE BLOCKS REFUGEES

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Thousands of migrants and refugees are caught between the borders of Turkey and Greece after Turkish president Recep Tayipp Erdogan announced last week that the path to Europe was open. However, the Greek border is lined with barbed wire and riot police armed with tear gas. Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said Greece will not…

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4 MARCH ’20 | PRAY FOR SYRIA

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Dear prayer partners, On Sunday 1 March, Turkey shot down two Syrian fighter jets in response to the downing of three Turkish drones by Syrian government forces. Tensions have escalated dramatically after 34 Turkish troops were killed in Syrian government air raids on Idlib on 27 February. Syrian government forces – supported by Russia –…

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ALEPPO FULLY LIBERATED

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On Monday the 17th of February, the Syrian army announced it had retaken control of the city of Aleppo and multiple surrounding suburbs from extremist rebel groups who have had strongholds in the area since 2012. President Bashar al-Assad’s forces took back control of the M5 highway, the main road connecting the city of Aleppo…

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