Syrian Arab Republic
October 26

Challenges for Prayer

1 The Alawite minority regime has retained power by crushing all political dissent

2 Christian minorities are tolerated and have freedom to worship and witness within their own community, but all activities that could threaten the government or communal harmony are watched

3 The Muslim majority has a false conception of what a true Christian is

4 Syrian Christians have been a respected minority since the time of the church in Antioch (Acts 13)

5 The Protestant witness is small, but churches are slowly growing

6 Conversions out of Islam are few, but increasing

7 Unreached peoples

a) The Sunni Arab majority, very few of whom have heard the gospel

b) The Alawites who are a rural community, but very influential in the army and government

c) The Druze in the far south who are a secretive offshoot of Islam

d) The Kurds of the north and northwest who might be more receptive

e) The Bedouin, Circassian, Turkmen and Gypsy minorities who are solidly Muslim with no known Christians

8 Missionaries are not allowed to reside in the country

9 Christian media

a) Literature is freely available, and there is a brisk sale of Bibles from the two Bible Society bookrooms

b) The JESUS film is widely circulated on video cassette in Arabic

c) Radio/Television. Many Muslims listen to Christian radio


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Area 185,180 Fertile plain on Mediterranean coast; 60% desert in centre and east but crossed by Euphrates River.

Population (2000) 16,124,618 +2.57%AGR

Capital Damascus 2,550,000.


Arab 92%.

Other 8%.

Literacy 71%. Official language Arabic. All languages 17. Languages with Scripture 4Bi 2NT 1por 4w.i.p.


Oil and agriculture are important. HDI 0.663; 111th/174. Public debt 98% of GNP. Income/person $1,120 (3.6% of USA).


Independent from France in 1946.


Prior to 1973 Islam was the religion of the state.

Religions Population % Adherents Ann.Gr.
Muslim 90.32 14,563,755 +2.7%
Christian 5.12 825,580 +0.7%
non-Religious 2.90 467,614 +2.6%
Other (Druze, etc.) 1.55 249,932 +3.0%
Baha'i 0.10 16,125 +2.6%
Jewish 0.01 1,612 -10.7%
Christians Denom. Affil.% ,000 Ann.Gr.
Protestant 15 0.16 26 +0.0%
Independent 1 0.03 5 +2.1%
Anglican 1 0.02 4 +3.0%
Catholic 6 1.80 290 +0.7%
Orthodox 6 3.10 500 +0.7%
Marginal 6 0.01 1 +1.2%

Churches in Syria

Missionaries from Syria

7 in 2 agencies.

Expatriates to Syria

19 in 7 agencies.

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