There’s very little sympathy in the United States for the regime of Syria’s Bashar al-Assad.

His longtime terrorism connections, his pursuit of nuclear weapons and his nefarious ties to Iran have many people in the West cheering for his downfall. But while Assad clings to power in the midst of a civil war, the fate of the 1.6 million Christians in Syria may very well hang in the balance.

According to Jerry Dykstra of Open Doors USA, the Christians in Syria have actually been treated quite well by Assad and are free to worship in their neighborhoods. In contrast, Dykstra says the rebels have frequently targeted Christian populations with violence. He adds that the rebels are joined by al-Qaida figures and seem likely to bring in a much more repressive approach to religious freedom – much as we’ve seen in Iraq and Egypt. Dykstra explains what his organization is doing to support refugees from the civil war in Syria and what steps he would like to see the U.S. government take with respect to the freedom to worship in the region.

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