Syria has gained the attention of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) as the nation continues to violate citizens’ religious rights in drastic ways. The USCIRF has added Syria to its “countries of particular concern” list, meaning that citizens in the country are at a high risk of persecution on account of religion.
Last week, two men were publicly crucified by rebels in Raqqa; photos of the crucifixion went viral, shocking people around the world reports Mission Network News.
Todd Nettleton, spokesman for Voice of the Martyrs USA believes the rebels are sending a message.
“I think what they are saying is: ‘if you cross us, you will die, and it will be painful and it will be shameful.’ They want to exercise control. This is yet another chapter in the barbarism of these radical Sunni rebels,” he said. “The fact that it was so public also was designed to instill fear in the populace there. There was apparently right in the center of town in a crossway that a lot of people were around.”
Nettleton said that the people are concerned for their safety as the rebels try to gain more power and influence.
“Prayer is the thing they request of us...I think especially right now, pray that they’ll be faithful. Pray that they’ll have hope and be encouraged in spite of what really is a desperate situation,” Nettleton said.
Publication date: May 8, 2014