Aramaic-speakers attacked in Syrian village

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Jesus' first language was most likely Aramaic. Amazingly there are still small communities of Aramaic speakers remaining in countries like Syria. Some of those communities have been Christian for two thousand years.

They are now coming under threat in the Syrian civil war. From the Australian newspaper:

A Christian village in Syria, one of the few remaining places where the ancient language of Aramaic is spoken, is under attack by government forces, rebels and al-Qa'ida-linked fighters.

The rebels and al-Qa'ida-linked fighters say they have gained control of the village of Maaloula, northeast of the capital Damascus. Government media, however, provides a dramatically different account of the battle, suggesting regime forces are winning.

It is impossible to independently verify the reports from the scenic mountain community known for being one of the few places in the world where residents still speak the ancient Middle Eastern language of Aramaic.

The village is on a UNESCO list of tentative world heritage sites.

The rebel advance into the area this week was spearheaded by the Jabhat al-Nusra, or Nusra Front, exacerbating fears among Syrians and religious minorities about the role played by Islamic extremists within the rebel ranks.

There will be no winners from this conflict. Our only hope is that as the world crumbles around the Syrian people, that they find comfort, hope and salvation in the Prince of Peace.

I once asked some workers who saw the gospel spread among Muslims, "What are you learning about reaching Muslims?" They replied, "Move towards the chaos."

Let's pray for workers for the people of Syria, both within the nation's war-torn borders and among the growing refugee population of over 2 million people.

If you live in the West you may discover soon that God has placed some Syrian refugees on your doorstep. . .

UPDATE: The Guardian's interactive map of Syria's conflict areas and refugee population.