“It’s scary. We hear a lot of bad stories about what is happening around us. On the streets there are soldiers everywhere. We see smoke from fighting and hear bombings all the time.”
Those are the words of Youmna a 13 year old Christian girl who lives in Damascus, Syria, with her 10 year old sister Nashita.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, approximately 100,000 people have been killed in the civil war between government forces and rebels. The death total includes 5,000 children under the age of 16. The conflict began on March 2011.
The report by Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, released by Open Doors USA, estimates there have been more than 100,000 casualties since the war’s beginning in 2011.
Five thousand of those casualties are children under the age of 16.
Open Doors spokesman Jerry Dykstra told WND that a disproportionate number of the casualties are young Christian women and girls.
“The fact is there have been reports of rape of women and girls in Christian communities of Syria. In some of the areas, students stay home from school and church. One report said 5,000 children 16 and below have been killed in the war,” Dykstra said.
International Christian Concern’s Middle East area specialist Todd Daniels says that non-Muslim Christian women are the target of a fatwa, a religious instruction under Islam.
“Women, especially those who are non-Sunni, have been particularly affected by the influx of militant Islamic extremists,” Daniels said. “They have taken to abusing non-Sunni women who are viewed as infidels or worse.”
He said the fatwa is an “example of the kind of ideology that is not only permitting but in some instances even encouraging treatment of these women in what is really an inhumane way.”
The fatwa was issued by Jordan-born Salafi cleric Sheikh Yasir al-Ajlawni, who said Muslims fighting to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad can legally “capture and have sex with all non-Sunni women.”
Daniels says that means the sheik is permitting rape of all non-Muslim women. Even though the fatwa includes all non-Sunni women, he said, Syria’s Christian women are getting the worst treatment.
By Asma Marwan