(Voice of the Persecuted) President Assad, controversial ruler of Syria.
WHO IS PRESIDENT ASSAD?
Bashar al-Assad (b. 1965) has been the President of the Syrian Arab Republic since the death of his father, Hafez al-Assad, in June of 2000. The Syrian legislature approved a constitutional amendment the day his father died, lowering the minimum age for president from 40 to 34 and paving the way for Bashar’s unopposed election the following month. The Assad family has led an authoritarian regime in Syria for nearly 50 years.
PRESIDENT ASSAD’S BACKGROUND
Bashar al-Assad, who trained as a doctor in Damascus and studied ophthalmology in London, was one of five children. In reality, he was never meant to be president – that was to be the responsibility of his oldest brother, Basel. Unfortunately, Basel was killed in a car accident in 1994. Bashar immediately left his medical training and returned to Syria to serve in the army while being groomed as his father’s successor.
Shortly after he became president, he married Asma Akhras, a wealthy, well-educated Syrian-born woman raised in London, on New Year’s Day 2001. They have three children: Hafez (2001), Zein (2003) and Karim (2004).
Some political commentators hoped that the son’s rule would be less cruel and authoritarian than the father’s. Hafez al-Assad was known to execute his political foes and brutally suppress uprisings, as in the 1982 Hama massacre. Tragically, Bashar has followed in the same path.
PRESIDENT ASSAD TODAY
Assad’s greatest struggle by far is the complicated and brutal civil war that began in March, 2011. More than half a million people have been killed. The conflict has displaced 5.6 million people who have fled Syria and another 6.6 million who are displaced within the country.
The war began when young Syrians, tired of oppression and encouraged by the protests happening across the Arab world, took to the streets to demand government reforms.
The protesters hoped Assad would respond with reason and reform, but he reacted instead with violence, ordering government security forces to shoot protestors and imprison rebels. The complexity of the Syrian war has intensified as Russia, Iran, Turkey, the United States, Saudi Arabia, and others have gotten involved, supporting numerous local and foreign rebel groups.
Ironically, though the Assad family is very powerful, they are Alawites, a minority sect of Shiite Muslims. Before the war, Christians, as fellow minorities in Syria, found protection under Assad’s rule as long as they did not threaten the government. Since the war began, all religious minorities have been put at risk, and hundreds of thousands of Christians have left the country.
- Pray for the Holy Spirit to soften his heart towards God and the Syrian people.
- Pray for President Assad and his family to put their faith in Jesus Christ.
- Pray for the love of Christ to transform and compel him to love his people and restore his nation.
We continue to pray for the persecuted:
- Leah Sharibu and Alice, both held captive by the Boko Haram.
- For Pastor Wang Yi from China, who has been sentenced to 9 years in prison for sharing boldly the love of God.
- For Anita, a Christian convert recently sentenced to 10 years in prison for sharing the Gospel in Iran.
- For Pakistani Christians and other minorities who are facing discrimination and persecution during the coronavirus crisis. Muslims are denying Christians relief food packages because of their faith in Christ.
“Our prayers do have an impact on the things of eternity and the souls of men and women to find truth in him who is the Living Word. Please join us on the prayer conference call to lift prayers up together. As ever, I remain your brother and prayer partner in our Lord Jesus. Meet you on the call! If you are unable to participate on the call, or cannot join us on a particular evening, you can still use the prayer points and pray in your personal prayer closet. The only thing I would urge you is, please do it. Whether you pray privately, in a group, or on our call, please pray for a great harvest of souls during this time of Ramadan.” – Blaine Scogin, Founder of Persecution Watch and former Prayer Director of Voice of the Persecuted.
As Blaine Scogin did each year, the team will continue to host nightly calls during Ramadan. We will be following along with the Prayercast Team’s platform in praying for Muslims for the next 30 days, which began on April 24. Please sign up here to receive the daily video and prayer points from Prayercast which we will cover on the nightly prayer conference calls. If you have yet to do so, it’s not to late. Dear brothers and sisters, we challenge you to join us on the conference call to pray with us during these 30 nights of prayer for the persecuted, the harvest, and for Muslims to come out of the dark, receive the truth and follow Jesus. In Christ, Voice of the Persecuted and the Persecution Watch Prayer Team Nightly call schedule through Ramadan From any location on your phone Time: 9:00 PM Eastern 8:00 PM Central 7:00 PM Mountain 6:00 PM Pacific Call in number: 712 775-7035 Access Code: 281207# Recommended: For those who may be subject to added charges for conference calls. Please download the app, it’s free! MOBILE APP: Free Conference Call HD also provides a quick and easy way for you to dial into conference calls without having to remember the dial-in credentials. Save all of your conference call dial-in numbers and access codes using this free app. With the Free Conference Call HD you can instantly dial into a conference call via 3G/4G data network and or regular mobile carrier. Google Play link or App Store – iTunes What is Persecution Watch? Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God. The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted and our missions became one. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch is an important part of our own. With the passing of Blaine into glory on December 26, 2019, Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with our dedicated prayer warrior team. On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the call to share the trials they’re facing. The team serves to encourage them by washing their feet in Spirit led prayer. Time is often reserved for those on the call to ask questions. We believe this helps to gain a better understanding of the situation that persecuted Christians endure in their specific nations. Q&A also helps us to focus our prayers based on their current needs. Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone. We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you. If you’re new to the call and can’t find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ. We can all be prayer warriors on this call! NOTE: Persecution Watch has a new email address for the prayer team and those who would like to receive urgent prayer requests, weekly call prayer points and notification of special prayer events and special guest speakers. Please fill out the form below to be included in our new distribution list to receive this important information. Since the passing of Brother Blaine Scogin, we thank you for your patience as we have transitioned into this new season. We are grateful for your prayers and to the Lord for guiding us as we continue the Persecution Watch prayer call mission. Note to Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) readers: The Persecution Watch prayer team is also the prayer team of Voice of the Persecuted. SIGN UP today