One million Syrian Christians have fled their homes fearing death at the hands of Islamic extremists and the Iran-backed Assad regime since 2011. Christians across the Middle East regularly face persecution and violence for their faith. These hundreds of thousands of Christian families have fled to nearby countries which host large United Nations refugee camps. These camps which are in part funded by American tax dollars, are unsafe for Christian refugees. Christian families face violence at the hands of Islamic extremists within these camps and are unable to seek refuge there.
The Trump administration must force the United Nations to take all necessary steps to make these camps safe for Syrian Christians. These reforms vary from creating refugee camps specifically for the Christian population, cracking down on Islamic extremism in existing refugee camps, and setting up specific zones for Christians within each refugee camp guarded by United Nations peacekeepers.
Christians fled Syria in record numbers as one million individuals sought safety in nearby countries amid the bloody Syrian civil war. Families who escaped Syria faced a new problem once they arrived at United Nations refugee camps. Christians discovered that these refugee camps, which are generously funded by United States taxpayers, were not safe for them to settle.
Nowhere is this better seen than within the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan. Zaatari, the largest Syrian refugee camp in the Middle East, does not host a single Christian family of the approximately 80,000 residents. Christians are not technically barred from these camps, but they face persecution, violence, and death from Islamic extremists if they dare enter.
Since Christians cannot safely settle in these camps, they wander aimlessly searching for a place to call home. Many are forced to sleep on the streets, churches, or other accommodations waiting to return to Syria or relocate to a foreign country thanks to lack of support from the United Nations.
The seemingly hopeless plight of these refugees stems from the Obama administration’s failed foreign policy approach. The Obama administration relied heavily on a “leading from behind approach” throughout its disastrous eight-year tenure failing to contain the bloody Syrian civil war and spread of radical Islamic terrorist groups.
ISIS and other radical Islamic groups have gained a significant foothold in Syria since the start of the war. And once considered a friend of Christians, Assad has shown his true colors as the war has escalated. More than 60% of the churches destroyed since the start of the war has been as a result of Assad’s forces. Worse, Assad and his forces indiscriminately drop barrel bombs with little regard for civilian life. Many of these bombs have resulted in the deaths of Syrian Christians.
With nowhere to safely settle, now more than ever do Syrian Christians refugees need our help. President Trump has made helping Christian refugees a top priority of his administration unlike the previous one, but there is still much work to be done.
The Trump administration must hold the United Nations accountable for its failure to help Syrian Christian refugees relocate safely to these camps. Not only as Christians should we demand action, but American tax dollars should not be used promoting policies that effectively bar Christians from safety. We as Christians have a moral obligation to right this wrong and must continue to advocate the Trump administration to enact change. The future of the Syrian Christian community depends on it.
Perspectives expressed in op-eds are not those of The Daily Caller.