Where We Work
Climate: Mostly desert; hot, dry, sunny summers (June to August) and mild, rainy winters (December to February) along coast; cold weather with snow or sleet periodically in Damascus
Terrain: Primarily semiarid and desert plateau; narrow coastal plain; mountains in west.
Environment Issues: Deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification; depletion of water resources; water pollution from raw sewage and petroleum refining wastes; inadequate potable water
Ethnic Groups: Arab ~50%, Alawite ~15%, Kurd ~10%, Levantine ~10%, other ~15% (includes Druze, Ismaili, Imami, Nusairi, Assyrian, Turkoman, Armenian).
Languages: Arabic (official), Kurdish, Armenian, Aramaic, Circassian, French, English.
Government Type: Presidential Republic; Highly Authoritarian Regime
Years of conflict and instability have created an environment in which persecution can flourish with impunity. In the few areas controlled by Islamic militants, leaders of traditional churches are particularly targeted for kidnap or attack since they have greater public visibility. Public expressions of Christian faith are prohibited and church buildings cannot be repaired or restored. Even in government-controlled areas, evangelism and converting from Islam to Christianity are seen as a threat to social stability and are therefore heavily suppressed. (Source: Open Doors)