Asharq Al-Awsat: Mass emigration of Christians in Syria continues

HEMTO, Syria — Emigration in Syria has once again worsened as the economy continues its downward spiral amidst the prolonged civil war and global economic downturn.

The emigration of Syrian Christians in particular poses a threat to the cultural and religious diversity of the country.

Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper reported that emigration from Christian-majority areas is escalating with the increased living pressures due to economic collapse and unemployment, in addition to the state of chaos and domination of pro-regime militias on civilians.

Sources in rural Hemto (Hama) confirmed that dozens of Christian youths emigrate weekly from Mahardah, Al-Suqaylabiyah, Kafr Buhum, in addition to the villages of Wadi al-Nasara and the countryside of Hmoth (Homs).

Emigration of Christians from Holeb (Aleppo), Daramsuq (Damascus), and Gozarto (Jazira) Region in North and East Syria also continues.

The newspaper pointed out that there are daily flights carrying dozens of emigrants through networks that ensure they can bypass security without inspection at costs up to $1,200 per person, in addition to the costs of reaching Europe. The people sell their property and lands to secure the migration of their children.

The paper estimates that 80% of Holeb’s Christians have emigrated, while the percentage of those who remained in Zalin (Qamishli) is estimated to not exceed 10%. The percentage of Christians decreased from 10% to 4% of Syria’s population over the last decade, according to the paper.