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The road from Damascus

For Christians in America, it’s time to engage in the Syrian conflict, says Danny Sims.

The bloody civil war in the Middle Eastern nation — whose capital, Damascus, was the site of the apostle Paul’s baptism — has claimed more than 30,000 lives in the past 18 months, according to news reports.

Sims, executive director of Global Samaritan Resources, traveled to neighboring Jordan recently to listen to refugees from the war. “Hands-on love and peace” are needed desperately, he said.

So are blankets.

Sims visited the city of Mafraq, about 10 miles south of the Syrian border, on behalf of the Christian humanitarian nonprofit, which receives support from members of Churches of Christ. The longtime minister became executive director of the Abilene, Texas-based nonprofit in March.

Refugees have flooded Syria’s neighbors since the “Arab Spring” of 2011 when Syrians began demonstrations against President Bashar al-Assad. In Mafraq, a United Nations camp houses 33,000 refugees — nearly half under age 18.

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