Ani’s Syria Survival Story

In Ani's survival story, Maria survived thanks to the prayers of the church – and Ani realised she needed to make Jesus her sure foundation.

SYRIA — Ani was horrified when her baby girl Maria was caught up in a bomb attack in Syria in 2014. In Ani’s survival story, Maria survived thanks to the prayers of the church – and Ani realised she needed to make Jesus her sure foundation.

*Name changed for security reasons


“There are a lot of Christians, members of the church, they left due to the crisis, searching for a better life, comfort and peace. For during the war, we endured things like the sound of shells exploding, so a lot of people fled the country.”

Open Doors estimates that well over half of all Christians have left Syria over the past decade. But despite the conflict, Ani and her husband Sarkis chose to stay in their city of Aleppo and start a family.


My dream was to have a daughter, because my mother passed away when I was young. So I dreamed of having a daughter who would call me “Mama”. That’s why we took the decision to start a family. We never thought that the war would last so long or that we would experience this whole crisis.

On the 24th of March 2014, Annie was with her baby girl Maria when a mortar shell fell in front of their building. From their fifth floor apartment they went downstairs to find relative safety with neighbour.


I had barely sat down. I greeted my neighbour and Maria was on my lap. It was a matter of seconds. I didn’t grasp what happened. I saw myself flying for a distance. I could see Maria crying, but I couldn’t hear anything. I didn’t see what had happened to her, but once I was up on my feet, I saw that she had a terrible head wound. On that day, everything in my life turned upside down.

Maria was rushed to hospital, where the surgeons gave her only a 25% chance of survival. She still has one shard of the mortar shell embedded in her head and needs regular medical attention. But the incident also prompted Ani to take her Christian beliefs more seriously.


I began to attend church every week and to listen to the sermon. And I remember one of the ladies told me about a discipleship group they were starting and asked me if I would like to join. I told her that I had no idea how to study the Bible. I had no idea how to pray. That’s how it was for me. She suggested that I try the study group for a week or two, and that’s what I did. I found peace and safety. When I enter the church, I feel as if I’m entering my home. Whatever is happening to me, whatever things I need to solve, I find the solutions there through my brothers and sisters in the church.

Through practical and spiritual support, the church can encourage Christians to stay in Syria and so strengthen what remains. Open Door’s local partners gave Ani some sewing machines to help her small business.


I applied for the project because I was short of some machines and other items that I found were difficult to buy, because they were very expensive. After I submitted the project request, they gave me those things and secured everything for me. I love Syria, I love my country, and because of the project, I will remain in Syria, and we will definitely have a better life. And in time, we will be able to provide for our family’s needs.

About Open Doors UK

For over 60 years, Open Doors UK has worked in the world’s most oppressive countries, empowering Christians who are persecuted for their beliefs. Open Doors equips persecuted Christians in more than 60 countries through programs like Bible & Gospel Development, Women & Children Advancement, and Christian Community Restoration.

Read more news on Non Profit / Faith Based Organizations, World Missions, and Religious Freedom on Missions Box.


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