By invitation of the Lithuanian Evangelical Lutheran Church forty Syrian refugees will arrive in Lithuania on Wednesday


VILNIUS, Feb 25, BNS – 40 refugees from Syria, hit by a civil war, are coming to Lithuania at the invitation of Lithuania's Evangelical Lutheran Church.

"Our church has invited 40 Syrian Christians to live in Lithuania during the war time," Bishop Mindaugas Sabutis told BNS on Tuesday.

The Syrian families will be on Wednesday flown in on a Spartan transporter of the Lithuanian army to Zokniai Airport, northern Lithuania, and be accommodated by families and rectories across Lithuania. Among those coming are 15 people who lived in the Syrian city of Homs which was under siege of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces for a long time.

According to the bishop, the decision to invite people from Syria to Lithuania was determined by the experience of the Evangelical Lutheran Church and refugees in Lithuania.

"Christians are the most vulnerable group in Syria. They are killed, persecuted and robbed every day. We are a minority church, we has suffered a lot, therefore, we must respond to the sufferings of other people," Sabutis said.

"We remember our postwar refugees who found refuge in Germany and America, contrary to Sweden which sent them back to the Soviet Union. We know what such a pain is when you have nowhere to go and what support means when strangers provide refuge and help you," the bishop said.

He thanked the Lithuanian foreign affairs and national defense ministers for their assistance in helping the Syrians.

Over 130,000 people have been killed in Syria during the ongoing civil war which started in March, 2011 following President Bashar al-Assad's crackdown on protesters, leading to an armed resistance. Foreign fighters on both sides later got involved in the civil war.