The number of Christian “martyrs” doubled from 2012 to 2013, according to an annual survey.
Open Doors, a non-denominational group based in the U.S. that provides support to persecuted Christians worldwide, reported Wednesday that 2,132 “martyr” killings took place in 2013 – 1,213 Christians were killed in Syria alone.
In 2012, that number was only 1,201.
That number includes only reported killings. Open Doors and other Christian groups say the vast majority of deaths are not reported and could be as high as 8,000.
"This is a very minimal count based on what has been reported in the media and we can confirm," said Frans Veerman, head of research for Open Doors
The group says North Korea tops the list of the most dangerous countries for Christians, followed by Somalia, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.
North Korea, unlike other countries on the list, is an atheist state.
"The God-like worship of the rulers leaves no room for any other religion," the report said.
Open Doors estimates that 50,000 to 70,000 Christians are currently living in North Korean prison camps.
The group blames radical Islam as the main source of Christian persecution in at least 36 countries on their list.
While 10 percent of Syrians are Christians, many are not the targets of Islamist rebels who view them as supports of President Bashar al-Assad.
"In Syria, another war is thriving in the shadow of the civil war – the war against the church," said Michel Varton, head of Open Doors France.