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News / Thoughts

Iraq’s Christian capital emptied

August 7, 2014

Reports are appearing all over the web that thousands of people are stranded in the Sinjar mountains in Iraq, including 50 Christian families, after they were forced to flee the city of Sinjar where the militant group IS (formerly ISIS) have taken control.

They have no access to food or water, and according to the Assyrian Aid Society of Iraq, 45 children have died of thirst. Families are taking drastic measures to protect children from militants, with reports of rape and punishments being rife.

The Telegraph reports that the Peshmerga (Kurdish armed forces) have announced that their troops are in the area, but they have so far been unable to reach the refugees – they are completely cut off by IS militants.

IS have placed their black banner over the cross in the Syriac church in Sinjar.

Christian families flee Qaraqosh

The BBC are quoting French organisation Fraternite en Irak about another unfolding story too. In this equally tragic situation as many as 100,000 people are believed to be fleeing from Qaraqosh and heading towards the autonomous Kurdistan Region.

“It’s a catastrophe, a tragic situation: tens of thousands of terrified people are being displaced as we speak,”
Joseph Thomas, Chaldean Archbishop of the northern city of Kirkuk.

Eyewitness reports are saying that IS militants were taking down crosses in churches and burning religious manuscripts in Qaraqosh.

The town – referred to as Iraq’s Christian capital – is 30km (19 miles) southeast of the city of Mosul, which was captured by IS in June.

Where is Qaraqosh?

How you can help

Open Doors has been able to provide emergency relief to 3,000 Christian families who have fled their homes in the wake of IS attacks. “Through the church you helped us with mattresses and food baskets,” says Faiez, who fled Mosul with his family after IS took over the city. “I am thankful.”

Source: Open Doors; BBC News; Telegraph; Washington Post; Assyrian Aid Society of Iraq

Please pray

  • That aid would be able to reach the refugees in the Sinjar mountains and for God’s protection over them
  • For provision and protection for those around Mosul and Qaraqosh who have fled their homes
  • That Dohuk and Erbil would be protected from IS attacks
  • For leaders in Iraq and other nations to be able to respond to IS effectively.

We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.