In July the terrorists overran the Nineveh capital of Mosul, which had had a strong Christian presence for over 1,700 years, prompting families who had lived there for generations to flee under threat of death. ISIS thugs systematically looted Christian homes and businesses in the city, desecrated cemeteries, destroyed the tombs of biblical prophets, ruined churches, and pulled down crosses, all in an effort to establish control and intimidate Christians and religious minorities throughout Iraq.
CNN reported that the community of Qaraqosh in Nineveh, identified as Iraq's largest Christian city, was overrun by ISIS terrorists August 7, prompting thousands of Christians to flee. Joseph Thomas, the archbishop of Iraq's Chaldean Christian group in Iraq, confirmed that “the towns of Qaraqosh, Tal Kayf, Bartella, and Karamlesh have been emptied of their original population and are now under the control of the militants.”
Twenty miles southeast of Mosul, Qaraqosh is a historic Assyrian city of 50,000 people with a long-time, vibrant Chaldean Christian community, and many of those who were forced to flee Mosul took refuge in Qaraqosh. When ISIS terrorists invaded the city, both refugees and the community's Christian residents quickly fled north, as ISIS continued with its effort to create an Islamic caliphate taking in both Syria and Iraq.
The U.K.'s Telegraph newspaper reported that over 200,000 Iraqis have fled from Nineveh to the north as the ISIS campaign of murder and mayhem continues.
Chaldean Patriarch Louis Sako told AFP News that Iraqi Christians “have fled with nothing but their clothes, some of them on foot, to reach the Kurdistan region” — which borders Nineveh Province. He added that it was a “humanitarian disaster. The churches are occupied, their crosses were taken down,” with out-of-control ISIS thugs burning as many as 1,500 ancient Christian manuscripts.
A resident of Tal Kayf, which has a significant Christian community along with members of the Shabak Shiite minority, said that the community fell with no resistance to the ISIS thugs. “I heard some gunshots last night and when I looked outside, I saw a military convoy from [ISIS],” the resident told the Telegraph. “They were shouting 'Allahu akbar’ [God is greatest].'”
On the heels of the ISIS assault, some reports have placed the Christian population of Iraq, once estimated at approximately 1.5 million, at fewer than 200,000.
In addition to the assault on Christians, Fox News reported that ISIS had also besieged the northwestern Iraqi village of Sinjar, “forcing tens of thousands of people from the ancient Yazidi minority to flee into the mountains and the Kurdish region.” Reports from experts on the ground estimated that between 35,000 and 50,000 had fled to nearby Mount Sinjar and other areas, with armed ISIS terrorists in pursuit.
Click here to read the entire article.