Iraq’s largest Christian town, Qaeqosh, was seized on Thursday August 7th by the extremist militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, causing thousands of inhabitants to abandon their homes and flee towards Kurdistan.
The towns of Qarqosh, Tal Kayf, Bartella and Karamlesh have been emptied of their original inhabitants and are have been taken over by the militants. Chaldean archbishop of Kirkuk and Sulaimaniyah speaks to the AFP about the situation, “It’s a catastrophe, a tragic situation. We call on the U.N Security Council to immediately intervene. Tens of thousands of terrified people are being displaced as we speak, it cannot be described.”
Towns in north Iraq have been bombed over the last few days by the Islamic militants. Some of these towns are less than 50 kilometers away from the capital of the self-ruling region of Kurdistan, Erbil.
Around 200,000 new refugees, as estimated by the U.N., were looking for sanctuary in Kurdistan as of the weekend. Now the city of Qarqosh, latest to fall, has most of its 50,000 Christian population on the run, feeling to a new home. Others from towns near Mosul, Tel Askof, Tel Keif, and Qaramless undergo similar circumstances.
Those remaining face the same choice as other minorities: convert to Islam, flee, or get killed.