CRISIS 2014

CRISIS 2014 IN NORTHERN IRAQ

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Notes about the situation in Northern Iraq

Since June 2014 a group of fighters started invading Iraq, coming from Syria, where they were trying to topple the regime of president Assad. They were joined by some Sunni tribes who felt that they had been neglected by the central government of al-Maliki. They were composed by youngsters who came from different Arabic and European countries. At a point they captured Mosul where the Sunni population welcomed them. and most of the army and officers united with them. Banks and army equipment fell in their hands. They founded an Islamic Khalifate. As for the Christians of Mosul, they had suffered already from the Sunnis, who had killed their bishop and several priests and deacons. Now they had to make a choice: surrender and become Muslim, or pay heavy taxes (djouzia), or to leave and abandon everything. A few days later the choice was restricted to: Become Muslim or death. All the Christians fled, and at the checkpoints they were robbed of everything, even their wedding-rings were token away. Walking they tried to reach on of the villages nearby. Meanwhile in Mosul old churches and precious monuments are destroyed. A regime of terror and horror has woken up. First the rebels attack on the East side of Mosul. They approach the biggest Syrian village Qaraqosh. When they start bombarding the Kurdish battalion retreads and the inhabitants fly. More than 4000 Christian families leave in the night and try to reach Erbil , the Kurdish city, some 50 Km away. In the neighborhood of Erbil lies an important Christian village, Ainkawa. where bishop Bashar, CSsR has his bishopric. Thousands of people stream there into his place. They fill the gardens and schools and churches. The bishop is a genius organizer. He arranges places and food distributions. Everywhere are places made available, even in the neighboring villages. He constructs tents and caravans>>>But then start the rebels attacking to the North of Mosul, where a series of Chaldean villages are situated. Again thousands of Christians have to fly and search for refuge, most of them also come to Ainkawa. 15000 Chaldeans are displaced away from their old traditional villages. Will they ever return? The very existence of an indigene Christian existence in the midst of a Muslim country is threatened.

MAR LOUIS RAPHAEL SAKO