Christians among 500,000 fleeing Mosul after ISIL forces seize city. (Al Alam)
For the first time in the history of Mosul the city is now empty of Christians.
Christians were fleeing Iraq’s city of Mosul en masse Friday after the terrorist group of ISIL relayed an ultimatum giving them a few hours to leave, the country’s Chaldean patriarch and witnesses said.
“Christian families are on their way to Dohuk and Arbil,” in the neighboring autonomous region of Kurdistan, Patriarch Louis Sako told AFP. “For the first time in the history of Iraq, Mosul is now empty of Christians.”
A statement dated from last week and purportedly issued by ISIL terrorists that took over the city and large swathes of Iraq during a sweeping offensive last month warned Mosul’s Christians they should convert, pay a special tax, leave or face death.
“We were shocked by the distribution of a statement by the (so-called takfiri group of) Islamic State calling on Christians to convert to Islam, or to pay unspecified tribute, or to leave their city and their homes taking only their clothes and no luggage, and that their homes would then belong to the ISIL (terrorists),” Sako said.
The statement, which was seen by AFP, said “there will be nothing for them but the sword” if Christians reject those conditions.
The UN says over 5,500 civilians have been killed and thousands more injured in the foreign-backed militancy across Iraq so far this year.
Chaldean Patriarch Raphael I Louis Sako told reporters in October 2013, “The situation in Iraq has worsened. People are dying in bomb blasts, homes are being destroyed.”
More… They are marking the homes of Christians in Mosul.