Iraqi Christians flee as Qaraqoush captured by militants

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Iraqi Christians flee as Qaraqoush captured by militants

Iraqi Christians flee as Qaraqoush captured by militants
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Tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have fled their hometown after Islamic State (IS) militants overran the country’s biggest Christian village, Qaraqoush.

The capture of Qaraqoush, which is in northern Iraq, brings IS militants to the edge of the Iraqi Kurdish territory and its regional capital Arbil.

About 300 Christians have taken refuge in Arbil.

Families spent the night in the pews of St. Joseph’s cathedral, many without blankets or mattresses. Some even stayed outside on the ground.

Many Christians are glad that US military aircraft have targeted Islamic State positions near Airbil.

Khalid Jamal Alber, General Director Ministry of Religious Affairs, Kurdish Regional Government said: “We thank Barack Obama again. Due to his decision that he will give military support to Peshmerga.

“And he also makes sure that Kurdistan is the place for religious minorities and it’s also a place for their (US) institutions and it’s in their own interests to protect them,” he continued.

Arkan Shamhoun, an internally displaced person from Hamdaniyah said: “We want action, not only talking. Because we heard a lot from the Iraqi government but all of them are thieves and liars. We only heard talking.”

Meanwhile, US planes dropped food and water to members of the Yazidi community sheltering in the mountains after the militants captured their hometown of Sinjar.