ISIS inntok torsdag Qara Qosh, Iraks største kristne by, med en kaldeisk befolkning på 50.000. Kurdisk peshmerga unnlot å kjempe og trakk seg tilbake.
ISIS fortsetter å drepe og utrenske alle som i deres øyne er vantro: kurdere, shiaer, kristne, yazidier, turkmenere. Befolkninger som har levd i områdene i hundrevis av år, rykkes opp med roten.
Kristne som flyktet fra Mosul ut i mindre byer og landsbyer, erfarer med sjokk at de svarte bannerne forfølger dem.
De søkte tilflukt i byer som Bartella og Qara Qosh.
“ISIS practices psychological warfare; they spread rumors to frighten people,” said Ibrahim Lalu, 60, a member of the Bartella Town Council.
But did he feel safe enough to stay in Bartella? As Mr. Lalu hesitated, a man sitting nearby, Roney Sha’ana, 54, answered, “Nobody knows what to do.”
“In Sinjar the civilians were waiting in their homes, and then in one day all of them had to leave,” he said, after the pesh merga forces guarding the city deserted their posts on Sunday, allowing the Sunni militants to enter. The consequences were disastrous for the Yazidis and Shiite Muslims.
“Our Christian people in Mosul, they came here to this place because it was a safe area, but now also this safe area is not safe,” he said.
By 4 p.m., he had left Bartella.
The long lines at the first checkpoint, which evacuees reached as they traveled toward the Kurdistan region, suggested that at least 1,000 families had decided to leave.
Det som skjer i Nord-Irak og Syria er en katastrofe av historiske dimensjoner. Midtøstens eldste kristne samfunn fordrives og utslettes. Metodene ISIS benytter kan minne om Einsatzgruppen, dødskommandoene som rykket inn i Wehrmachts kjølvann på Østfronten. Deres oppgave var utrensing. Slik fungerer også ISIS under jihads banner.
Mange hadde trodd at kurderne ville kjempe. At de rømmer unna er dårlig nytt for både kristne og kurdere.
At kaldeerne ikke er noen hvem som helst kan man se av dette bildet. Patriark Louis Sako ble tatt imot av daværende pave Benedikt XVI.
Peshmerga rykket inn i opplandet til Mosul og tok Kirkuk etter at ISIS tok storbyen 9. juni. De kristne i Mosul rømte inn på kurdisk område. Mange slo seg ned i de kristne byene som ligger mellom Mosul og Irbil.
Så sent som onsdag satt folk i kirkene og lurte på om de skulle bli eller forlate alt. Det er store alvorlige avgjørelser man utsetter til det siste.
The Islamic State has taken control of Qaraqosh, Iraq’s largest Christian town, and other surrounding towns in an advance eastward into an area formerly held by the Peshmerga, the military force of the Kurdish Regional Government.
«Qaraqosh, Tal Kayf, Bartella and Karamlesh have been emptied of their original population and are now under the control of the militants,» Joseph Thomas, the archbishop of the Iraqi cities of Kirkuk and Sulaimaniyah, told AFP. Qaraqosh (or Bakhdida on the map) has a Chaldean Christian population estimated at 50,000.
The Islamic State advanced into the towns unopposed, according to reports. The Peshmerga, which is considered to be a well-organized and hardened force, withdrew from the towns rather than fighting the Islamic State. The Peshmerga have controlled towns and villages east of Mosul since the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. The Islamic State’s eastward advance puts them about 20 miles from Irbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Regional Government.
Chaldean Patriarch Louis Sako told AFP that the Islamic State’s advance has created a «a humanitarian disaster» and that more than 100,000 Christians have been forced to leave their homes. «The churches are occupied, their crosses were taken down,» and more than 1,500 documents have been destroyed, he said.
The Islamic State previously issued an ultimatum to Christians in Mosul that they convert to Islam, pay a tax, or be killed. Thousands of Christian families fled Iraqi’s second largest city after the Islamic State issued their directive.
The Islamic State’s gains east of Mosul are part of a larger push by the group to consolidate their control over Ninewa province. Last weekend, the Islamic State took control of Sinjar, a town with a large Yazidi minority, Zumar, as well as two oils fields. The jihadist group also was reported to have seized control of the Mosul Dam, which generates power and controls flood waters on the Tigris River. Kurdish officials denied the Islamic State took the Mosul Dam, but today, reports have emerged that the dam is now under the jihadist group’s control.
The Islamic State’s advances in the north over the past week constitutes the group’s first major gains after a blitzkrieg offensive launched on June 10 in conjunction with allied groups that put it in control of Mosul, Tikrit, and a number of cities and towns in Salahaddin, Ninewa, and Diyala provinces. That offensive stalled on the outskirts of Samarra, just north of Bagdad. Meanwhile, the Islamic State controls most of Anbar province and much of northern Babil province. The fighting has largely stalemated as Iraqi forces backed by Shia militias, including many supported by Iran, have failed to regain lost ground but have held most areas under their control.
ISIS inntok nylig et stort våpenlager i Syria og fikk tilgang på tyngre våpen.
Across the border in Syria, the Islamic State has taken control of most of Deir al Zour province and has made gains in Homs province as well. Large areas of Raqqah, Hasakah, and Aleppo provinces are also under Islamic State control. Two weeks ago, the Islamic State overran a Syrian army artillery base in Hasakah and seized a large amount of heavy weapons, including artillery pieces, a tank, and Grad rocket launchers, as well as stockpiles of RPGs, AK-47s, anti-tank rockets, and ammunition.