Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Monday 27 September |
Saint of the Day: St. Vincent de Paul
home iconNews
line break icon

ISIS Attacks Iraqi Town Where Christians from Mosul Took Refuge

© Allen Kakony

John Burger - published on 07/23/14 - updated on 06/08/17

Turning churches into mosques and cutting off water and medicine.

If anyone imagined that the militia of the self-proclaimed Islamic Caliphate would be satisfied when it pushed all the Christians and Shiites from the city of Mosul, think again.

According to the Fides news agency, Islamic State militants launched a mortar attack against the village of Tilkif in an attempt to break into one of the towns in the Nineveh Plain, where Mosul families found refuge.

"The attack started from a village controlled by jihadists,” Father Paul Thabit Mekko, a Chaldean priest, told Fides, “but was rejected by the Kurdish Peshmerga troops. In the night, panic had driven dozens of Christian families to flee to Dohuk, but the Kurdish soldiers who were controlling a checkpoint told them that the situation was under control and could return home."

Both towns lie north of Mosul, where an ultimatum from the Islamic State last wee–to convert to Islam or die–left the ancient city devoid of Christians.

The Peshmerga are known to be fierce troops, fighting for a Kurdish independence movement in the north of Iraq. 

The episode highlights the uncertainty that hangs over the whole area, as the Fides report put it: on the one hand, the attack represents proof that the militia of the Islamic Caliphate are not content with controlling Mosul and would like to extend control over the Nineveh Plain.

But the reaction of the Peshmerga, notes Father Thabit Mekko, confirms that the Kurds are determined to protect this area from jihadist militants.

“Here, now, there are only Kurdish military forces that ensure the safety of the population," he said.

While the United Nations has expressed deep concern about a genocide of Christians in the region, Christians in the country cannot wait for help from the international community. Senior U.S. officials and lawmakers butted heads Wednesday over the American response to Iraq’s expanding Sunni insurgency, with Republicans saying drone strikes should have been authorized months ago and even Democrats questioning the Obama administration’s commitment to holding the fractured country together, AP reported today.

Testifying before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the State Department’s Brett McGurk and Defense Department’s Elissa Slotkin said the administration was focused on improving U.S. intelligence, securing American personnel and property, guiding Iraq toward a new, more inclusive government and helping its forces strike back against the al-Qaida offshoot that has seized much of the country.

The U.S. is now conducting about 50 intelligence sorties over Iraq a day, they said, from about one flight a month a few months ago. Both stressed they saw no military solution to patching up Iraq’s political and ethnic divisions or to peeling off moderate Sunnis from the Islamic State. Republicans and Democrats accepted that point, but questioned why the administration wasn’t doing more.

Amid all the internal strife, Iraq’s Kurds have pushed into disputed territory including the oil-rich area of Kirkuk and moved closer to a decades-old dream of independence. The U.S. has been trying to keep Iraq whole. Democrats and Republicans wondered why.

Rep. Eliot Engel of New York, the top Democrat on the panel, questioned why the Kurds as a distinct people aren’t entitled to the same rights of self-determination the Palestinians enjoy. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of California, a Republican, said the United States shouldn’t be limited by Iraqi borders drawn up by the British Empire a century ago. He suggested an independent Kurdistan and a sovereign Baluchistan ought to be considered.

The Defense Department’s Slotkin said a strong, capable government in Baghdad — and not an Iraq divided into smaller countries — posed the best defense against the extremist insurgency. She implied that what lawmakers proposed might mean the abandonment of territories currently controlled by the Islamic State. "Who’s in charge of that western and north part of Iraq in that model?" she asked.

  • 1
  • 2
Tags:
IraqIslamist MilitantsMosul
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
VATICAN LEGOS
J-P Mauro
Chicago architect models Vatican City from 67,000 LEGO bricks
2
The Sinai Peninsula and the Dead Sea Rift
J-P Mauro
Experts now believe Sodom was destroyed by a meteor
3
Tolkien
Philip Kosloski
Why J.R.R. Tolkien loved to attend daily Mass
4
PADRE PIO
Bret Thoman, OFS
Exclusive photos: Meet Padre Pio and the place he lived
5
Giovanna Binci
He’s autistic, she has Down syndrome, and they’re wonderfully hap...
6
PADRE PIO
Philip Kosloski
How Our Lady saved Padre Pio from a violent demonic attack
7
peace
Cerith Gardiner
9 Padre Pio quotes for when you’re feeling scared or uncertain
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.