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Amid ISIS Storm, a Christian Oasis in Iraq

John Burger - published on 08/30/14

Sky News video shows Christian life in a town on the Nineveh Plain.
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Located about an hour’s drive north of Mosul, Alqosh is one of the few places where Aramaic is still used. The town has an ancient history, particularly in the development of Christianity. And it’s been through much conflict in the past. 

Now, in the midst of Iraq’s struggle with the terrorist Islamic State, Alqosh is struggling to regain some normalcy. About 200 Christian families have returned to their homes there after threats from ISIS in early August led to many people fleeing. Many returning residents, though, now face difficulties in obtaining food and other staples, reported 

Kris H. Ozar, head of programming for Catholic Relief Services Egypt and Catholic Relief Services Iraq, told Aleteia, "In the recent past CRS was working with [internally displaced persons] in Alqosh through the Caritas Iraq centers. Yet, the ISIS attacks in early August sent populations of many towns, including Alqosh into KRI [the Kurdistan Region of Iraq]. Most Christians and other residents are now in KRI. Some have started to return, mostly men who are protecting their property.”

"Only a few families came back," said a spokesman for Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako. "The bishop is still out. ISIS was close" to the town.

A press release from Caritas noted that the conflict between ISIS and local villagers led to the closure of Caritas Iraq’s centers in Qaraqosh, Bartilla and Alqosh. "Many of the Caritas Iraq staff are now in Erbil supporting distributions to people now housed in church compounds and other centers."

This SkyNews video gives us a glimpse into the daily life of Christians in Alqosh.

Christians in the Middle EastIraqIslamist Militants
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