ICC Note: ISIS has stopped at nothing to continue the push to eradicate Christians from Syria and Iraq. This militant extremist group has continued to push to establish an Islamic state. The continued violence has caused families like Lilian’s, a young Christian Arab, to flee their homes in search of shelter. Much of Mosul’s Christians are gone, and show no signs of returning.
ICC has launched a campaign to provide aid to the Iraqi church to assist those in need who have fled from the attacks. Go here to find out more and donate: Iraqi Crisis Response
06/30/14 Iraq (Global Post) – Lilian stood by the side of the road at this dusty checkpoint along the Erbil-Mosul highway. In skinny jeans and a polka-dot blouse, she looked a bit out of place.
Most of the other Iraqis on the road are very poor, while Lilian an her family are middle class. Most of the other Iraqis fleeing now are doing so because they couldn’t afford to before. Lilian and her family are fleeing now because the violence finally hit too close to home.
A little after midnight Wednesday night, Lilian and her family heard shells drop near their home in Karamlish outside Mosul. Unable to tell if the violence was getting closer or not, they decided to hit the road. By 6 the next morning they were on their way to Erbil located in Iraq’s relatively safe, semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.
“We heard that Daah doesn’t hurt civilians, but I don’t know,” said the 21-year-old student, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the insurgent group currently taking on the Iraqi government.
“Honestly, I don’t know what we will do,” she said with a nervous laugh.
Everyone in Iraq is worried, but Lilian and her family are worried for slightly different reasons than most other people. They are Christian, and while the sectarian divisions plaguing Iraq are mostly between Muslims, the violence that has resulted spares no one.
More than two weeks after ISIL and other Sunni militias swept across northern Iraq and claimed Mosul, civilians continue to flee their homes — many of them Christian. Mosul’s archbishop told local news outlets thousands of Christians have fled clashes near Mosul over the past few days.
The United Nations estimates that so far this year more than a million Iraqis have been made homeless by violence.
The clashes that drove Lilian and her family from their home were in the Hamdaniya district east of Mosul, according to local news reports. Kurdish security forces were reportedly digging defense trenches, trying to set up a checkpoint that would protect the Kurds and Christians in the area when violence erupted.
Lilian’s aunt, Afnan, said it felt like the entire village emptied out Thursday morning. “Everyone was leaving,” she said. “It was so quiet, there was nothing.”