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ICC Note: The Islamic State group is forcing its way through northeastern Syria displacing thousands of Christians. Last Thursday, June 25, ISIS entered neighborhoods outside the city of Hassakeh, leading to a mass exodus of at least 120,000 people. The picture closely resembles that of Mosul, Iraq in June 2014. Violent clashes have continued between Kurdish and Government forces and ISIS militants since the invasion last week.

 

06-30-2015 Syria (Ankawa): Nearly 4,000 Christian families have fled the northeastern Syrian city of Hassakeh with the advance of forces of the Islamic State group, Fides reported.

 

ISIS managed last Thursday, June 25, to enter some neighborhoods, causing the mass exodus of at least 120,000 people, the news service said. “Nearly 4,000 Christian families belonging to various Churches (Chaldeans, Assyrians, Syrian Catholics and Syrian Orthodox) were among the first to flee, and have largely taken refuge in the nearby urban area of Qamishli,” it said.

 

The situation is reminiscent of Mosul in June 2014, when Christian residents fled ISIS’s takeover of Iraq’s second-largest city. Many fled a second time when ISIS moved into the towns and villages in the Nineveh Plain region where they took refuge.

 

Fides reported:

 

Archbishop Jacques Behnan Hindo, head of the Syrian Catholic Archieparchy in Hassakeh Nisibi, has abandoned Hassakè along with his faithful and has also found shelter in Qamishli. He reports the many factors involved in the Syrian conflict: “The government army – refers Archbishop Hindo to Agenzia Fides – is currently gaining ground, with much difficulty, as fighting takes place in an urban environment. On the other hand, the Kurdish militias in the region have responded to the raids of Daesh only when the jihadists tried to attack the Kurdish districts, concentrated in the eastern part of the city. Until that moment the government had not provided support to the army.

 

The archbishop also said that part of the local population is sympathetic to ISIS. When the militants arrived in the southeastern district of al-Nachwa, women and children were asked to leave the city, he said. “But young boys and adults remained, and have sided with [ISIS]. And now that very large neighborhood is at the center of the most violent clashes between government forces and those of the so-called Islamic State.”

 

 

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