According to a new report between 50-80% of Christians have fled Iraq and Syria. In Iraq it is believed that at least 100,000 Iraqi Christians have fled or are internally displaced and in Syria the population has roughly halved from 2 million since 2011. Christians had already begun to leave their historic homes before 2011 for various reasons including lack of educational opportunities, loss of employment opportunities, rate of inflation, just to name a few. However with the rise of ISIS the situation became dire. According to a survey conducted in Syria, of the Christians still left in the country 35% want to leave. Those who have fled find resettlement through church organizations rather than state-sponsored refugee resettlement programs thus the role of the international church is critical.
06/16/2017 Iraq (Catholic News Agency)– A new report estimates that between 50 and 80 percent of Christians have fled the countries of Iraq and Syria since the start of the Syrian Civil War in 2011.
Released by Christian advocacy groups Open Doors, Served, and Middle East Concern, the report estimates that at least 100,000 Iraqi Christians have fled or are internally displaced, and that the Christian population of Syria has been ‘roughly halved’, from about 2 million, since 2011.
“Factors for leaving included the violence of conflict, including the almost complete destruction of some historically Christian towns in the Nineveh plains of northern Iraq, the emigration of others and loss of community, the rate of inflation and loss of employment opportunities, and the lack of educational opportunities,” states the report.
The information for the report was gathered through a series of interviews with various sources, including NGO staffers and religious leaders, and also includes the findings of academic studies.
The report tracked the emigration of those Christians who have fled the Middle East to Europe, even though others have traveled to Asia, Australia or the Americas.
Since the 2003 U.S. invasion and the rise of the Islamic State, increased violence in Iraq and Syria has resulted in the targeted killings and expulsions of many Christians, with many fleeing to Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, or beyond, while others are displaced within their home countries.