Until now, most Christians have fled Raqqa, Syria because of ISIS. ISIS, upon taking over Raqqa, forced Christians to convert, pay a tax, or flee for their lives. With the recent US-led coalition airstrikes against Raqqa, Christians are fleeing for other reasons. One family, who just fled Raqqa, attributed their flight as a result of the airstrikes rather than ISIS. “I didn’t want to leave, but there was so much bombardment around us that we fled,” said one of the family members.
08/11/2017 Syria (Newsweek) – Intense bombing by the U.S.-led coalition fighting to liberate Raqqa and deadly clashes in the de facto Syrian capital of the Islamic State militant groups (ISIS) have pushed some of the last remaining Christians out of the city.
The harsh subjugation of minorities such as Christians is one of ISIS’s calling cards throughout the Middle East. The United Nations has called the group’s systematic destruction of the ethnic Yazidis in Iraq a genocide. The militants’ repression of other faiths it considers heretical has varied by degrees in the territory it controlled.
In Raqqa, ISIS gave the Christian population the choice of converting, paying a Christian tax known as jizya, a concept that dates back to the time of Islamic conquest, or fleeing under threat of death.
According to Agence-Grance Presse, however, the last remaining Christians, the vast majority of them Armenian and Syrian, have been forced from the city by the violence of the U.S.-led coalition’s offensive on Raqqa rather than the yoke of ISIS’s rule