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05/31/2019 Iraq (International Christian Concern) – Fires from an unknown source burned on Thursday the agricultural fields surrounding the Iraqi Christian town of Karamles, located in the Nineveh Plains near Qeraqosh.

The source of the fires has not yet been traced. However, the timing of the incident is concerning. Crop fires have become commonplace following this year’s territorial defeat of the Islamic State (ISIS). The militants have claimed responsibility for 13 of the fires. However, it is also widely believed that the other fires were either started by Iranian backed Shia militia groups aiming to maintain the legitimacy of their presence or that they were started because of Kurdish-Arab tensions.

It is estimated that 3,000 dunams of crops have burned, severely damaging Iraq’s agricultural sector. Christian IDPs who have returned to their homes in the Nineveh Plains have watched events unfold with great apprehension. The burning of the fields near Karamles further reduces the confidence of Christians in the security situation and increases the barrier of reconstruction.

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