Iraqi Christians Evacuate Following Turkish Airstrikes

07/04/2020 Iraq (International Christian Concern) – Since the beginning of Turkey’s airstrike operations in northern Iraq, nine of the 11 Christian villages in the Zakho district have reportedly evacuated. The Turkish Defense Ministry began Operation Eagle Claw in mid-June, bombing alleged Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) positions in Iraqi Kurdistan.

The Turkey-PKK conflict has not only displaced several Christian communities but also severely impacted the livelihood of the civilians staying behind. Christian villagers complain of serious economic tolls, as agriculture is burned during the airstrikes and tourists are prevented from utilizing the hospitality industry.

Turkey’s military operations against the PKK are seriously endangering the lives of innocent civilians caught in the crossfire. The airstrikes are indiscriminate and target areas that are home to minority groups—not the PKK. For many of these Christians, they are also struggling to recover from period of ISIS’s genocide against religious minorities. Many see no difference between then and now, except that the main actor has changed.

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