KIRKUK: All of the Christian villages are empty now as IS pushes forward with fresh wave of violence.
Bishop Joseph Tomas, in the city of Kirkuk, told the Islamic State pushed into Qaraqoush and four surrounding settlements Tilkaif, Bartella, Karamless and Alqosh last week was in complete control of them. The Kurdish peshmerga units, which had been engaged in resisting the IS jihadists while protecting the area from the merciless invaders also fled along with civilians, he said.
“All Christian villages are now empty,” said Bishop Tomas.
Father Gabriel, a resident of Alqosh said,” The IS raid started late Wednesday, last week and by 10 p.m., most Kurdish fighters had pulled out.” The Christians and members of other minority groups ran for their lives, with tens of thousands heading to Kurdish northern Iraq, he added.
The Islamic State has by now held large areas of northern and western Iraq in a saturation bombing offensive in June, including Iraq’s second-largest city of Mosul. The assault has pushed Iraq into its most horrible humanitarian crisis since the 2011 withdrawal of U.S. troops.