Dr Marzio Babille, Unicef’s representative in Iraq, said the religious minorities were in an extremely precarious situation because of the “very aggressive and brutal” IS militants. He said there were many “logistical and strategic difficulties”, but added that a humanitarian corridor needed to be established. President Obama has authorised air strikes on the militants but says he will not send US troops back to Iraq.
The majority of Iraq’s Christian minority are Chaldeans, part of the Catholic Church Numbers have fallen from around 1.5 million since the US-led invasion in 2003 to 350,000-450,000 In Nineveh, they live mainly in towns such as Qaraqosh (also known as Baghdida), Bartella, Al-Hamdaniya and Tel Kef.
In June, IS took control of the northern Iraqi city of Mosul and advanced south towards Baghdad. Its fighters seized Qaraqosh, Iraq’s biggest Christian town.