Iraqi and European organizations condemn displacement of Christians from border areas in northern Iraq

ANKAWA, Iraq – Four Iraqi and European organizations issued a joint statement against the Turkish military’s attacks on the Christian villages in northern Iraq.

The Turkish attacks have led to the displacement of thousands of Christians whose villages are located along the border, especially in the Zakho and Bativa districts and the summer resort area around Shransh.

The General Secretariat of the Defense for the Followers of Religions and Doctrines in Iraq, the General Secretariat of the Arab Caucus to Support the Kurdish Issue, the Sumerian Observatory for Human Rights, and the Kurdish Institute for Studies and Research in the Netherlands.

“The Turkish forces continued to target [Christian] areas with artillery and air strikes until the residents of 33 Christian villages were forced to leave their homes, heading to Nohadra (Duhok) and its vicinity. The Turkish forces took advantage of this barbaric bombing to empty more than 22 churches … under the pretext of pursuing members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the region,” the statement read.

The statement considered that the military attacks clearly reveal the Turkish leadership’s desire to Islamize the region, indicating that emptying northern Iraq of Christians is a good example of that.

The four organizations made an urgent appeal to the United Nations, the U.N. Security Council (UNSC), and the Vatican to save the rest of the Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian people who cling to their homeland despite the crimes committed on them by the Islamic State (ISIS), noting that the current Turkish campaign continues a policy of displacement and extermination begun by ISIS.

The four organizations demanded the Iraqi government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) commit to their duties regarding the provision of security and safety for the followers of minority religions and to take all practical measures aimed at protecting the Iraqi citizens living in all the border areas.