Chaldeans Hold World Day of Prayer, Fasting for Peace in Iraq

Archbishop Calls for Dialogue as Conflict Escalates

Rome, (Zenit.org) | 668 hits

Last Wednesday, Chaldean communities worldwide observed a day of prayer and fasting for peace in Iraq.

The day was convened by Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako as the conflict continues to escalate in Iraq.

"Here in the village of Tilkif," Chaldean Archbishop of Mosul Amel Shamon Nona said, "we will pray with children and families, asking the Sacred Heart of Jesus to build peace in our hearts, and to preserve all of our fellow citizens from violence and war." 

Militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) defeated the Bagdad military in the past week, laying siege to the country’s north.

Archbishop Nona told Fides News Agency that the living conditions of those in the region following the offensive continues to deteriorate.

"In the villages in the Nineveh plain that accommodated part of the population fled from Mosul, the situation is worsening day by day. There has been no water and electricity for two days. Fuel is beginning to run out. And last night a part of Mosul was bombed, causing a new exodus of civilians".

Meanwhile, Iraq has called on the United States to conduct airstrikes on the ISIS militants. US President Barak Obama has said he will send up to 300 military advisors to aid the government, but will not send US troops back to the region.

Speaking of military intervention to the conflict, the archbishop said that "already here in Iraq we have seen so many times that war and military interventions do not solve anything and the problems sooner or later explode again in a more devastating way. A common language and instruments of dialogue must be found with patience that engage all Iraqis."

A team from UNICEF in Nineveh has been assembled to develop initiatives to help children and young people who are escaping conflict zones.

"Our first priority" UNICEF Representative for Iraq Marzio Babille told Fides "is to protect children in Iraq, with particular attention to minority communities that in this area have been penalized for some time, and are now living the traumatic experience of having to flee their homes."