Iraqi Patriarch Sends SOS After ISIS Takes Over Plain of Nineveh

Following Last Night's Destruction, Christians Walking Toward Kurdish Cities

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Here is a message sent today from Baghdad to Aid to the Church in Need, from Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako, president of the bishops of Iraq.

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Chaldean Patriarchate's Appeal for Urgent Help SOS

The ISIS militants attacked with mortars most of the villages of the plain of Nineveh, during the night of 6th-7th of August and now they are controlling the area. The Christians, about 100,000, horrified and panicked, fled their villages and houses [with] nothing but the clothes on their backs. An exodus, a real via crucis, Christians are walking on foot in Iraq's searing summer heat towards the Kurdish cities of Erbil, Duhok and Soulaymiyia, the sick, the elderly, infants and pregnant women among them. They are facing a human catastrophe and risk a real genocide. They need water, food, shelter ...

Regarding the churches and church properties in the villages now being occupied by the ISIS militants, we have reports of destruction and desecration. The old manuscripts and documents (1500) are being burnt.

As evident to all, the Central Government is incapable of enforcing law and order in this part of the country. There are also doubts about the capacity of the Kurdistan Region alone to defend the fierce advance of the jihadists. Clearly, there is a lack of cooperation between the Central Government and the Regional Autonomous Government. This "vacuum" is profited by the ISIS to impose their rule and terror. There is a need of international support and a professional, well equipped army. The situation is going from bad to worse.

We appeal with sadness and pain to the conscience of all and all people of good will and the United Nations and the European Union, to save these innocent persons from death. We hope it is not too late!

+Louis Raphael Sako

Chaldean Patriarch of Babylon

President of the Assembly of the Catholic Bishops in Iraq

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Aid to the Church in Need is an international Catholic charity under the guidance of the Holy See, providing assistance to the suffering and persecuted Church in more than 140 countries. 
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