Iraqi Christians want prayers for Christian and Kurdish families suffering from Turkish bombardments and incursions in Northern Iraq, aid workers say.
Thursday’s appeal sent to Worthy News came amid reports that some 80 families fled their homes in the Zakho district bordering Turkey to the center of the area. Additionally, 10 churches were reportedly closed due to Turkish attacks in the region.
The Zakho district has about 20 Christian villages, housing about 12,000 people, according to Christian estimates. In early July, two villages “were completely evacuated because of the bombardment and fighting,” confirmed Christian relief group Middle East Concern (MEC).
“People have fled to the center of the district and other safe areas. Although there are no reported injuries among Christians, they, like their Kurdish neighbors, suffer great economic losses, having left behind their fruit farms,” MEC added to Worthy News.
In an appeal shared by MEC with Worthy News
Iraqi Christians “request prayer that Christians in Northern Iraq will know the Lord’s wisdom, peace, and guidance in the face of these threats.”
They also asked prayers “for protection of Christians and Kurds living in these areas and for an end to the Turkish military campaign in Northern Iraq.” The believers also seek “an end to the causes of Christian emigration and for the continued presence of Christians in Iraq. “
This isn’t the first time Iraqi Christians had to flee the military or militant attacks. In the summer of 2014, Christians reportedly fled violence by the militant Islamic State (IS) group. Only about 40 percent of those internally displaced have since returned to their villages, according to MEC estimates.
“Christians complain about a lack of security due to Iranian-backed militias,” MEC said.
The Islamic militaries “seek to change the demographic composition of the area under their control – including by replacing Christians with Shia Muslims,” the group stressed.
“This encourages the continued emigration of Christians from Iraq,” MEC warned. At least hundreds of thousands, and possibly a million, Christians fled their homes in recent years, according to several sources.
However, roughly 202,000 Christians remain among a mainly Muslim population of over 40 million, according to Christian advocacy group Open Doors.