Qaraqosh (Agenzia Fides) – Qaraqosh [The city is known by three names: Baghdede in Assyrian, Hamdaniya in Arabic and Qaraqosh in Turkish.] is almost a ghost town. More than ninety percent of the more than 40 thousand inhabitants, nearly all Christians of the Syrian Catholic Church, have fled in the past two days due to the offensive of the Sunni insurgents led by the jihadists of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), that subject the urban area to launch rockets and grenades. The Archbishop of Mosul of the Syrians, Yohanna Petros Moshe, some priests and some young people of his church, are among the few left in the city.
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The town in the last two days has seen the arrival of weapons and new contingents to strengthen the Kurdish Peshmerga militias that oppose the advance of the Sunni insurgents. The impression is that the ground is being prepared for a head-on collision.
Yesterday, Archbishop Moshe attempted to mediate between the opposing forces with the intent to preserve the city of Qaraqosh from being destroyed. The attempt was unsuccessful. Sunni insurgents ask the Kurdish militias to withdraw. The Kurdish Peshmerga have no intention of allowing insurgents to get close to the borders of Iraqi Kurdistan.
In this dramatic situation, from Qaraqosh Archbishop Moshe through Fides Agency wants to launch an urgent humanitarian appeal to the international community:
“Before the tragedy being experienced by our people”, the Archbishop says to Fides, “I appeal to the consciences of political leaders around the world, to international organizations and to all men of good will: it is necessary to intervene immediately to put a stop to the deterioration of the situation, working not only at a humanitarian level, but also politically and diplomatically. Every hour, every day lost, is likely to make all unrecoverable. Inaction becomes complicity with crime and abuse of power. The world cannot turn a blind eye to the tragedy of people who have fled from their homes in a few hours, taking with them only the clothes they are wearing”.
The Syrian Catholic Archbishop of Mosul outlines with a few vibrating words the particular condition experienced by Christians in the upsurge of sectarian conflicts that are putting at risk the survival of Iraq:
“Qaraqosh and the other cities of the Nineveh Plain have been for a long time places of peace and coexistence. We Christians are unarmed, and as Christians we have not fueled any conflict or had any problem with the Sunnis, Shiites, Kurds and other realities that form the Iraqi country. We just want to live in peace, work with everyone and respect everyone”.
The Syriac Catholic priest Nizar Semaan, Archbishop Moshe’s collaborator, told Fides that the appeal “is also addressed to Western and European governments that often speak of human rights, and sink into a comfortable silence when their operations and their analysis of the problems of the Middle East prove shortsighted and disastrous. To be clear, the Archbishop does not ask to resolve the situation by sending more weapons to the Middle East”. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 27/06/2014)
VOP note: The highlighted in red above, are the exact words we have heard by persecuted Christians from the Middle East, Nigeria and Pakistan. In unity, their voices cry out. Can you hear their cries? Brothers and sisters, stand up for our own and pray!