Christians in Iraq are asking for prayers for the families of Christians and Kurds in the north of the country, a region that is being hit hard by the Turkish airstrikes.
About 80 families in the Zakho district have fled the border with Turkey to the center of the province. 10 churches were closed due to the bombings.
On June 14th, Turkey launched a military operation in northern Iraq against Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) fighters, who are considered to be a terrorist organization by many countries. At the end of the last month, the military campaign was extended to the border area of Dohuk, a region in Iraq with a high concentration of Christians.
Zakho District contains nearly 20 Christian villages, home to about 12,000 Christians. In the first days of July, two of these villages were completely evacuated due to bombing and field fighting. People fled to the center of the district and to other areas considered safer. Although no casualties were reported among Christians, they, like their Kurdish neighbors, suffered significant economic losses due to the need to abandon their orchards.
This is not the first time when Christians in Iraq have had to flee because of armed attacks. In the summer of 2014, Christians had to seek refuge because of the actions of the Islamic State. Only about 40% of those who moved to other regions returned to their villages.
Christians are complaining about the lack of security due to the activity of the pro-Iranian militias, which are working to change the demographic composition of the area that is under their control – including replacing Christians with Shiite Muslims. This encourages the continued migration of Christians out of Iraq.
Reasons for prayer:
- pray for Christians in northern Iraq to have divine wisdom, peace, and guidance so that they can overcome the challenges they face;
- pray for the protection of Christians and Kurds living in these areas and for an end of the Turkish military campaigns in northern Iraq;
- pray for an end of the Christian emigration causes and for a continued presence of Christians in Iraq.