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    » 09/17/2014, 00.00

    IRAQ

    Kurdish Peshmerga free some Christian villages occupied by jihadists



    US air raids fundamental. The Islamist militants mined many houses before fleeing. Syriac Christians return to the city of Alqosh, liberated days ago, and celebrate the feast of the patron saint.

    Erbil (AsiaNews / Agencies) - At least seven Christian villages in northern Iraq have been freed after a series of clashes between Kurdish Peshmerga and Islamic State jihadists.

    The seven villages are located west of Erbil, on the Nineveh plain. The Kurdish military commanders emphasize the fundamental contribution of the air raids carried out by the United States and report that the jihadists mined many houses before fleeing.

    Since early August, hundreds of thousands of Christians, Yazidis, Turkmen and Shiites have fled the plain conquered by IS militias, which kills anyone who opposes their fundamentalist Islam and force Christians to choose between conversion to Islam, payment of a "protection" tax or death. The jihadists have conquered about a third of Iraqi territory, including the cities of Mosul and Qaraqosh. The United States has intervened with airstrikes to aid the peshmerga fighters and launched an international coalition to defeat the IS.

    The villages that have been freed are close to city of Bartallah and Qaraqosh. In recent days, the city of Alqosh was also liberated.  It lies about 50 kilometers north of Mosul. According to Aina news agency, 75% of the Syrian Christians who had fled, have returned to their city, and on September 12 they celebrated the feast of the patron martyr, Mar Qardakh, with a Mass and a procession (see photo). Several people say that life Alqosh is returning to normal, although there is no water or electricity in nearby villages.

    The economy, however, is disastrous. Just one example: For more than three months public employees have not received any salary and their families are living on donations from abroad.

     

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    See also

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    07/10/2014 SYRIA - TURKEY
    Islamic State take Kobane, thousands flee to Turkish border
    After days of siege, the militants have occupied three neighborhoods of the town, between Syria and Turkey, raising the black flag on buildings and hills. At least 2 thousand people have fled their homes, seeking shelter across the border. The Kurdish resistance is getting weaker, amid Ankara’s inertia and ineffectiveness of Arab-American air raids.

    16/02/2016 09:22:00 IRAQ
    Islamic State using chemical weapons in Iraq

    Confirmed by experts of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPAC). Traces of pyrite emerge from blood tests carried out on 35 Kurdish peshmerga. Material may be from Syrian army stocks taken by jihadists.

     



    12/11/2015 IRAQ
    Kurdish Peshmerga launch offensive to regain Sinjar from Islamic State
    At least 7,500 soldiers are engaged in the operation. The ground attack, which also involves yazide militias, supported by US coalition air strikes. The goal is to cut off Jihadists main supply route between Mosul and Syria. The offensive planned for some time but postponed because of weather and conflicts within the various groups.

    02/09/2014 IRAQ - UN
    Army, Peshmerga and Shias unite against Islamic Army, a "terrorist monster"
    UN launches an investigation into the atrocities committed by Islamists. In August alone 1,420 people killed; 850 thousand displaced including Christians, Yazidis, Turkomans. European governments concerned about citizens who have joined terrorist militias.



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