As ISIS, also known as ISIL or Islamic State, continues to conquer towns and cities in Iraq and Syria, it is reportedly ethnically cleansing the Middle East of Christians as best it can.
Thousands of Assyrian Christians, who have been in Syria for generations, are now fleeing instead of allowing themselves to be beheaded and have their wives and children taken into slavery.
As one such ISIS victim, Assyrian Christian Francie Yaacoub, recalled to reporters, while waiting to receive food aid at the Assyrian diocese of Sid al-Boushriyeh, “We left behind a house full of everything. Why do we now have to stand at the church door?”
Yaacoub, who is 50, shared with reporters what it was like for her and family when the guys from ISIS showed up in town, “We left in our pajamas. My son walked barefoot, we left without our shoes on. The shells were falling all around us…We had to flee because the safety of your children is the most important thing.”
Tragically, ISIS has already seized a third of the Assyrian Christian villages in Syria, and kidnapped more than 200 members of the community, which until the war started in Syria numbered around 30,000.
As Chorbishop Yatron Koliana said as he oversaw the distribution of food aid at the diocese, “The villages of Khabur are empty now, there is no one left except some fighters,” adding, “Our people have experienced a great tragedy in Syria. They are depressed. Some of them have chronic illnesses. Their lives are difficult.”
At the same time, another Christian refugee, Simaan, who fled his home in Tal Hormuz, asked rhetorically, “How can we be comfortable, living on aid?” His answer was that, “The whole world, from the UN to the United States and Russia, is responsible. They (ISIS) have destroyed our whole civilization…and the world is watching.”
While thousands of Christians in the Middle East face death and destruction at the hands of militant Islam, the world does little to help the people who need it most.
As IDC representative Alexei Moukarzel said, “The world is not paying enough attention to these groups who have been forcibly displaced.”