The jihadist militant group Islamic State formerly ISIS, has occupied a number of churches across Iraq. The group is removing crosses as well as destroying valuable manuscripts, report witnesses, having pushed back the Kurdish troops and forced more than 200,000 to flee.
The Islamic State who took large swatches of territory in quick fashion, have forced Christians to flee for safety, with only their clothes to reach the safety of the Kurdistan region.
One international observer called it a humanitarian disaster saying more than 1,500 manuscripts had been burned.
The United Nations says more than 200,000 have fled and many thousands were trapped by the same militants on Sinjar Mountain, but over the last 24 hours have been rescued.
The militant group overran Qaraqosh, the largest Christian town in Iraq, after pushing Kurdish troops back, said Christina clerics and fleeing residents.
The Jihadists moved overnight to take claim of a number of towns that were mainly Christian forcing the people to leave.
Graffiti with “noon” representing the first letter of Nasara the word used for Christians in the Koran was put on the wall of local churches and on certain houses in Mosul the second largest city in Iraq.
Archbishop Joseph Thomas of Sulaimaniyah and Kirkuk said that Tal Kayf, Karamlesh, Bartella and Qaraqosh were towns where the original population was pushed out and are now controlled by militants.
He called it a catastrophe and very tragic. The archbishop called on the Security Council of the U.N. to intervene immediately as tens of thousands of individuals who are terrified have been displaced.
The advance overnight came after militants who are Sunni inflicted a defeat on Kurdish forces during a sweep of the north over the weekend.
Many residents confirmed that nearly all of northern Iraq, which is home to the majority of the Christian community in Iraq, had fallen to the militant group Islamic State.
Fleeing residents told observers that the militant group was taking a firm hold of the entire northern section of Iraq at a pace that is hard to believe.