On Sunday evening, ISIS seized more towns in the north west of Iraq.
Following prolonged fighting between ISIS and Peshmerga – Kurdish soldiers – ISIS fighters took control of Sinjar, Zummar and Ayn Zalah to the north west of Mosul towards the border with Syria.
Reports received by Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need indicate that ISIS’s seizure of the region has caused thousands of Yezidi families to flee. The region is mixture of Arab Sunnis and Yezidis.
Archdeacon Emanuel Youkhana told ACN: “It is widely believed that ISIS is trying to control the region because of the oil fields in Ain Zalah, and as it is the geographical continuity of their claimed Islamic State towards Syria.
“In addition, they may try to control the Dam of Mosul which is in that region.”
He added that it is important for Kurdish troops to regain control the region as Sinjar and Zumar have a Kurdish and Yezedi majority.
But he said the Peshmerga in that region lack weapons as the Iraqi central government has not provided them with armaments over the past few years, nor has it supported the Kurd’s recent military campaigns with air strikes.
Aid to the Church in Need is an international Catholic charity under the guidance of the Holy See, providing assistance to the suffering and persecuted Church in more than 140 countries. www.churchinneed.org (USA); www.acnuk.org (UK); www.aidtochurch.org (AUS); www.acnireland.org (IRL); www.acn-aed-ca.org (CAN)