For 2000 years, Christians have been living in remote villages in the mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan. In 2014, they welcomed refugees fleeing ISIS. But today, they are the one being threatened by a conflict that exceeds them.
In northern Iraq, on the border with Turkey, there is a mountainous region where Christians have lived for several centuries. They did not directly suffer from the ISIS invasion in 2014 but generously welcomed their Christian and Yazidi neighbours from the Nineveh plains driven from their homes by the jihadists.
Sharanish after that the Turkish army bombed it: above in January 2016, and at the right, in March 2019.
Once that Daech got defeated, these mountain Christians happened to be caught in another conflict: the fighting between the Turkish army and the PKK – an armed group that claims the independence of Kurdistan – has recently intensified. The area is regularly bombed and Christians, caught in the crossfire, dread to be forced to leave their villages.
For several years, Fraternity in Iraq has been helping these isolated inhabitants. We have provided regular visits to mountain villages including the provision of heating and other equipment, the installation of cisterns and the repair of buildings.
In Sharanish, for example, Fraternity in Iraq has been supporting the inhabitants since 2016. At that time, this town had undergone a Turkish bombardment. The association took care of repairing all the damage caused by the blasts. In March 2019, the village was bombed again and the Christians and Muslims living there fled. Fraternity in Iraq provides them with emergency assistance (food and basic necessities) until the situation becomes stable and they might consider coming back.
Beyond this critical case, Fraternity in Iraq is working so that Christians in these far-off villages can stay at home and live in dignity. For this we pursue three objectives:
- Improving the infrastructure: for instance in Berseve, a nursery is under construction. In Levo, a school classroom which accidentally burned is being renovated.
- Opening up the villages: with you help, Fraternity in Iraq will finance a bus to provide the students with school transportation. It will link several villages with Zakho, the nearest big city.
- Revitalizing the agriculture and the local economy: thanks to the expertise developed in the Nineveh plain, we have the project to support farms, small businesses and shops in this mountain region!
For all these projects, we need your help!
These Christians have welcomed those who fled Daech … Now they need us, let us not forget them!