(JNS.org) Christian Solidarity International (CSI), a U.S.-based Christian humanitarian organization, has teamed up with the Iraqi-based Assyrian Christian group Hammurabi Human Rights Organization (HHRO) to provide aid to Iraqi Christians and others fleeing the rising terrorism of Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS).
CSI said that 300,000 people have fled the ISIS invasion, with many Christians and others fleeing to Iraqi Kurdistan or to the Nineveh Plains region, home to many Iraqi Christians. HHRO reported that nearly 500 Christian families from the city of Mosul were among the displaced in the Nineveh Plains.
On June 25, ISIS jihadists also began shelling the Iraqi Christian city of Hamdaniya in the Nineveh Plains region, about 20 kilometers from Mosul. Nearly all of the city’s 50,000 people fled.
“The shelling started at 3 p.m. on Wednesday (June 25), when I was looking after the children. I’d been very nervous since ISIS took Mosul, but the shelling started without warning. The shells landed every 30 minutes, and the Kurds were returning fire,” Marwa, a displaced Christian woman, told CSI.
“We stayed up all night, and left at 7 a.m. on Thursday. Most of the people left before us. We have no idea why this happened, or what has become of our home,” said Marwa.
CSI said its team arrived in Iraq on June 26 to assist HHRO on the distribution of CSI-funded aid to 140 displaced families in Bandwaya, a Christian town north of Mosul, near Hamdaniya.
The groups distributed relief aid, including food baskets, milk, infant formula, household items, and other essential needs.
Before 2003, it was estimated that around 130,000 Christians lived in Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, but only about 10,000 remained before the recent ISIS invasion. Now, residents say around 2,000 Christians remain in the city.