The advance of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria
(ISIS) has left few safe havens for Iraq's Christians. Many have found
protection in Iraqi Kurdistan and help from American believers.
When CBN News learned that many fleeing Christians
found refuge in the northern Ninevah town of Alqosh, we traveled to the
ancient Christian community to meet them.
Alqosh is mentioned in the Bible -- it was the
hometown of the Old Testament prophet Nahum. Today, it's exclusively
Christian; no Muslims are allowed to live in Alqosh.
Radi Yusef and his son had arrived in Alquosh just two hours earlier from Qaraqosh, near Mosul.
"Some people came here to Alqosh, and other people
went to Erbil," Yusef told CBN News. "Qaraqosh is empty and there's no
electricity and water. The road is open. I didn't see ISIS or anyone,
but they shelled around us before we left. We're staying with
We met his wife, Hana, at their relative's house.
"We were sleeping around noon time when mortars
started falling all around us," she explained. "We were afraid so we
prayed and then we left. My son was not able to eat or drink. He was
As ISIS advanced on the predominantly Christian town
of Qaraqosh, many children and their families fled the area. They're
now living temporarily in a school in the city of Erbil.
Many left their homes with only the clothes they were wearing. We asked what they needed, and CBN Disaster Relief responded.
With temperatures exceeding 111 degrees Fahrenheit
outside, the school interior was sweltering. Many wanted to take showers
to cool off, but they lacked bathing accessories.
Honoring their request, Operation Blessing provided
nearly 100 families with soap and towels and also powdered milk for
their children. The women expressed gratitude to the Americans who
supported CBN's efforts to help ease their misery.
The previous night CBN did the same for Christian
refugees residing in a school in Alqosh. We drove to a distant
marketplace to purchase the quantity of mattresses and pillows needed.
There was a bit of a wait because we asked for 75
mattresses and they had to prepare each one. That was all we could carry
on the truck, but we felt it would be enough to help everybody at the
It was mid-evening by the time we returned to
Alqosh. The refugees waited patiently as we unloaded the supplies. Men
received pillows for their families and their wives powdered milk for
CBN also provided a refrigerator and freezer to cool
and freeze food items. A diabetic man was relieved because he had no
refrigeration for his insulin and feared he would suffer a heart attack
"I want to tell the Americans thank you so much," he said.
At least 300 refugees from Qaraqosh arrived this
past weekend. They've discovered that ISIS fighters were unable to
spread their terror and impose Islamic law on the city because Kurdish
army fighters -- the Peshmerga -- chased them away.
With Qaraqosh now secured, many of the Christians hope to return home.
But others, like the Christian children we met from
Mosul, are unlikely to go back as long as ISIS controls their city. At
least now, they'll fall asleep on mattresses at the end of the day
instead of the floor and rest their war-weary heads in comfort.