'Defenceless' Followers of Christ Marking Christmas in Middle East 'Under Yoke of Genocide'

A Christian persecution watchdog group is reminding the world that believers still clinging for survival in the Middle East remain "defenceless" and still living "under the yoke of genocide" this Christmas season.

Writing for The Hill, Philippe Nassif, the executive director of In Defense of Christians (IDC), revealed that Syria's Christian population, who numbered two million before the civil war began in 2011, is now down to less than half of that.

Nassif said U.S. President-elect Donald Trump needs to take decisive action to save the Christian survivors of the campaign of genocide being waged by the Islamic State (ISIS) in the region.

"IDC calls on the incoming Trump administration to take swift action to protect the Christians of Iraq, Syria, and Egypt; to provide humanitarian aid and to urge governments to protect minorities; and to defeat ISIS – both militarily and by identifying and rooting out its ideological and financial bases of support," Nassif wrote.

He also called for the creation of an autonomous region in Iraq's Nineveh Plain, the historic heartland of Christianity in Iraq. Christians and other minorities could settle in the region where they can "rebuild their homes and restore their cultures without fear of death, torture or destruction," he added.

Nassif also cited other countries in the world where Christians are targeted for their faith. These include Pakistan, with its strict blasphemy laws, and Egypt, where the ISIS terrorist bombing of St. Peter and St. Paul's Church in Cairo recently took place, killing at least 27 people and injured 47 others.

"We should remember the people of Syria and Yemen, with hundreds of thousands killed, millions displaced, and millions more innocent civilians on the verge of starvation as the result of wars waged by regional actors without regard for innocent, defenseless human life," the IDC executive director said.

The world can no longer ignore what is happening, Nassif pointed out.

"Millions across the Middle East live on the front lines in the fight against ISIS. Most of them, like the Christians of Egypt, Syria, and Iraq are defenseless and are every year targets of ISIS and other Salafi jihadists at Christmas and Easter."

The ISIS campaign of terror has forced millions of people to flee their homes in the Middle East, creating a gargantuan humanitarian crisis. Its attacks have also reached major Western cities, including Paris, San Bernardino, Brussels, Orlando, and Berlin.