Persecuted Christians in Iraq urge government to act against ISIS, two years after exodus

Two years after being forced from their homes by Islamic State, Christians in Iraq are urging their government to liberate the Nineveh Plain from militant control.

More than 100 Chaldean, Syriac and Assyrian Christians gathered outside the Mar Yousef Church in Erbil on Sunday to call on authorities to act.

Srud Sleman, a member of Kurdistan's Parliament, told NRT that more must be done "so that our people can go back [to Nineveh] as soon as possible".

One displaced man told the news service that Christians were struggling with unemployment and lack of access to services. "Our psychological condition is poor," he said.

Nearly 300,000 Christians have been forced from the Nineveh Plain since 2014, when ISIS overran the region. Overnight on August 7 of that year, up to a quarter of Iraq's Christians fled after militants seized Qaraqosh, the largest Christian town in the country.

On Sunday, the second anniversary of the exodus, the European Syriac Union released a statement calling for immediate action and condemning the "massive genocidal destruction of Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian people and their millennial cultural, historical and religious heritage by demolishing churches, monasteries and historical sites".

"There is historical and moral responsibility for Iraq, regional and international community and institutions namely United Nations to stand with the vulnerable groups, recognise genocides against them and support them by accelerating the liberation of Nineveh Plain and supporting safe zone, autonomy in the region which will open the way to self administration," the statement said.

"In these turbulent times, Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian people dispersed in different regions should stand with their brethren in the homeland in Iraq and Syria and raise their voices for the existential demands on the historical homeland of Bethnahrin."