Islamists Attack St. Etchmiadzin Church in Mosul

St. Etchmiadzin church following attacks by extremist militants

MOSUL, Iraq—The jihadist group Islamic State of Iraq and Levant, which has been systematically attacking—and invading—key cities in Iraq, attacked the St. Etchmiadzin Armenian Church in Iraq’s second largest city, reported the religious leader of the Armenian community of nearby Dohuk, Rev. Massis Shahinyan.

On Tuesday, 65 Armenian families and a priest in Mosul were forced out of the city after ISIS militants raided and took control of Iraq’s second largest city.

ISIS has pounded cities and towns in Iraq and has announced plans to invade Baghdad, in what is becoming a serious threat by the Al Qaeda-backed militant group.

The Archbishop of the Armenian Prelacy reported that 15,000 to 16,000 Armenian Christians remained in the country, primarily in the cities of Baghdad, Basrah, Kirkuk, and Mosul. Evangelical Christians reportedly number between 5,000 and 6,000. They can be found in the northern part of the country, as well as in Baghdad, with a very small number residing in Basrah.

Christian leaders have estimated that as much as 50 percent of the country’s Christian population lives in Baghdad, and 30 to 40 percent live in the north, with the largest Christian communities located in and around Mosul, Erbil, Dohuk, and Kirkuk.

PKK Pledges Safe Passage for Armenians
Leaders of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), who are centered in the Qandil Mountains in Northern Iraq, have issued a statement saying that its armed units were prepared to resist attacks by the ISIS forces and will guarantee safe passage to Kurds, Arabs, Turkmen, and Armenians who live in Northern Iraq and are fleeing their homes.

The leadership of the autonomous Kurdistan region of Northern Iraq is deploying a large number of Peshmerga military units—which form the country’s armed forces—ahead of the ISIS militants. The PKK militants are coordinating efforts with Peshmergas.


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  1. bigmoustache said:

    we should go with the kurds. they are the only ones who can fight and defeat the islamists, not the Iraqi or Syrian governments. and if the kurds are willing to help us, we should be helping them too. it doesn’t make sense for someone to risk their life to protect you if youre not willing to do the same for them

  2. Hratch said:

    Leave Now!

    We should have left 20+ years ago. How stupid is it to stay in these backwards places especially since we have had a free homeland for the last 20+ years. The homeland that resides in our heads is of no help, it must be an actual physical place…..let’s get that into our hollow heads for once !!

    • bigmoustache said:

      no i disagree. if violence broke out in Jerusalem would you want Armenians to desert that historic city too and end our long presence there? kesab, Aleppo, Bourj hammoud, anjar ARE Armenian lands

  3. Norin Radd said:

    What on Earth could continue to motivate these stubborn Armenians numbering just 15,000 to continue to stay in such a war ravaged place is beyond understanding and logic. Artsakh is practically begging for Armenians to settle in its lush plains and rolling hills on native Armenian soil and these imbeciles are dead bent on living in arab armpits instead of their own homeland.

    It’s difficult feeling sympathy in the face of sheer stupidity.

  4. zarkim said:

    ISIS – the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which is also known as ISIL – is an offshoot of AL-QAEDA….. US’s favourite.
    This group keeps entering Turkey and exit from Turkey unopposed as they wish….
    Everyone in Mosul ran away except the Turkish consulate Staff and their special forces who were allowed to keep their arms….
    This is a bit suspicious. Turkey has a good relationship with ISIS. Are they trying to make it look like they are not friendly?
    WHAT IS TURKEY TRYING TO PULL? .. Americans are almost certainly behind this.
    Now they are attacking our church.
    Same people attached KESAB and no one cared! Now, NATO is getting involved or may be pretending to. And.
    The United States has pledged any “appropriate assistance” to help the Iraqi government fend off a rapid military advance by SUNNI MILITANTS (ISIS). Why not help Syria?
    Why didn’t they help KESAB? Same people attached Kesab!
    US administration LIBERATED Iraq after seven years of bloodshed. May be this is way people trusted the American administration – Thinking that they are in control and have done it right for a change. They made it worst like Libya.
    Mr Obama can help stop all of these atrocities if so he wishes.
    Thanks in advance Mr Obama. God bless America.

    • Hratch said:

      If you had followed the events in Iraq since 2011 you would have known that the current government of Nouri al-Maliki created the conditions for Sunni resentment. The US unsuccessfully tried to pressure al-Maliki to compromise with the Sunnis, but al-Maliki’s government refused to compromise and share the wealth of the country. They abused their authority by persecuting and denying the Sunnis of their rights. That is the reason why a ragtag army of 800 has been able to advance on 30,000 Iraqi troops in a single day. The Sunni soldiers simply abandoned their posts because they have lost morale and faith in their government.

      Too many times we Armenians have knee jerk reaction to complex issues. It would be best if we concentrated on the well being of the ROA and let the world function without our input.

      • zarkim said:

        Thanks for your comment brother.
        So… is this why they entered Kassab from Turkey and killed & robbed some Armenians?
        Sunnies are mistreated in Iraq as you say (Off course you can prove it!!). What has it got to do with Armenians in Aleppo or Kassab?
        Why is Turkey using these disgruntled Sunnis to attack Armenians? You see…. Sunnis are weak too. A bunch of suckers.

    • Arius said:

      I used to feel very lonely when warning Armenians that the US is aiding and abetting jihadis in Syria that are raping and killing Christians and even Muslims that say No to the seventh century. Now it seems that many Armenians are dropping their Western centrism and seeing the US for what it is doing in the Middle East, in Libya, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Chechnya, and most recently Ukraine. It is the same story, over and over again. I am an Armenian that sees that the US is a post-Christian country that is in the process of destroying the Eastern Christians.

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  6. E.S. said:

    I am no-Armenian an no-Cristian, but I cherish warm sympathy for the Armenian people, surviving 100 years ago a real genocide . I believe that the Middle East now – a really dangerous place, and I would thinking about returning to homeland- Armenia , as if there was not difficult. I say this also because I live in Israel …

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