ISIS seizes Iraq’s largest Christian town

A Kurdish peshmerga soldier in northern Iraq. Thousands of residents are fleeing for Kurdistan ahead of the Isis advance. Photograph: Reuters

Qaraqosh, Tal Kayf, Bartella and Karamlesh emptied of original populations and now under the control of Jihadi militants

Jihadists has taken over Iraq’s largest Christian town, Qaraqosh, and the surrounding areas sending tens of thousands of residents fleeing towards autonomous Kurdistan, according to officials and witnesses.

Islamic State (ISIS) militants moved in overnight after the withdrawal of Kurdish peshmerga troops, who are stretched thin across several fronts in Iraq, residents said.

“I now know that the towns of Qaraqosh, Tal Kayf, Bartella and Karamlesh have been emptied of their original population and are now under the control of the militants,” Joseph Thomas, the Chaldean archbishop of Kirkuk and Sulaimaniyah, told AFP.

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