According to The Christian Post, hundreds of families in the Kurdish town of Telskuf were told this week to leave the city because of Iraqi soldiers. The soldiers were planning to recapture the city.
Some 1,000 Christian families had returned to the city in the last year.
Most of the Christians who returned to the town fled again to the town of Alqosh. Reports said that only a priest and a handful of people who worked for the church stayed behind.
“Nobody wants this to be collateral damage in a contest between these two entities,” a source told The Christian Post. “It’s a Christian town and you have the Kurdish peshmerga and the Iraqi army fighting over it and the people who had just faced genocide and just moved home are going to be the unintended victims here.”
The plan to recapture the city, however, was stopped, but the situation is “touch-and-go.”
“We are very grateful that just this evening American government involvement was able to stop the planned battle for Telskuf — a town in Nineveh recently liberated from ISIS and rebuilt with a $2 million grant from the government of Hungary,” said Carl Anderson, head of the Catholic-fraternal organization and advocacy group Knights of Columbus.
“The destruction of that town could have been in a very real way, the beginning of the end of Christianity in Iraq. There are so few towns left that every one of them is precious. While the peace is fragile, we are grateful for our government’s attention to this issue.”
On Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence said that President Donald Trump has directed the U.S. State Department to provide aid directly to faith-based organizations and other groups helping with displaced religious minorities.
“We will no longer rely on the United Nations alone to assist persecuted Christians and minorities in the wake of genocide and the atrocities of terrorist groups,” Pence explained. “The United States will work hand-in-hand from this day forward with faith-based groups and private organizations to help those who are persecuted.”