1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

France UN request over Iraq

August 7, 2014

Paris has requested an urgent UN Security Council meeting after jihadist insurgents took control of the Iraq's largest Christian town, forcing thousands to flee. The country has also been hit by a new wave of bombings.

ISIS Kämpfer Militärparade in Syrien 30.06.2014
Image: Reuters

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Thursday called for a meeting of the UN Security Council after Islamist militants in northern Iraq seized the country's largest Christian town and nearby villages.

The new gains by "Islamic State" (IS) militants have reportedly prompted thousands of Christians to flee the northern town of Qaraqosh and surrounding areas, residents and Christian clerics said on Thursday.

"Given the seriousness of the situation - the first victims of which are civilians and religious minorities - France is requesting an urgent meeting of the Security Council so the international community can mobilize to counter the terrorist threat in Iraq and support and protect the population at risk," Fabius said in a statement.

The takeovers are the latest gains by IS, an al Qaeda splinter group formerly known as ISIS. Over the weekend the Sunni militants dealt a humiliating defeat on Kurdistan's military - the Peshmerga - across the north.

Bishop Joseph Tomas said Qaraqoush and at least four other predominantly Christian villages were in the hands of IS and that Kurdish units, which had protected the area, had also fled. Other priests confirmed the information.

"It's a catastrophe, a tragic situation," Tomas told the AFP news agency, "We call on the UN Security Council to immediately intervene. Tens of thousands of terrified people are being displaced as we speak, it cannot be described."

Families on the march

According to residents, many are fleeing to autonomous Kurdistan.

"Most families are fleeing the town towards the province of Dahuk in Kurdistan," a resident said.

Many thousands of Iraq's Christians have been forced to flee their homes since the IS seized large chunks of the country in a lightning advance in June.

As the IS pressed on with its expansion in the north, a suicide bomber killed 14 people in a Shiite area of Baghdad on Thursday.

Since the militants seized much of the country's north and west, there has been a renewed campaign of bombings against Baghdad, particularly in Shiite areas. A series of car bombings on Wednesday night killed 51.

As many as nine people were also killed on Thursday in two car bombings in the Kurdish-held Iraqi oil city of Kirkuk.

rc/kms (Reuters, AFP, dpa)