The famed “Green Church” in Tikrit, Iraq was reduced to ashes. Militants from the Islamic State surrounded the church with explosives and detonated. The church was a historical monument that was built 700 years after Christ. The militants are scorching the Christian roots of the Middle East.
At the same time, the constant stream of refugees continues to grow and the humanitarian crisis is multiplying.
Turkey is now receiving thousands of displaced people. The country opened its borders to allow more than 130,000 refugees escaping the violence.
“It is the biggest influx that Turkey has seen so far, and the needs are urgent and so big, most of them are women and children. We are trying to do as much as we can co-ordinating with the officials here but it is really not enough”.
The refugees carry the few belongings they were able to salvage before fleeing the fighting between Islamic State militants and Kurdish soldiers.
They made the journey in exhausting conditions. This woman and 16 of her relatives were able to reach the border safe and sound. Although 8 months pregnant, she carried a baby in her arms.
“We were all terrified and we fled our houses because of the bombs. Every night we would come and sleep here at the border and then go back to our houses a bit in the morning, all our children are sick, what can we do? May God help us.”
Recently, the Islamic State has taken over more than 60 cities in northern Syria, close to the Turkish border.
Pope Francis will be traveling to Turkey from November 29th – 30th where the Chaldean Christian community has experienced a notable growth with the arrival of thousands of Iraqi refugees.