Telkaif (Agenzia Fides) - In the late evening of Tuesday, 24 October, the Christians of Telkaif, an Iraqi town located in the Nineveh Plain, abandoned their homes and moved to Qosh and other neighboring villages. Peshmerga fighters from neighboring Kurdistan stationed in the village started engaging in a battle with forces from the Iraqi central government. Ankawa.com news agency reported that on the same day on Tuesday some mortar-shells had already fallen on the town of Telkaif, provoking according to local sources the death of two people. A similar exodus also involved the inhabitants of the nearby town of Baqofah.
The escape from Telkaif and Baqofah recalls the mass exodus that occurred in the Nineveh Plain in August 2014, when more than 100,000 Christians were forced to abandon the villages that represented the historic capitals of indigenous communities in ancient Mesopotamia. In the night between August 6 and 7, in Qaraqosh, Kramles, Telkaif, Bartalla, and in the other centers of the Plain, the offensive of the militia of the self-proclaimed Islamic Caliphate defeated the resistance represented by Kurdish Peshmerga. Many fled to Erbil and Kirkuk, bringing only the clothes they had on them.
Meanwhile, the autonomous government of Iraqi Kurdistan also asked that Baghdad issue an immediate ceasefire and halt all military operations in Kurdistan as well as freeze the results of the referendum held on 25 September to sanction its secession from Iraq. The initiative was presented as an attempt to open dialogue channels with the central government of Baghdad. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 25/10/2017)