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Mass Grave discovered in Iraq - Nineveh
Nineveh
By rsoufi
05 Feb 2015

Forensics and legal personnel inspect a mass grave of bodies, allegedly Yazidis killed by ISIS, in the area of Nineveh, Iraq, on February 8, 2015. They are working in coordination with international human rights organizations (such as ICMP and the UN) with the aim of documenting and proving that the radical group, known as ISIS, is guilty of committing genocide.

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Mass Grave discovered in Iraq - Nineveh
Nineveh
By rsoufi
05 Feb 2015

Forensics and legal personnel inspect a mass grave of bodies, allegedly Yazidis killed by ISIS, in the area of Nineveh, Iraq, on February 8, 2015. They are working in coordination with international human rights organizations (such as ICMP and the UN) with the aim of documenting and proving that the radical group, known as ISIS, is guilty of committing genocide.

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Mass Grave discovered in Iraq - Nineveh
Nineveh
By rsoufi
05 Feb 2015

Forensics and legal personnel inspect a mass grave of bodies, allegedly Yazidis killed by ISIS, in the area of Nineveh, Iraq, on February 8, 2015. They are working in coordination with international human rights organizations (such as ICMP and the UN) with the aim of documenting and proving that the radical group, known as ISIS, is guilty of committing genocide.

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Mass Grave discovered in Iraq - Nineveh
Nineveh
By rsoufi
05 Feb 2015

Forensics and legal personnel inspect a mass grave of bodies, allegedly Yazidis killed by ISIS, in the area of Nineveh, Iraq, on February 8, 2015. They are working in coordination with international human rights organizations (such as ICMP and the UN) with the aim of documenting and proving that the radical group, known as ISIS, is guilty of committing genocide.

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Mass Grave discovered in Iraq - Nineveh
Nineveh
By rsoufi
05 Feb 2015

Forensics and legal personnel inspect a mass grave of bodies, allegedly Yazidis killed by ISIS, in the area of Nineveh, Iraq, on February 8, 2015. They are working in coordination with international human rights organizations (such as ICMP and the UN) with the aim of documenting and proving that the radical group, known as ISIS, is guilty of committing genocide.

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Mass Grave discovered in Iraq - Nineveh
Nineveh
By rsoufi
05 Feb 2015

Forensics and legal personnel inspect a mass grave of bodies, allegedly Yazidis killed by ISIS, in the area of Nineveh, Iraq, on February 8, 2015. They are working in coordination with international human rights organizations (such as ICMP and the UN) with the aim of documenting and proving that the radical group, known as ISIS, is guilty of committing genocide.

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Mass Grave discovered in Iraq - Nineveh
Nineveh
By rsoufi
05 Feb 2015

Forensics and legal personnel inspect a mass grave of bodies, allegedly Yazidis killed by ISIS, in the area of Nineveh, Iraq, on February 8, 2015. They are working in coordination with international human rights organizations (such as ICMP and the UN) with the aim of documenting and proving that the radical group, known as ISIS, is guilty of committing genocide.

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Mass Grave discovered in Iraq - Nineveh
Nineveh
By rsoufi
05 Feb 2015

Forensics and legal personnel inspect a mass grave of bodies, allegedly Yazidis killed by ISIS, in the area of Nineveh, Iraq, on February 8, 2015. They are working in coordination with international human rights organizations (such as ICMP and the UN) with the aim of documenting and proving that the radical group, known as ISIS, is guilty of committing genocide.

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Iraqi Christians Start from Scratch i...
Lyon
By Lola García-Ajofrín
16 Dec 2014

“Why does nobody care about Iraqi Christians?"
 
“We lost everything in Iraq: our house and everything that was inside it, everything!” laments the Iraqi priest, Muhannad Altawil, who now lives in France. He is driving to meet Sliwa and Siba and their three children, who have just taken refuge in their brother’s house in a suburb on the outskirts of Lyon. He remembers the day in 2008 when his family was told to leave their homes and everything in them behind. “This house belongs to us now,” their perpetrators said. Without taking his eyes off the road for a moment, Altawil says that is why his entire family fled. The rosary beads dangling from the rear-view mirror dance as he turns the bend.
 
Faced with the brutality and indifference that Christians in Iraq were suffering, Father Altawil tells us, the dioceses of Lyon and Mosul decided to partner up in 2014. A charity dinner in honor of the refugees was held just before Christmas in Lyon. On 8 December 8, to commemorate the traditional Festival of Lights of Lyon, thousands of lamps and candles were sent to Baghdad and Erbil where dozens of people celebrated a procession that included the Cardinal of Lyon, Philippe Barbarin. The latter then celebrated mass at the Church of Saint Joseph in the Erbil neighborhood of Ankawa.
 
Altawil is a Chaldean Christian priest from Baghdad. He explains that after completing his military service in 1999, he traveled to France “to learn French and to realize my religious calling.” After a year in Rennes, in the west of France, he decided to become a priest. Since 2000, he has been a Dominican monk and since 2008, a priest. Nonetheless, he returns to Iraq every year to visit the Dominican community. He says he also returned last year, this time returning to his old neighborhood. “I could not go directly to the main door of my house because it was quite dangerous; because everyone knows everyone, and they know I'm a Christian and now – and a priest,” he explains. He tried to access his house from the back. “Then I saw the family that is now living in my house and using everything: our car, even wearing our clothes.”
 
Father Muhannad stops his car in a parking lot in front of an array of concrete buildings, an urban landscape that is vastly different to the picturesque houses that line downtown Lyon along the Saone River.
 
Were it not for the Christmas lights adorning several balconies, the night would subsume everything. We are now is Vaulx-en-Velin, the neighborhood where France’ first banlieusard riots began in 1979. Most of the residents are immigrants or children of immigrants, though some are already the grandchildren of those who came to France two generations ago.
 
The entire family lives in the living room of a single house: the husband and wife, their two children (the eldest is currently on duty as a taxi-driver) and their new guests: Sliwa and Siba, the parents, and their three children, Lord, 7, Fadi, 6, and Malik, 3. It does not take a lot of imagination to guess their spiritual leanings: every corner of the room is overflowing with religious symbols of one sort or another. On one wall is a large manger with a ceramic angel that will not stop dangling from a cork roof, though the aunt insists on propping it up. Next to it is a tree with bows and white balls and, in a corner next to the main table, a golden Virgin Mary. They have prepared sweet Iraqi tea. Mr. Sliwa explains that in Iraq, “it was impossible to find a Christmas tree anywhere in the street. It's beautiful here how malls and everything else is decorated.”
 
The youngest daughter, Malik, has huge eyes and only leaves her mother's arms to take another piece of cake, for which her mother tells her off discreetly. The little girl seems oblivious to the adults’ conversation, even though her parents lower their voice and look at her askance when discussing just how the children are bearing the changes: a different house, a different country, different food, a new life amongst uncles and cousins. In Arabic, her name means “angel.”
 
They arrived in Lyon from Erbil just before Christmas. The father Mr. Sliwa reiterates that they have been very busy adapting to everything new. Nonetheless, it makes him “very angry” that nobody seems to care about their situation. “Why doesn’t anybody care about Iraqi Christians?" he demands indignantly. Our conversation took place a day after the December 2014 kidnapping of 40 hostages in a Sydney café in which three people died. “Look at the newspapers and television, how many people have died in Iraq and how many in Australia? And who ever speaks up on our behalf?” he exclaims.
 
One of various minorities scattered throughout the country, the Christian community in Iraq is one of the oldest in the world. In 2003, before the US invasion, there were more than a million Christians in Iraq, representing about 5% of the population. Today it is estimated there are less than half a million.
 
Muhannad Altawil says, “the problem is that, after the US invasion, all the terrorists came to us to seek revenge against the American army in Iraq.” Moreover, he insists, “Islamic terrorists think that all Europeans and Americans are the same.” The proclamation of the so-called ISIS in June 2014 triggered a new flight out of the country. The Lyon-Mosul organization of the Catholic Church in Lyon estimates that 400,000 Iraqi members of minorities took refugee in the Kurdish province of Iraq, including some 150,000 Christians.
 
In September, French President François Hollande traveled to Baghdad to support the new Iraqi government. There he said: “I want relations between France and Iraq to acquire a new dimension.” Visiting refugees in Erbil, he said, “Our duty is for you to be able to return to your homes.”
 
“The hardest part,” says Mr. Sliwa, “is starting from zero, finding a job without speaking the language.” Not to mention all the paperwork necessary for making administrative arrangements to get residency, Father Altawil adds. Whatever their struggles, Mrs Siba says pensively, “we are lucky.”
 

SPANISH VERSION AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST

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YIBO CAMP
Gaziantep
By Felipe Passolas
30 Nov 2014

Suruç, Turkish border. Kobane. Syrian war. Refugees and soldiers. ISIS

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Fpc3138
Unnamed Road, Alanyurt/Şanlıurfa,Turkey
By Felipe Passolas
29 Nov 2014

Suruç, Turkish border. Kobane. Syrian war. Refugees and soldiers. ISIS

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kurdish women
Unnamed Road, Alanyurt/Şanlıurfa,Turkey
By Felipe Passolas
29 Nov 2014

Suruç, Turkish border. Kobane. Syrian war. Refugees and soldiers. ISIS

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kurdish suppoters
Kobanî, Syria
By Felipe Passolas
29 Nov 2014

Suruç, Turkish border. Kobane. Syrian war. Refugees and soldiers. ISIS

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food, camps, refugees
Gaziantep
By Felipe Passolas
29 Nov 2014

Suruç, Turkish border. Kobane. Syrian war. Refugees and soldiers. ISIS

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surç hospital, wounded fighters
Unnamed Road, Alanyurt/Şanlıurfa,Turkey
By Felipe Passolas
28 Nov 2014

Suruç, Turkish border. Kobane. Syrian war. Refugees and soldiers. ISIS

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kurdish familly weading
Kobanî, Syria
By Felipe Passolas
28 Nov 2014

Suruç, Turkish border. Kobane. Syrian war. Refugees and soldiers. ISIS

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turkish army in kobane
Yumurtalık Köyü Yolu, Yumurtalık/Şanlıurfa,Turkey
By Felipe Passolas
27 Nov 2014

Suruç, Turkish border. Kobane. Syrian war. Refugees and soldiers. ISIS

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kobane
Yumurtalık Köyü Yolu, Yumurtalık/Şanlıurfa,Turkey
By Felipe Passolas
27 Nov 2014

Suruç, Turkish border. Kobane. Syrian war. Refugees and soldiers. ISIS

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kobane fighters
Gaziantep Şanlıurfa Yolu, Mürşitpınar,Syria
By Felipe Passolas
27 Nov 2014

Suruç, Turkish border. Kobane. Syrian war. Refugees and soldiers. ISIS

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kurdish refugees
Unnamed Road, Alanyurt/Şanlıurfa,Turkey
By Felipe Passolas
25 Nov 2014

Suruç, Turkish border. Kobane. Syrian war. Refugees and soldiers. ISIS

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towns near the syrian border
Unnamed Road, Alanyurt/Şanlıurfa,Turkey
By Felipe Passolas
25 Nov 2014

Suruç, Turkish border. Kobane. Syrian war. Refugees and soldiers. ISIS

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refugees living in a mosque
Unnamed Road, Alanyurt/Şanlıurfa,Turkey
By Felipe Passolas
25 Nov 2014

the Mêser mosque is now both refuge and religious building.Suruç, Turkish border. Kobane. Syrian war. Refugees and soldiers. ISIS

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towns near the syrian border
Kobanî, Syria
By Felipe Passolas
25 Nov 2014

Suruç, Turkish border. Kobane. Syrian war. Refugees and soldiers. ISIS

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towns near the syrian borderg
Kobanî, Syria
By Felipe Passolas
25 Nov 2014

Suruç, Turkish border. Kobane. Syrian war. Refugees and soldiers. ISIS

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towns near the syrian border, kids
Kobanî, Syria
By Felipe Passolas
25 Nov 2014

Suruç, Turkish border. Kobane. Syrian war. Refugees and soldiers. ISIS

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gun, kurdish family in suruç
Kobanî, Syria
By Felipe Passolas
25 Nov 2014

Daham Baz is proud to keep his family safe at home in the border town of Suruç. None ISIS terrorist will get closer to the family or friends without facing my 9 mm parabelum, he says. Suruç, Turkish border. Kobane. Syrian war. Refugees and soldiers. ISIS

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kurdish familly
Kobanî, Syria
By Felipe Passolas
25 Nov 2014

Daham Baz is proud to keep his family safe at home in the border town of Suruç. None ISIS terrorist will get closer to the family or friends without facing my 9 mm parabelum, he says. Suruç, Turkish border. Kobane. Syrian war. Refugees and soldiers. ISIS

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mosque
Kobanî, Syria
By Felipe Passolas
25 Nov 2014

the Mêser mosque is now both refuge and religious building.Suruç, Turkish border. Kobane. Syrian war. Refugees and soldiers. ISIS

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turkish border
Unnamed Road, Alanyurt/Şanlıurfa,Turkey
By Felipe Passolas
24 Nov 2014

Turkish soldiers, always keeping an eye tow both sides of the border and the Kurdish manifestations in support of the city.Suruç, Turkish border. Kobane. Syrian war. Refugees and soldiers. ISIS

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isis village in syria
Unnamed Road, Alanyurt/Şanlıurfa,Turkey
By Felipe Passolas
24 Nov 2014

Suruç, Turkish border. Kobane. Syrian war. Refugees and soldiers. ISIS

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isis village in syria
Unnamed Road, Alanyurt/Şanlıurfa,Turkey
By Felipe Passolas
24 Nov 2014

Suruç, Turkish border. Kobane. Syrian war. Refugees and soldiers. ISIS

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syrian refugees in zehwan
Unnamed Road, Alanyurt/Şanlıurfa,Turkey
By Felipe Passolas
24 Nov 2014

Suruç, Turkish border. Kobane. Syrian war. Refugees and soldiers. ISIS

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cars in the border
Unnamed Road, Alanyurt/Şanlıurfa,Turkey
By Felipe Passolas
24 Nov 2014

Suruç, Turkish border. Kobane. Syrian war. Refugees and soldiers. ISIS

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military check point
Yumurtalık Köyü Yolu, Yumurtalık/Şanlıurfa,Turkey
By Felipe Passolas
24 Nov 2014

Turkish soldiers, always keeping an eye tow both sides of the border and the Kurdish manifestations in support of the city.Suruç, Turkish border. Kobane. Syrian war. Refugees and soldiers. ISIS

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Turkish border patrols.
Yumurtalık Köyü Yolu, Yumurtalık/Şanlıurfa,Turkey
By Felipe Passolas
24 Nov 2014

border patrols. Suruç, Turkish border. Kobane. Syrian war. Refugees and soldiers. ISIS