“Convert To Islam Or Face The Sword!” Syrian Christians Flee For Their Lives

Convert to Islam or face the sword. That was the stark message Christians in the Syrian city of Raqqa received last year when ultra-fundamentalist Sunni extremists, proclaiming themselves to be members of the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS), seized power and launched a reign of terror against Shiites and Christians that has included beheadings and at least three crucifixions. Aware of ISIS’ ferocious reputation for murder and mayhem, thousands of Christians who lived in Mosul and the surrounding Nineveh Plain fled in panic when ISIS rebels captured Iraq’s second largest city from government forces on June 10. Many of those who escaped have sought refuge in this Christian enclave in the Kurdish city of Irbil, only an hour’s drive away from Mosul.

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