Kurdistan Christians want Bashiqa to remain under KRG control

Christians want Bashiqa to remain under KRG control
Christians raise a cross on the top of a church in the village of Bahzani near Bashiqa, southeast of the Kurdistan Region, Nov. 19, 2016. (Photo: Kurdistan24)

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – The priest at the Mar Gorgis church in the town of Bashiqa, southeast of the Kurdistan Region on Sunday said he preferred the town remain under the control of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

Father Afram, the priest at the Mar Gorgis church, said he wanted Bashiqa to remain under the KRG’s administration and not to revert to the Iraqi central government in Baghdad.

“Of course we would prefer to be part of the KRG because of our proximity to the area and, because for the past 13 years, the KRG has been looking after us,” Afram told Reuters.

On Nov. 7, the Kurdistan Region’s Peshmerga forces gained full control of the majority Ezidi-populated Bashiqa in northeastern Mosul from the Islamic State (IS).

Other main components such as Christians, Kurds, and Arabs used to live there before the insurgents occupied the town in June 2014.

He added since the US-led liberation of Iraq from Saddam Hussein, “nobody from Baghdad came here to say hello to us, at all.”

Following the fall of Mosul, IS extremists began controlling large swaths of territory in the north of the country, including Christian-populated areas which led to the displacement of about 200,000 people.

Most of these displaced people resorted to the Kurdistan Region.

On Sunday, Christians raised the cross on top of a church in Bahzani, near the town of Bashiqa and thanked the Peshmerga forces for liberating their areas from IS.

At the ceremony, the representative of the Christian Bishop Rabban al-Qas told Kurdistan24, “Raising the cross on the church once again is the biggest victory against IS.”


Editing by Karzan Sulaivany