Christians in Mosul are fleeing the city after ultimatum from ISIS.
Christians in Mosul are fleeing the city after ultimatum from ISIS.Reuters

Thousands of Christians in Mosul have been forced to flee the town they called home for at least 1800 years.

Iraq has a substantial population of ancient Christian communities, which have long lived besides the Shia and Sunni Muslims in the country. However, most of the Christians in the town have now been forced to flee.

BBC reports that thousands of Iraqi Christians have literally poured out of Mosul, after the ISIS gave them an ultimatum that asks them either to convert, pay tax, leave or face death.

The terrorist group declared that Christians must either convert to Islam, pay a special tax or leave Mosul. As per the ISIS order, which was read out in all the mosques in the city, the Christians should convert to Islam or pay tax or leave Mosul by 19 July. If they did not, there would be 'nothing for them but the sword', it stated.

As per the Human Rights Watch (HRW), the Mosul Christians have fled to join thousands of Shiite and other refugees in the neighboring autonomous region of Kurdistan.

Condemning the brutal treatment of minorities, Sarah Leah Whitson - HRW, Middle East Director - asked for the 'immediate halt' on the 'vicious campaign' by the ISIS, targeting minorities in and around Mosul.

"Being a Turkman, a Shabak, a Yazidi, or a Christian in the ISIS territory can cost you your livelihood, your liberty, or even your life," Whitson noted.

Atrocities against Christians 

The Sunni militant group, which considers the minorities 'devil worshippers', is known to have committed numerous atrocities against Christians. 

There have been several instances where the militants reportedly raped and killed women.

It was reported that in Mosul, a Christian man killed himself after the ISIS made him watch his wife and daughter get brutally raped by members of the militant group because he could not pay them poll tax. 

Similarly, Arabic website Alghadeer had reported that four Christian women were shot and killed by the ISIS members for not wearing veils. 

As per the HRW, on 29 June, the ISIS abducted two nuns and three Christian orphans, whom the group held for ransom for 15 days.