Sunni radicals with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) have now taken control of Iraq’s largest Christian city. Kurdish forces, which have served as a last line of defense against the Islamic terrorist group, retreated Thursday from Qaraqosh.
“France is highly concerned about the latest progress of ISIS in the North of Iraq and by the taking of Qaraqosh, the largest Christian city of Iraq, and the horrible acts of violence that are committed,” French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said in a statement, CNN reported Thursday.
The takeover of the city of roughly 50,000 people comes just weeks after Christians from Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, were expelled by ISIL.
“What is significant about this is that area has been under protection if you will of the Kurdish Peshmerga forces. It’s right next to the Kurdish autonomous region. Again, what makes it significant is the Kurdish forces have now pulled back. Until now they have been seen as the last bulwark against Islamic State fighters as they’ve swept across the north of Iraq and consolidated control of their territory there,” CNN’s senior international correspondent Nic Robertson said Thursday.