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'Leave, convert or die' - Isis tells residents of Iraq’s largest Christian town

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Displaced people, who fled from the violence in the province of Nineveh, arrive at Sulaimaniya province August 7, 2014.  REUTERS/Stringer

Displaced people, who fled from the violence in the province of Nineveh, arrive at Sulaimaniya province August 7, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer

Displaced people, who fled from the violence in the province of Nineveh, arrive at Sulaimaniya province August 7, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer

Displaced people, who fled from the violence in the province of Nineveh, arrive at Sulaimaniya province August 7, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer

Displaced people, who fled from the violence in the province of Nineveh, arrive at Sulaimaniya province August 7, 2014.  REUTERS/Stringer

Displaced people, who fled from the violence in the province of Nineveh, arrive at Sulaimaniya province August 7, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer

Displaced people, who fled from the violence in the province of Nineveh, arrive at Sulaimaniya province August 8, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer

Displaced people, who fled from the violence in the province of Nineveh, arrive at Sulaimaniya province August 8, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer

Displaced people, who fled from the violence in the province of Nineveh, arrive at Sulaimaniya province August 8, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer

Displaced people, who fled from the violence in the province of Nineveh, arrive at Sulaimaniya province August 8, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer

Kurdish "peshmerga" troops stand guard during an intensive security deployment at the checkpoint at the entrance to Sulaimaniya province August 8, 2014.  REUTERS/Stringer

Kurdish "peshmerga" troops stand guard during an intensive security deployment at the checkpoint at the entrance to Sulaimaniya province August 8, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer

Displaced people, who fled from the violence in the province of Nineveh, arrive at Sulaimaniya province August 8, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer

Displaced people, who fled from the violence in the province of Nineveh, arrive at Sulaimaniya province August 8, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer

A member of the Kurdish peshmerga troops stands on a tank during an operation against Islamic State militants in Makhmur, on the outskirts of the province of Nineveh August 7, 2014. The United States began to drop relief supplies to beleaguered Yazidi refugees fleeing Islamist militants in Iraq, but there was no immediate sign on Friday of U.S. air strikes to halt the sweeping advance of Islamic State fighters. Picture taken August 7, 2014.  REUTERS/Stringer (IRAQ - Tags: CIVIL UNREST POLITICS CONFLICT MILITARY)

A member of the Kurdish peshmerga troops stands on a tank during an operation against Islamic State militants in Makhmur, on the outskirts of the province of Nineveh August 7, 2014. The United States began to drop relief supplies to beleaguered Yazidi refugees fleeing Islamist militants in Iraq, but there was no immediate sign on Friday of U.S. air strikes to halt the sweeping advance of Islamic State fighters. Picture taken August 7, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer (IRAQ - Tags: CIVIL UNREST POLITICS CONFLICT MILITARY)

A member of the Kurdish peshmerga troops stands on a tank during an operation against Islamic State militants in Makhmur, on the outskirts of the province of Nineveh August 7, 2014. The United States began to drop relief supplies to beleaguered Yazidi refugees fleeing Islamist militants in Iraq, but there was no immediate sign on Friday of U.S. air strikes to halt the sweeping advance of Islamic State fighters. Picture taken August 7, 2014.  REUTERS/Stringer (IRAQ - Tags: CIVIL UNREST POLITICS CONFLICT MILITARY TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)

A member of the Kurdish peshmerga troops stands on a tank during an operation against Islamic State militants in Makhmur, on the outskirts of the province of Nineveh August 7, 2014. The United States began to drop relief supplies to beleaguered Yazidi refugees fleeing Islamist militants in Iraq, but there was no immediate sign on Friday of U.S. air strikes to halt the sweeping advance of Islamic State fighters. Picture taken August 7, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer (IRAQ - Tags: CIVIL UNREST POLITICS CONFLICT MILITARY TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)

Kurdish peshmerga troops patrol in a tank during an operation against Islamic State militants in Makhmur, on the outskirts of the province of Nineveh August 7, 2014. The United States began to drop relief supplies to beleaguered Yazidi refugees fleeing Islamist militants in Iraq, but there was no immediate sign on Friday of U.S. air strikes to halt the sweeping advance of Islamic State fighters. Picture taken August 7, 2014.  REUTERS/Stringer (IRAQ - Tags: CIVIL UNREST POLITICS CONFLICT MILITARY TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)

Kurdish peshmerga troops patrol in a tank during an operation against Islamic State militants in Makhmur, on the outskirts of the province of Nineveh August 7, 2014. The United States began to drop relief supplies to beleaguered Yazidi refugees fleeing Islamist militants in Iraq, but there was no immediate sign on Friday of U.S. air strikes to halt the sweeping advance of Islamic State fighters. Picture taken August 7, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer (IRAQ - Tags: CIVIL UNREST POLITICS CONFLICT MILITARY TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)

Kurdish peshmerga troops participate in an intensive security deployment against Islamic State militants in Makhmur, on the outskirts of the province of Nineveh August 7, 2014.  REUTERS/Stringer

Kurdish peshmerga troops participate in an intensive security deployment against Islamic State militants in Makhmur, on the outskirts of the province of Nineveh August 7, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer

Sheikh Abdul Mehdi Al-Karbala'i speaks as he delivers the text of a sermon by Iraq's top Shi'ite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, during Friday prayers at the Imam Hussein shrine in the holy city of Kerbala August 8, 2014. REUTERS/Mushtaq Muhammed

Sheikh Abdul Mehdi Al-Karbala'i speaks as he delivers the text of a sermon by Iraq's top Shi'ite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, during Friday prayers at the Imam Hussein shrine in the holy city of Kerbala August 8, 2014. REUTERS/Mushtaq Muhammed

Kurdish peshmerga troops participate in an intensive security deployment against Islamic State militants in Makhmur, on the outskirts of the province of Nineveh August 7, 2014.  REUTERS/Stringer

Kurdish peshmerga troops participate in an intensive security deployment against Islamic State militants in Makhmur, on the outskirts of the province of Nineveh August 7, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer

A member of the Kurdish peshmerga forces sit with a weapon during an intensive security deployment against Islamic State militants in Makhmur, on the outskirts of the province of Nineveh August 7, 2014.  REUTERS/Stringer

A member of the Kurdish peshmerga forces sit with a weapon during an intensive security deployment against Islamic State militants in Makhmur, on the outskirts of the province of Nineveh August 7, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer

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Displaced people, who fled from the violence in the province of Nineveh, arrive at Sulaimaniya province August 7, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer

Christians from the town of Qaraqosh were fleeing today after it was taken by fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isis) on Wednesday night.

The town had previously been a safe haven for those fleeing Mosul and for those hoping Christianity had a future in the country. “Before we thought we could stay. But now, there is no way Christians can go back to Iraq,” says Abu Maykel, a 29-year-old clerk who fled the village last week.


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