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Iraqi minorities victim of sectarian conflict

The minorities in Iraq are subject to religious restrictions in the areas controlled by the Islamic State, which might lead to their extinction.
Christian families, who fled from the violence in Mosul, gather at a building which was used as a social club in Arbil, in Iraq's Kurdistan region June 26, 2014. Iraqi forces launched an airborne assault on rebel-held Tikrit on Thursday with commandos flown into a stadium in helicopters, at least one of which crashed after taking fire from insurgents who have seized northern cities.  REUTERS/Stringer (IRAQ - Tags: CIVIL UNREST POLITICS) - RTR3VXHK

The continuing conflict between Sunnis and Shiites has caused significant negative effects on minorities in Iraq. During the recent setback, many Christian areas have fallen under the control of the Islamic State (IS, formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS), which is known for its religious radicalism toward religious and sectarian minorities. The minorities living in these areas include various Christian communities, the Yazidis and the Shabak who are close to Shiism. Most of these minorities reside in the Ninevah plains, to the northeast of the city of Mosul. In addition, Shiite Turkmen live in the city of Tal Afar, 70 kilometers (43.5 miles) northwest of Mosul. All these minorities also have a presence in different districts of Mosul itself.

When they first controlled these areas, militants did not view minorities in a hostile way, nor did they seek to impose religious restrictions on them. Yet, it quickly turned out that the entire region was under the submission of IS, which aspires to impose its radical religious perception in the areas under its control, particularly after the announcement of the Islamic caliphate.

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