Washington, DC– In Defense of Christians (IDC) calls upon the Trump administration to designate a Nineveh Province Safe Zone to protect the religious and ethnic minorities of the region who have suffered genocide, including Yazidis, Christians, and Turkmen.  The safe zone would include Tal Afar, Sinjar, and the Nineveh Plain.

President Trump has said that he will take steps to protect Christians in the Middle East.  This can begin with the creation of a safe zone in Nineveh Province to help those persecuted religious minority communities to rebuild their lives.  The Christians, Yazidis, and Turkmen are the natural allies of the U.S.  Protecting these communities is not only in U.S. national security interests, and it is also consistent with the values of the American people.

Several months ago, as displaced Yazidis and Christians returned to their homes after ISIS was driven back toward Mosul, they found their homes destroyed and their churches desecrated – such was the ISIS commitment to drive Christians and others from the region forever.  The U.S. and its allies should not permit ISIS to complete its genocide, driving Christians and others out of the region permanently.

Christians, Yazidis, and others in northern Iraq have been long-standing reliable allies to the U.S., including in the struggle against ISIS.  There have been no U.S. casualties in Iraq since 2003 at the hands of Yazidis, Christians, or Turkmen.  These communities simply want to survive in their ancestral homelands.

IDC joins those in Iraq, including Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi, who said of his country in 2015, “If we don’t decentralize, the country will disintegrate.” A Nineveh Province safe zone will help this vision – decentralization without disintegration – to be realized.

IDC also supports the creation of safe zones in Syria.  This will do much to help the Muslim victims of that conflict.  IDC has been at the forefront of support for this effort to aid Muslims.  We also ask for the same protection for the indigenous ethnic and religious minority communities of the Nineveh Province region of northern Iraq.

IDC believes that a safe zone in northern Iraq to protect Christians, Yazidis, and Turkmen can be achieved through a multinational force, beginning with coalition troops already in the region.  There are precedents for such interventions by the U.S. and its allies, which should be used as models to protect these ethnic and religious minorities in Iraq who have been the victims of genocide.

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