KRG aids Iraqi Christians, PM says

ERBIL, Iraq, Nov. 5 (UPI) — The Christian community in Iraq is witnessing an unfortunate moment in history and Kurdish authorities vow to secure their interests, officials said.
Nechirvan Barzani, the prime minister of Iraqi Kurdistan, said in an interview published Wednesday by the Kurdistan Regional Government that regional authorities were providing assistance to Christians who have been the victims of targeted attacks in recent months.

The United Nations estimates nearly half of the Christian population, around 13,000 people, have fled their homes in northern Iraq as a result of death threats and other aggressions. Christian refugees in Syria say gunmen dressed in police uniforms are targeting their community after checking national identification cards at security points.

Barzani said his government has allocated a little over $200 to each Christian family, while Baghdad looks for a permanent solution to the security situation in the north.

“We consider it a political and moral obligation to assist these displaced families and to work with the federal government to end terrorism against the Christian community,” he said.

He denied allegations Kurdish interests were behind the attacks in an effort to influence regional demographics in light of a quota system established under the provincial elections law in Iraq. He instead pointed to militant groups, such as Ansar al-Sunna, as the perpetrators of the violence.

“Those wishing to lay the blame for these incidents on our doorstep are enemies of democracy, enemies of a federal Iraq,” he said.

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