The Islamic State (IS) group captured Qaraqosh on Wednesday night which forced thousands of Christians to move from move from the Iraq’s largest Christian town.
Jihadists came in overnight to assert several Christian towns, forcing tens of thousands of people to escape, having send back Kurdish peshmerga troops, who are stretched thin across several fronts in Iraq.
Eyewitnesses in Qaraqosh said ISI militants were bringing down churches and were putting manuscripts on fire.
An international Christian organisation said at least a quarter of Iraq’s Christians were leaving Qaraqosh and other surrounding towns.
IS has seized large parts of Iraq and Syria to create an Islamic caliphate.
Kurdish forces, known as the Peshmerga, have been fighting the Sunni militants in the Iraq.
The Islamic State mainly targets Iraq’s majority Shi’ites and minorities such as Christians and Yazidis as infidels.
The militant group said in a statement on Twitter that its fighters had seized 15 towns, the strategic Mosul dam on the Tigris River and a military base in an offensive that began at the weekend and would continue.
The mainly Christian town of Tilkaif, as well as Al Kwair, were swamped by militants, according to witnesses. The Islamic State poses the biggest threat to Iraq’s veracity since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003
Last month, thousand of Christian families left Mosul after the Islamist militants gave them a warning to convert to Islam or face death.