BEIRUT

Middle East

France calls for Security Council meeting on Iraq

Iraqis displaced by ongoing conflict in nearby areas arrive in the northern Kurdish controlled Iraqi city of Kirkuk August 7, 2014. (AFP Photo/Marwan Ibrahim)

PARIS: French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius called Thursday for an urgent meeting of the U.N. Security Council after Islamist militants seized Iraq's largest Christian town, forcing tens of thousands to flee.

"France is very deeply concerned by the latest advances of (Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) militants) in the north of Iraq and the taking of Qaraqosh, the biggest Christian city in Iraq, as well as by the intolerable abuses that were committed," Fabius said in a statement.

"Given the seriousness of the situation - the first victims of which are civilians and religious minorities - France is requesting an urgent meeting of the Security Council so the international community can mobilize to counter the terrorist threat in Iraq and support and protect the population at risk," Fabius said in a statement.

ISIS, which proclaimed a "caliphate" straddling Syria and Iraq in late June, moved into Qaraqosh and other towns overnight after the withdrawal of Kurdish peshmerga troops, residents said.

Religious leaders said ISIS militants have forced 100,000 Christians to flee and have occupied churches, removing crosses and destroying manuscripts.

 

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