Middle EastIslamic State evicts Iraq farmersThe group’s takeover of farms in Qaraqosh, 30km from Mosul, has caused fear among residents, and a jump in food prices.Sophie Cousins Last updated: 29 Jul 2014 08:18Email ArticlePrint ArticleShare articleSend FeedbackIraqi farmer Tawfiq Abbosh Jubbo Sakat says Islamic State fighters stole all his cows [Sophie Cousins/Al Jazeera]Qaraqosh, Iraq – In the dark of night, on a farm about 30km southeast of Iraq’s second largest city, Mosul, Sabah Zura Sukkariyya woke to the sound of a truckload of gunmen arriving on his property.It was late June and the air was stagnant, still hot from the blistering sun earlier in the day. “They didn’t talk to me or my family. They didn’t tell us anything, they just took over my farm,” the balding man with a thick moustache told Al Jazeera.Check out our complete coverage of the crisis in Iraq”It was Daesh [the Islamic State group],” Sukkariyya recalled. “They stayed on my farm and ate our food and everything we had. They hit my kids and the rest of my family. They took everything from my warehouse and took it to other Islamic State members.”Sukkariyya didn’t know what to do. The Islamic State group, which had captured the city of Mosul on June 10, was now on his farm and the family had nowhere to flee. After being forced to stay there for a few days, the family was finally able to leave when the fighters guarding them were in-between shifts.”I fled with my wife and children and we hurried into town. We walked 5 kilometres at sunset in 50C heat,” he said.RELATED: Iraq’s Christians get Islamic State’s warningSix days after the fall of Mosul, rumours spread that Islamic State fighters would continue their advance and capture Qaraqosh, a traditionally Christian town, also known as al-Hamdaniya. The Islamic State launched mortar attacks into Qaraqosh, forcing nearly all of the city’s 50,000 residents to flee to Erbil, the capital of Iraq’s Kurdish region. Many residents also fled to Dohuk.The Syrian Catholic Archbishop of Mosul, Yohanna Petros Mouche, was one of the few who stayed behind in Qaraqosh. He told Al Jazeera that he refused to leave the city no matter what. “I stayed [in] Qaraqosh with a few other people when everybody left,” he said, adding that without the presence of Kurdish Peshmerga forces, the city would likely have been destroyed.
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