Our actions Iraq

After a first humanitarian mission to Syria in Christmas 2013, a team of volunteers flew to Iraq in April 2014 to celebrate Christ's resurrection with Iraqi Christians. In Qaraqosh, they delivered equipment essential for the survival of the local community. From this maiden voyage that brought them across Iraqi Kurdistan and the plain of Nineveh, they already grasped the importance of the presence of French young people among Christians in the Middle East.


On the night of August 6, 2014, 55,000 people fled Qaraqosh to save their lives. The Plain of Nineveh has just fallen into the hands of the Islamic state organization. In less than 72 hours, a team of SOS Chrétiens d’Orient fly to Erbil and is developing an emergency project to meet first needs of food and medical necessities. In Erbil, around 80,000 displaced Christians, deprived of their property and sometimes separated from their families, are piling up under a sun of lead, the heat sores to more than 40°C in the shade, in church halls or in public gardens, before being relocated to buildings under construction, open to the winds. The logistical problems of water and electricity supply are therefore very important. From the opening of the Ankawa camp mall, on the outskirts of Erbil, SOS Chrétiens d’Orient organizes the distribution of drinking water and food packages.

In August 2014, a permanent mission was opened in Erbil to assist the families of displaced persons and families of disadvantaged local communities.

Regarding the identified needs, three levels of action are immediately put in place.

The development of the situation is rapid, and the association is working on a wide range of emergency actions: distribution of blankets, cookers, food and clothing. To counter an extremely difficult daily life of the refugees, sports activities or cultural events are organized daily: for young people, choreography and manual activities; for teenagers, football and volleyball tournaments; for the oldest, backgammon or dominoes tournaments.


The structural projects respond to the medium-term needs of the people. Thus, the association provides a rapid response, such as the construction of a water purification system, a chicken coop, gardens, collective kitchen and so that refugees socialize.

The association also carries out long-term projects in the heart of the Christian communities in Iraq. These projects are varied. They relate to education, with school buildings (in Mangesh where 300 children are enrolled and in Erbil where 643 children are enrolled), or the organization of French language courses by volunteers. The association also provides medical facilities, rebuilds clinics and distributes medicines. Finally, SOS Chrétiens d’Orient is investing in rebuilding homes destroyed by war.


In October 2016, after more than two years, the Christian villages of the Nineveh Plain were finally released, only ghosts remain: houses were burned, bombed, devastated, churches desecrated. The walls still standing are marked with propaganda inscriptions left by ISIS.

This terrible past will never be forgotten, but today these families are looking forward to the future.


In 2018, the challenge of the mission in Iraq will be to support the return of families to their recently liberated villages. This is already underway because the mission has launched several programs for rebuilding houses in Qaraqosh and in various Christian villages in the plain of Nineveh. It was necessary to rehabilitate dwellings quickly, to re-establish water and electricity networks, to renovate each room in order to install a minimum of health. But there's still a lot to do.


Today, the future of Iraq is in your hands, but we must help Christians to turn their hopes into reality.

Click on the location points to see the activities of our different missions Iraq

Maps of the missions

The call of ruins

sos chretiens orient Iraq

The war is slowly moving away from the recent memories but another battle begins. Horror is always inscribed in red ink on the hearts of those who have suffered it. The history pages of Q...

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Current projects



The call of ruins

The war is slowly moving away from the recent memories but another battle begins. Horror is always inscribed in red ink on the hearts of those who have suffered it. The history pages of Qaraqosh, Karemless and Bartella, on the Plains of Nineveh, are written with blood. Living areas in ruins bloom like a floor of flowers. While the reconstruction of the homes of these ghost towns will take years, it is now perhaps that the Christians of the Orient can start to believe that they can again find the warmth of a home on the lands of their fathers. All of this depends on your action.


The Spring of the Sapna

The Sapna Valley, located in the north of Iraqi Kurdistan, cut into the sides of two mountain rangers, the Gara to the west and the Matina in the north, dominates the border with Turkey.

It is from Turkey that the Christians of this valley are came, when between 1895 and 1925, they had to take the path of exile to flee the Assyro-Chaldean genocide, orchestrated by Sultan Abdulhamid II; then, perpetuated by the "Young Turks" who had taken power to the head of the Ottoman Empire. This Jihad had found zealous auxiliaries among the Ottoman regiments, but also, the kurdish militias.

Today scattered in small mountain villages, these fragile Christian communities are trying to survive as they face challenges on many fronts: demographic shifts, adverse soil conditions, lack of access to water for their crops, lack of services and care, lack of economic and social perspectives, isolation and confusion in front of so much indifference.


For craftsmen of Bartella

On August 6, 2014, the town of Bartella, a nearby town of Qaraqosh, located in the heart of the Nineveh Plains, fell into the hands of the Islamic State. With it, over 80,000 people fled their native land, the cradle of Christianity.

For three years, the inhabitants of these cities are trying to survive as best they can. Some leave the country while others find refuge in Iraqi Kurdistan cities with the hope of returning to their towns and villages.

In October 2017 the miracle happens! The cities of Qaraqosh, Karamles and Bartella are released by Iraqi liberation forces supported by the coalition. Arriving at the scene, the Iraqis, although happy to find their homes, their life before, can only see with horror the damage caused by war.

Everything needs to be rebuilt... but it is impossible for the families that have only ruins to return to and what hope do they have to rebuild without money. In the absence of access to state loans or banks, these populations, although filled with hope, are at a standstill.


Support isolated families

Since 6 August 2014, tens of thousands of families had taken refuge in Erbil, in Kurdistan, to escape the horror of war. For 3 years, volunteers from SOS Chrétiens d’Orient have visited more than 8 000 homes in Iraq, providing them with material assistance and a benevolent presence.

Since the liberation of the Christian villages of the Nineveh plains, many families have returned home, but many are still waiting. That is why our action must continue day after day.


Operation renaissance of Nineveh

In August 2014, the Nineveh plain fell into the hands of the Islamic state causing a massive exodus of Christians to Iraqi Kurdistan. SOS Chrétiens d’Orient is present with 120,000 Christians displaced in this region since July 2014.

In 2017, Iraqi and Kurdish forces supported by the international coalition liberated the villages in the Nineveh plains. Many houses, shops and lands are completely destroyed or ravaged by the violence of the Islamic State.


Economic development in Teleskuf

Teleskuf, located at 30 km away from Mosul, suffered heavy damage in 2014 after Daesh went through it. The stigma of terrorist horror is still on the streets, but life is getting better now. Families have returned home to rebuild their city. They have strong commitment. However, they need your help to revive economic activity.