(AINA) -- More than 200 Assyrian families fled in panic from Mosul on July 17 and 18 as the ISIS deadline for converting to Islam approached (AINA 2014-07-20). ISIS had issued a statement asking all Christians in Mosul to convert to Islam, pay the jizya, the poll tax on Christians, or face the sword. ISIS gave July 19 as the deadline to comply with its demands. Most Assyrians of Mosul responded by fleeing the city.
ISIS setup checkpoints at the Araby and Shallalat neighborhoods (AlSada and Biawaizah) and robbed and plundered Assyrians who were fleeing the city. ISIS took money from the Assyrians, as well as cars, cell phones, food, money, gold, including fake jewelry, electronic items and even medicines.
Over 85 families who had fled Baghdede (Qarawosh/Hamdaniya) reported being robbed of all of their possessions.
The fleeing Assyrians were terrified and feared for their lives. They made it safely to Dohuk (Assyrian Noohadra), where they joined thousands of other Assyrians who had fled earlier fro Mosul.
Hundred of Assyrians were forced to walk 70 kilometers (42 miles) to Tel Afar at night from Mosul after ISIS confiscated their automobiles. They carried children on their backs and arrived exhausted and dehydrated.
AINA has learned that nearly 15 Assyrian families have converted to Islam to avoid losing their life and wealth. In one instance, a young Assyrian women fled from her family who had converted, saying she did not want to become a Muslim. She is in safe hiding in North Iraq.