Iraq, Syria Crisis: Samaritan's Purse to Airlift 90 Tons of Aid to Iraqis, Syrians Displaced by ISIS

( [email protected] ) Oct 10, 2014 11:30 AM EDT
Samaritan's Purse is providing tents for families fleeing from Islamic militants. (Samaritan's Purse)

Christian humanitarian Samaritan's Purse announced Thursday it will be airlifting close to 90 tons of aid to thousands of Iraqi and Syrian families who have been displaced by the Islamic State terrorist group.

In a recent press release, the group said that it is launching the airlift with relief supplies on Monday, and will send aid packages to families who have been left with nothing as ISIS continues to invade large portions of Iraq and Syria.

"Now winter is coming to the area, making a difficult situation even worse for these families," the group said.

"The airlift will bring critical supplies to the region, including winter coats for children, blankets, warm socks, sleeping bags and shelter materials."

In an attempt to establish a worldwide caliphate, ISIS is targeting Christians and other religious minorities, including moderate Muslims and Yazidis, often giving them an ultimatum: convert to Islam, or die.

"This is a grief stricken, terrorized nation right now," explained Sean Malone, director of Crisis Response International, a nonprofit group that works to provide aid to displaced Iraqis.

"These families are forced to evacuate their cities and flee to a camp, and then camp is sieged and must be evacuated, and then they are forced to head to the mountains-- and then they're surrounded by ISIS. It's like being a hunted species, it's absolutely horrific."

Another Christian humanitarian group working in the region, Open Doors, stated that a lack of concern for such minorities by the international community has helped feed the rise of ISIS.

"I think you're seeing the rise of ISIS because of a lack of attention to the freedom of expression within the Middle East. You have extremist groups within Islam, like ISIS. It's not true of every person who is Islamic. But there are extremist groups like this who want to force people to convert to Islam at the point of a gun," David Curry, the CEO and president of Open Doors USA, told The Christian Post in an interview in September.

"Unless we understand that threat, not just to Christians in the region but to people worldwide, we're not going to respond properly. I think it has risen because of a lack of attention and a lack of concern for Christians and other minority groups."

Samaritan's Purse, which is headed by evangelist Franklin Graham, has helped religious minorities suffering at the hands of ISIS since early August.

"One of our first actions was to set up 200 tents as temporary shelter in Erbil for some of those fleeing the Christian town of Qaraqosh," the group noted, and said that it helps people from Christian, Muslim, Yazidi, and other backgrounds.