The United Nations refugee agency says it is helping thousands of Iraqi Christians seeking refuge in northern Iraq and Syria.
spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said Friday most
of the Christians who have fled persecution in Mosul in the past two
weeks have settled in villages elsewhere in Ninewa province. But the
official, Ron Redmond, speaking in Geneva, added that about 400 others
have crossed into Syria.
The spokesman said it is not clear who
is behind the violence that has forced some 13,000 people, half of
Mosul's Christian population, to leave the city.
Several Christians have been killed, while many others have received death threats.
has been down throughout the country in recent months, but U.S. and
other officials have warned it could rise as Iraq prepares for
elections early next year.
Also Friday, the U.S. military said
coalition forces have detained eight suspected insurgents during two
days of operations in central Iraq.
The military says coalition
troops seized three suspects today in a raid on an al-Qaida in Iraq car
bombing network outside Fallujah. It says at least one of the men is a
suspected car bomb facilitator with ties to other militants in the
A military statement says coalition troops detained
three other people in a separate operation in the same area. It says
its forces seized two suspects in a similar operation Thursday in the
On the diplomatic front, the interior
ministers of Iraq's neighboring countries Thursday pledged their
support for Iraq's stability and security.
Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, and Egypt, meeting in the
Jordanian capital Amman, agreed to cooperate in helping Iraq eliminate
Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.