History and Geography
Chapter 9 The Twenty-First Century around the World. The Diaspora
The Twenty-First Century around the World. The Diaspora
After the political events of the twentieth century that once again affected the history of the Church of the East so dramatically, the Assyrians in the Middle East were to be found principally in two countries, Iraq and Syria. From the 1980s the Christians, among them the Assyrians, started to leave Iraq as a result of a succession of wars: the Iran-Iraq war (1980–8), the Anfal campaign (1988) and the First Gulf War (1990–1). The pressures to emigrate have continued as a result of recent developments in the political situation of the Middle East, from the invasion of Iraq by the United States in 2003 and the attacks of Islamic State (IS) until the latter’s fall, in Iraq in December 2017 and in Syria in March 2019.
Since the beginning of the twenty-first century the wars that have raged in the Middle East have affected Christians as a whole, whose numbers have been drastically reduced. In Iraq they were about 1.5 million (3% of the population) before the First Gulf War in 1991. Now their number is estimated to be less than 300,000. In Syria, before 2011, Christians represented at most from 8 to 10% of the population (about 1.6–2 million). There are no reliable statistics for 2019, but an optimistic estimate is that their present number does not exceed one million. This drastic demographic decline has of course affected...
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