Mosul (AINA) -- ISIS began looting Assyrian homes in Mosul yesterday in the neighborhoods of Jamiaa, Muhandiseen, Thaqafa, Noor, and Zuhoor. The homes had been previously marked with "property of the Islamic State" and the Arabic letter noon (meaning Christian) and had their doors locked with chains.
Witnesses report that ISIS entered the Cathedral of St. Ephrem in the Shurta neighborhood and destroyed a cross made with red glass; it also hung a huge black flag of the Islamic State on the wall of the building to cover a large cross on the facade of the cathedral. The cathedral is now being used as headquarters for ISIS.
ISIS was helped by members of its own police force, which it has created by recruiting young Muslims from the neighborhoods of Hathar, Qayyarah, Shirqat, Baaj, and Rabia, and paying each one 500,000 Iraqi diners per month.
ISIS entered the Syriac Catholic Diocese and smashed icons and statues of the Virgin Mary, and set fire to pictures of patriarchs and bishops.
The number of Assyrian families remaining in Mosul is estimated at 25.
Commerce in Mosul has come to a near complete halt and most markets are closed.
Yesterday the the Iraqi government dropped leaflets over Mosul, encouraging residents to help the Iraqi army and stand up against ISIS (AINA 2014-08-21). The reaction from the residents to the leaflets has been positive.
ankawa.com contributed to this report.