cross and cloudsWritten by Don Byrd

[UPDATE 2: The Washington Post reports that the President has approved humanitarian air drops in an effort to save the minority religion Iraqis stranded on a mountaintop after being forced to flee their homes. Meanwhile, the Pentagon is denying reports that the U.S. is responsible for air strikes targeting the militant extremists of ISIS who have trapped them.]

[UPDATE: A NYTimes report this afternoon suggests President Obama is considering humanitarian aid and/or airstrikes to specifically address the crisis of stranded minority groups on Mount Sinjar referenced below. Stay tuned.]

The threat to religious minorities, including Christians, in Iraq continues to grow. A Wall Street Journal report today indicates that 4 towns near the Kurdish region of Northern Iraq were seized overnight, prompting tens of thousands of Christians to flee.

The Islamic State’s capture of Qara Qosh puts the group less than 40 miles from the province of Erbil, where the capital of the Kurdistan Regional Government is located. . . .

For residents of the city of Erbil, the flood of people into the Kurdish region and fears of the jihadists’ advance over the past few days has stirred widespread panic. People stocked up on essentials at supermarkets and tried to book flights out of the area, but many were already overbooked, residents said.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports that thousands of Iraqi Yazidis – a minority sect forced to flee Sinjar – are trapped on a mountaintop, surrounded by Sunni extremists.

Pope Francis has called on the international community to act.