Ankawa is an Assyrian Christian town in Iraqi Kurdistan, about 5 km north of Erbil. The town houses many Christians displaced from elsewhere in Iraq, where sectarian tensions have reduced the Christian population from 1.5 million before the U.S. led invasion in 2003 to below 400,000 at the beginning of 2014. Events since 2014 have further accelerated this flight from Iraq.
Iraq’s Aramaic speaking Christian communities are believed to be among the oldest in the world. They survived under successive Parthian, Sassanid, Arab, Mongol and Ottoman rulers, and their presence was once a sign of Iraq’s ethnic and religious diversity.