From one day to another they became refugees. The Iraqi region of Kurdistan has been welcoming minorities who lost it all amid violence and persecution.
They were able to escape from extremists who want to impose an Islamic State at all costs. They're considered part of the lucky ones who survived, but it's hard to escape that dark chapter.
"Families with children and babies are still out in the mountains. They were planning on staying four days, but there was nothing to eat, just wheat from the fields. We have to save them. We're fine here. We don't need anything. But for God's sake, let's bring them back. We're willing to die here, as long as they're safe.”
Radical Islamists gave an ultimatum to ethnic and religious minorities: Convert to Islam, pay a tax or die. In a matter of hours, thousands of people fled from Mosul, where for centuries religious co-existance was a reality.
In Erbil, refugees have also been welcomed in churches like this one. Here a combination of prayer, fatigue and helplessness are part of every day life.
"Our area was affected by the violence. In fact I saw three people die. We are their targets and we can't take it anymore. We don't want to die, we want to live. We have rights and we don't want them to take our land away. But it's what's happening.”
"I still have family members trapped up there. But the question is why? Why can't we find a solution. My relatives are there, waiting and trapped. What did we do to deserve this? They were threatened and told they needed to surrender or convert to Islam.”
Christians, Yazidis and other minorities continue to be targeted by Islamic extremists.