Researchers at the Arab Centre for Research and Policy Studies have called for a "safe zone" to be set up for Christians in Iraq, Arab48 has reported.
Speaking at a conference on Christian Arabs in the Greater Arab Mashreq, Yahya Al-Kubaisi said that the number of religious and ethnic minorities in Iraq, in particular the Christians, have become the subject of a political dispute.
In 1957 there were 206,000 Christians in Iraq, compared to 256,000 in 1977.
Based on this growth rate, the researcher said, the number of Christians in 2003, when the US invasion took place, should have been higher than 600,000.
These numbers, he said, prove it's implausible that hundreds of thousands of Christian Iraqis are leaving and that these numbers have been exaggerated by governments and global aid agencies across the world, suggesting they had a vested interest in doing so.
Researcher Said Salloum called for setting up a "safe zone" for Christians in Iraq based on the deteriorating security situation; though this idea has caused controversy among Iraqi political groups and Christians in the past it is becoming more popular.
Recently, Daesh has heightened the threat of physical violence against Christian communities in Nineveh, a city just outside Mosul.