PM Barzani calls for urgent assistance to displaced Christians
ISIS told Christians they must convert to Islam, pay special tax or leave Mosul. If they did not, there would be nothing for them but the sword
A statement issued by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) was read out at the city's mosques.
It called on Christians to comply by midday on Saturday or face death if they did not leave the northern city.
ISIS has control of large parts of Syria and Iraq and said last month it was creating an Islamic caliphate.
The ultimatum cited a historic contract known as "dhimma," under which non-Muslims in Islamic societies who refuse to convert are offered protection if they pay a fee, called a "jizya".
"We offer them three choices: Islam; the dhimma contract - involving payment of jizya; if they refuse this they will have nothing but the sword," the ISIS statement said.
Most of the Christian families started leaving their homes and took their way to Kurdistan Region especially Duhok and Erbil.
After the event, the Kurdish Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani, in a statement, asked the international community to assist the refugees.
ISIS issued a similar ultimatum in the Syrian city of Raqqa in February, calling on Christians to pay about half an ounce (14g) of pure gold in exchange for their safety.
Since 2003, when Saddam Hussein was ousted, Mosul’s Christians, one of the oldest communities of its kind in the world, had seen their numbers dwindle from over 30,000 to just a few thousand, but once ISIS swept into the city in early June, there were reports that the remaining Christians had fled.
Christians are among several minorities who are being systematically expelled or killed by ISIS, according to a United Nations report on civilian casualties in Iraq released on Friday.