Monday, 3 April 2017

VIDEO: Christians in Mosul fear violence will continue after reconstruction

Christians in Mosul fear violence will continue after reconstruction

April 2, 2017 (CGTN)

Coalition forces have nearly seized the al-Nuri mosque, the site where ISIL leader al-Baghdadi proclaimed a caliphate nearly three years ago. 
CGTN’s Tony Cheng reports from Mosul.

Electricians started rewiring the town of Qaraqosh. This are the first signs of reconstruction since ISIL fighters were forced out in December last year. Even so, the services will be of little benefit to the majority Christian community. Most of the inhabitants fled to Erbil, and remain there. The Sunday services have become almost exclusively residents of Qaraqosh. Christians were a target for ISIL during their occupation. The scars of the occupation are everywhere. Businesses and homes were ransacked or destroyed. The Church of the Immaculate Conception was torched, then turned into a training center for ISIL fighters.

The thick walls were almost obliterated by bullet holes. A pile of ash in the courtyard  are the only remains of a library of rare Christian texts. The next village along the road to Mosul is under control of a Shia militia, unlike Mosul itself which is majority Sunni. Sectarian tensions stoked by ISIL could explode once they’re gone. As Iraqi forces have moved inside the city of Mosul, the government has tried to ensure that it’s only government troops and police who lead the charge. Much of the territory around the city is in the hands of Shia Militia. There are fears that, after the defeat of ISIL, there could be Sectarian violence.

That could leave the Christians stranded in Iraq’s complicated sectarian landscape, ­isolated and without friends. For now, the Church of the Immaculate Conception remains a burnt-out shell, waiting for the day its congregation is confident enough to return.

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