10 years after Mosul's capture by ISIS, Christians still need support

Mosul is being slowly rebuilt.(Photo: Levi Meir Clancy)

Christians in Mosul are marking 10 years since ISIS seized control of the city and surrounding Nineveh Plains, causing thousands to flee in fear.

Over 13,000 Christian families fled to Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region rather than stay and face the brutality of ISIS, says Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil. Mosul was finally liberated in 2017 after a fierce battle which left much of the city in ruins.

In the 10 years since ISIS swept in, around 9,000 families have now returned to the Nineveh Plains thanks to international aid that has made the reconstruction of their homes possible, the Archbishop told Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).

"Churches are being filled again," he said, and "so many children" are preparing for their first Holy Communion.

"All those sad and terrifying memories are still there, but at least [the Christian families] could start building and showing that the future is in [their] hands," he said.

Despite this progress, "the pressure of being a minority is real" and many Christians have either left Iraq or are planning to leave. The young especially need help to find work. They "ask for jobs, not just to receive donations," he said.

"I ask my people just to be patient and persevere," he said, adding that he would like to see the UK government remind Iraqi politicians that they "care about the minorities – Christians, Yazidis and the rest".

International Christian Concern (ICC) said that there are only around 50 Christian families living in the city of Mosul today.

An ICC staffer said that Christians had an important role to play in re-building Mosul.

"The city is in great need of Christians to come and help rebuild the city and seek the peace of the broader Nineveh region," they said.

"The city is ready for new beginnings, and Christians have an opportunity to do that with a greater sense of freedom and security than has been possible for more than two decades."