Two nuns and three other Assyrians kidnapped in Iraq three weeks ago have been released.
Reportedly, the five kidnap victims were released without the payment of a ransom and are in Dohuk, Iraq.
Sister Miskintah, Sister Utoor Joseph, Hala Salim, Sarah Khoshaba, and Aram Sabah had not been heard from since they returned to Mosul to check on an abandoned orphanage on June 28. The Nineveh Province capital fell to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) terrorist group weeks ago.
The Chaldean nuns ran the all-girl orphanage near Miskintah Church in Khazraj, Mosul. The women and children escaped to Dohuk when ISIS ravaged the city, but five of them returned to Mosul, where they were last seen.
The Assyrian media reported that the women had possibly been kidnapped by ISIS.
The Sunni Muslim extremists have persecuted, raped and killed Christians and Shiite Muslims across Iraq and Syria. Churches and Shiite shrines have been bombed, and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have fled the area because of the violence.
The Patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church, Louis Raphael Sako of Baghdad, Archbishop Yohanna Petros Mouche of Mosul, and Bishop Youssif Mirkis of Kirkuk convened on July 9 to discuss how to stop the persecution of Christians at the hand of ISIS. The meetings were held in Belgium and organised by Aid to the Church in Need, a Catholic charity.
Sako said that if something is not done soon, the area's Christians will be wiped out.
"The next days will be very bad. If the situation does not change, Christians will be left with just a symbolic presence in Iraq," he said during the convention. "If they leave, their history is finished."
The meeting was encouraging for the persecuted Iraqis to see, but Mirkis said that they need results.
"Our presence was a symbol of peace, but there's so much panic, and few Christians see their future in Iraq," he told the other attendees.
ISIS controls the Iraqi cities of Mosul, Baiji, and Fallujah, as well as parts of Syria. The group has also posted photos and videos online showing Iraqi policeman and civilians being slaughtered.
The United Nations reported that over 2,400 people were killed in Iraq last month.