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Archbishop Bashar Warda (ACN)

Chaldean Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil in Iraq says about 9,000 Christian families have returned to their homes on the Nineveh Plains after fleeing a decade ago, when ISIS took the region. Source: Crux.

In June 2014, the Islamist extremist group captured Mosul and the villages to the north and east of the city, prompting a mass exodus of Christians and Yazidis.

Speaking to Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), Archbishop Warda noted the occupation of Mosul left other Christians on the Nineveh Plains vulnerable, and on August 6, 2014, prompted by further ISIS aggression, the entire Christian population fled to Iraqi Kurdistan.

The archbishop told ACN that 13,200 Christian families had fled to his archdiocese in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region.

He said he was grateful to the international community for providing emergency aid and helping to rebuild the destroyed villages, making it possible for thousands of Christian families to return to their native land, with “everyone working towards one goal”.

“All those sad and terrifying memories are still there, but at least (the Christian families) can start building and see that the future is in (their) hands,” he told the Catholic aid agency.

The archbishop said the “churches were filled again” and many children were receiving catechesis and preparing for their First Holy Communion.

He said that his community needs all the help it can get to “keep the flame of the Christian faith shining” in Iraq’s historic Christian heartland.

“I ask my people just to be patient and persevere.”

The international community should not forget Iraq’s suffering Christians “in the midst of so many crises around the world”, he urged.

The archbishop said that he “would love to see” the UK government and other world leaders remind Iraqi politicians that they “care about the minorities – Christians, Yazidis, and the rest”.


Mosul Christians still suffering 10 years after ISIS occupation (Crux)