Iraq Devastation

People flee the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul, Iraq Dec. 2. (CNS photo/Mohammed Salem, Reuters)

The Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignace Joseph III Younan said he was horrified to see widespread devastation and what he called “ghost towns” during a recent visit to northern Iraq. He said by email that there was little left in some of the communities that he toured on Nov. 27-29 and that “the emptiness of the streets except for military people...the devastation and burned-out houses and churches” was shocking. About 100,000 Christians—among them more than 60,000 Syriac Catholics—were expelled from the Nineveh Plain by the Islamic State group in the summer of 2014 as the militants campaigned to expand their reach into Iraq. The patriarch met with the faith community, religious leaders and nongovernmental organizations to discuss the future of Christianity in northern Iraq. Based on “what happened in recent times,” the patriarch noted, “it was the overall opinion that none would dare to return, rebuild and stay in the homeland, unless a safe zone for the Christian communities in the Plain of Nineveh is guaranteed.”

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.


Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

Personnel in hazmat suits work to secure a tent over the bench in Salisbury where former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found critically ill by exposure to a nerve agent on March 4. (Andrew Matthews/PA via AP)
The nerve-agent attack on two Russians in the cathedral city of Salisbury has Britons feeling as though they are back in the pages of a James Bond novel.
David StewartMarch 22, 2018
California, it is argued, cannot be permitted to enforce this law, which levies fines for noncompliance, against centers whose “sole mission is encouraging expectant mothers to give their children the opportunity for life.”
Ellen K. BoegelMarch 22, 2018
If we have run, if we have been exposed for all the world to see, it is not our failure that matters most. It is Christ’s strength.
Terrance KleinMarch 21, 2018
A young girl sitting next to Pope Francis smiles during an audience with Special Olympics athletes participating in the Unified Football tournament, at the Vatican Oct. 13. (CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano)
“Maybe one day we will live in a world without disabilities. Wouldn’t that be perfect for modern-day Hitlers?”
Angelo Jesus CantaMarch 21, 2018