ASIA/IRAQ - The "return" of Christians in the Nineveh Plain remains uncertain

Tuesday, 29 January 2019 middle east   oriental churches   jihadists   refugees   geopolitics   paramilitary groups  


Erbil (Agenzia Fides) - 85 percent of the population who fled from the Nineveh Plain when that territory was conquered by the jihadists of the "Islamic State" (Daesh) is not yet ready to return to their region of origin, despite the area is no longer in the hands of jihadists. This is what, on Monday, January 28, Dindar Zebari, coordinator for international aid of the Government of the Autonomous Region of Iraqi Kurdistan, said. The representative of the regional government highlighted that some areas of the Plain, such as those of Telkaif and Hamdaniya, have become militarized areas in the hands of local militias. Among the reasons that make the return of Christians to Mosul and Nineveh Plain more and more uncertain is the fear that their families are not adequately protected from violence and retaliation, the lack of work, the disarticulation of infrastructure, the non-reassuring presence of autonomous armed formations, organized on a sectarian basis. "In many cases", added Zebari, "lands belonging to Christian or Yazidi owners have been confiscated to alter the demographic balance of the area".
On Saturday, January 26, Mar Nicodemus Daoud Sharaf, Syrian Orthodox Archbishop of Mosul and Kirkuk called into question the responsibilities of the federal government of Baghdad regarding the process of reconstruction and repopulation of Mosul and of the scattered centers in the Nineveh Plain. The clergyman denounced the lack of reconstruction of the many churches destroyed or devastated during the period of jihadist domination, indicating the "corruption" of the political apparatus as a key factor to understand the inability to support the return of refugees. (GV) Agenzia Fides, 29/1/2019)