06/10/2021 Iraq (International Christian Concern) – June 10, 2014, was a heavy day for Iraq when Mosul fell to ISIS after four days of intense clashes with the Iraqi military. For three long years, ISIS militants operated out of the city. After Mosul’s liberation, the international community was mobilized “to not only embrace this city but to show the world that a people inextricably linked to more than 2000 years of history can never be defeated,” as UNESCO said.
The war against ISIS decimated the historical city where many Christians once resided. In the aftermath, architectural landmarks are being restored, along with efforts to rebuild the cities heritage, education, and cultural life. Efforts to eradicate ISIS continue as well. Perhaps the most wanted female ISIS terrorist was arrested in Mosul in early June, according to Iraqi military intelligence. The woman played a prominent role in delivering funds to sleeper cells. Twelve terrorists were arrested across Nineveh recently as well.
And yet, many buildings remain in ruins. As efforts to clean up Mosul and restore the city are initiated, bodies are found among the rubble from ISIS fighters and civilians. Four historic churches in Mosul sit together in a small space known as “Church Square”. During his March trip, Pope Francis visited the churches, all of which remain damaged or destroyed. They were utilized under ISIS to run its administrative needs, as well as a jail and a court.
The rebuilding effort needs are vast. The infrastructure to encourage the return of Christians who fled their homeland is lacking. The reconstruction costs are high, estimated at $88 billion USD, and Iraq continues to face governmental and economic crises country-wide, making it difficult to focus on the restoration of Mosul. Progress continues to be made, albeit slowly.
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