Estimates from authorities said 3,000 Christian families have returned to their homes, a small number compared to the 120,000 Christians who have fled this region since 2014.
Most of these Iraqi Christians have made new lives for themselves in Kurdistan, on the Turkish border, and they balk at the idea of going back. At the end of July 2017, the Iraqi Ministry for Migration and Internal Mobility announced that over 250,000 people from the region had returned to their homes, but few of them are Christians.
It must be said that “there remain open wounds”, as FSSPX.News recalled on July 27, 2017. There were many betrayals and collaborations between former neighbors and the Islamic State to hurt the Christians. That is why “fear of one’s neighbors has developed and trust has been broken”, which makes it “difficult to return to normal mutual relations”. Patriarch Louis Raphaël Sako, of the Chaldean Catholic Church, explained in the columns of La Vie on July 25, 2017:
...the churches have almost all been destroyed: stones have been taken, the doors and roofs are pierced… An extraordinary disorder reigns. One can almost feel the sacrilege, one feels how deep a hatred there was for all things Christian (…).
After the Nineveh Plains were invaded by the Islamic State militia in June 2014, three million people fled their homes. The Iraqi government has declared its intention of bringing over a million refugees home to Mosul, the region’s capital, before the end of the year.