Nineveh (IraqiNews.com) The number of Christian families repatriated since the recapture of Nineveh province from Islamic State militants has reached nearly 3000, a local official was quoted saying Sunday.
The regions of Hamadaniyah and Tel Saqf have seen the highest number of returnees since the Iraqi government declared late August the retaking of Tal Afar, IS militants’ last stronghold in the province, according to Dureid Hekmat, Nineveh governor’s advisor for Christian affairs.
Other regions like Bashiqa and Bartella are seeing a slower rate of repatriation, said the official in statements quoted by the National News Center, an Iraqi website.
Eastern Mosul alone saw 500 families coming back home, said Hekmat, predicting more to return if basic services are restored faster.
Iraq’s war against the Islamic State has displaced nearly three million people since 2014 when the militants emerged to proclaim a self-styled Islamic “caliphate” in Iraq and Syria.
Iraqi authorities have spelled out intentions to repatriate more than one million displaced by anti-IS operations in Mosul before the end of 2017.
Islamic State militants have enslaved thousands of civilians and killed many others for fleeing their havens, collaborating with security forces and for holding opposite religious beliefs.
The Iraqi government intends to aim at other IS havens in Kirkuk, Anbar and Salahuddin.