63 Iraqi Christian families to return home from Lebanon: militia

Iraqis attend the first Palm Sunday procession in the burnt out main church of the Christian city of Qaraqosh since Iraqi forces retook it from Islamic States militants, Iraq April 9, 2017. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

Baghdad ( Sixty-three Iraqi Christian families seeking refuge in Lebanon will return home soon, said a Christian militia assuming protection for the community from Islamic State militants.

Babylon Brigades said in a statement on Friday those are part of 1800 families residing in Lebanon who are planned to return home gradually. It did not, however, mention a timetable for the process.

It said its leader, Rayyan al-Kildani, arrived in Beirut Friday to follow up on the Christian refugees. It quoted him saying Iraqi consular officials had not been very cooperative in facilitating the repatriation.

Iraq’s war against Islamic State militants, who emerged in 2014 to proclaim an “Islamic Caliphate” in Iraq and Syria, has displaced more than four million people in and outside Iraq. The war in IS’s main stronghold, Mosul, has displaced 800.000 since the start of military operations to retake the city in October, according to the Iraqi migration ministry’s latest count.

Islamic State has targeted Iraqi civilians trying to flee its domains, and has executed hundreds for violating its extreme religious rules.



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