Civilians have not returned home to begin the rebuilding process as of yet, leaving the northern Iraqi Christian city of Qaraqosh a ghost town.
READ: Humanitarian Official Inside West Mosul: ‘We Haven’t Seen This Type of Warfare in Decades’
In 2014 CNN reported that ISIS took over the city and caused thousands of people to rapidly flee from the area.
Now two years later, a new report by BBC said, the town that once had 50,000 inhabitants is now primarily filled with empty buildings and streets.
A BBC video released at the beginning of this month said, citizens populating the predominately Christian area fled when the terrorist came in. But when parts of Qaraqosh were liberated in October of 2016 by national military forces it seemed like that would be enough to encourage people to come back.
Unfortunately, many residents decided not to do so. The Telegraph UK reported last month that,”only a handful of its former residents have since moved back.”
Former resident, Tawfik Sakr shared in a BBC video, “we were really happy when we heard that our cities had been liberated. But when we came to our home and our church, we were surprised and in shock.” Sakr is a member of the St Mary Al-Tahira, the BBC categorizes it as the largest church in the Middle Eastern country of Iraq.”
Two Iraqi nationals that got married at St Mary Al-Tahira went back to visit after it was liberated. In the video, Wathiq and Nazi sat in their old church. As of now it appears to be in bad shape.
Nazi said to the BBC, “Christians in this country need international protection and things need to be put back the way they were.”
BBC Diplomatic correspondent, Paul Adams said, “It seems the (ISIS) fighters made plenty of use of this place. The floor here is covered in bullet casings.” After leaving St Mary Al-Tahira, he proceeded to the court yard. In the middle of the large area, he pointed to where most of the books were burned. After that, he pointed to the end of the courtyard where ISIS performed target practice.
Adams also said Qaraqosh still has no running water or electricity.
According to an unidentified resident speaking on video, the ongoing fighting is taking its toll. “When the Sunnis and the Shia fight, we’re the victims. When the Kurds and Sunnis fight, we’re the victims. When Shia and Kurds fight, again, we’re the victims.”
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