Christians who fled their homes in Mosul may never be able to return because the Islamic State has spawned a new generation of radicalized children who will carry on the terror group’s deadly campaign against believers, a vicar in Erbil has warned.
(REUTERS / Youssef Boudlal)Displaced Iraqi people from different areas in Mosul flee their homes after clashes to reach safe areas, as Iraqi forces battle with Islamic State militants in the city of Mosul, Iraq March 18, 2017.
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The battle to retake Mosul from ISIS is approaching its final stages, and some Christians have tried to make their way back. However, Erbil-based vicar Father Daniel warned that ISIS has passed on its radical ideology to the next generation, the Express relays.
“We can go back but it is a question of safety. We are dealing with a new generation bred by ISIS – they have a radical anti-Christian viewpoint and so it would be really hard to go back,” said Father Daniel, whose church in Erbil is taking care of hundreds of displaced Iraqi Christians.
“It would be very hard for children here and children in Mosul to get together. Can they even get along together as two groups?” Father Daniel added. “Could they adapt to each other? We really need to work with the children in Mosul to change what ISIS has implanted there.”
For Father Daniel, the only way they can fight back against ISIS is to let the children complete their education. He said some of the Christian victims are already working as translators for organizations to help spread their voice and stories all over the world.
Meanwhile, Iraqi forces and the U.S.-led coalition launched strikes against ISIS positions in the Old City in Mosul. Iraq’s defense ministry said the offensives killed six militant commanders in the western part of the city, Reuters reported over the weekend.
The battle for Mosul, ISIS’ remaining stronghold in Iraq, is now on its sixth month. Anti-ISIS forces are now focused on taking hold of the Old City in the west, where the ISIS flag can still be seen flying from the al-Nuri mosque’s minaret.
According to U.S. officials, there are still around 2,000 ISIS fighters inside Mosul. These militants are reportedly using mortar fire, suicide car bombs, and snipers to attack military forces trying to recapture the city.