Local Chaldean leader talks about the attempt to re-take Mosul

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Iraq’s 2nd largest city fell to Isis 2 years ago
by John Carroll
When Mosul, Iraq fell in June of 2014, many people fled the city including tens of thousands of Chaldean Christians. San Diego county is home to the second largest population of Chaldeans in the country.

The first full day of the push to recapture Mosul is probably emblematic of what’s to come. As Iraqi and Kurdish troops move through the small towns surrounding Mosul, the resistance of ISIS is fierce. At least one bomb-laden vehicle was driven right at coalition forces. They managed to blow it up. An ISIS fighter hiding out in a hole in the ground emerged with a weapon and when it became clear he was about to be shot, he blew himself up.

“We’re very hopeful, but it’s a very stressful time,” said local Chaldean leader Mark Arabo. Arabo works to rescue Chaldeans and other religious minorities from the grip of ISIS. He said to his knowledge, there are no Chaldeans left in the city, including one of his family members.

“My great aunt, she’s a nun and she was a teacher in a school in Mosul. She now lives in Jordan and one of her dreams is to go back and teach Christian school in Mosul,” Arabo said.

If the effort to re-take Mosul is successful, the next big problem is, what will be left for Chaldeans and others to come back to? Along with priceless antiquities, ISIS fighters have destroyed the homes of Christians, their churches and schools. “We’re hopeful that it can be liberated but the next question is where do the Christians go?” Arabo wondered.

If Mosul is liberated, Arabo said the Chaldean community here stands ready to help bring Christians back. “We cannot wait for the opportunity for, as a community to come together to donate money and resources to build churches, build homes, build schools. Our foundation, the Minority Humanitarian Foundation, is actually making that one of our key issues,” he said.

Arabo is headed off to Washington next week for meetings with people in the Obama administration. It will be his last opportunity to make the case to help Christians and other persecuted minorities before Barack Obama leaves office.