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Hundreds more Iraqi Christian families return home following brutal ISIS occupation

by Will Maule

Two hundred more Iraqi Christian families have returned to their hometowns after being forced into exile by the so-called Islamic State. Iraqi officials confirmed that the families had returned from the Kurdistan region to their areas of origin in the Nineveh governorate.

On Thursday, the mayor of Mosul - a city which fell into the hands of ISIS fighters after a bloody battle with the Iraqi army in 2014 - said that many more displaced Christian families are expected to return to their areas of origin in the coming days after years of displacement. 

According to the Assyrian Democratic Movement, nearly 120,000 Christians were forced to flee Mosul following the ISIS occupation. 

On Wednesday, the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor issued a warning to the Iraqi authorities regarding their decision to close IDP (internally displaced people) camps early next year, noting that it "may leave hundreds of thousands of displaced persons homeless as their houses were destroyed in previous conflicts with Daesh".

At the weekend, the Iraqi Ministry of Migration and Displacement said in a statement that camps in the governorates of Kirkuk, Salah Al-Din and Anbar would be closed as part of a plan to return 1.5 million displaced people to their hometowns. 

The UN estimates that a staggering 5.5 million Iraqis have been forced to flee their homes due to persecution by ISIS fighters. 

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