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Archbishop of Mosul distraught over city

Aid to the Church in Need has been speaking with the Syrian Catholic Archbishop Yohanna Mouche, about the Iraqi city and said that Christians need to be supported so that they can soon return to Mosul.

In an interview with the charity, he insisted that forcing out IS (Islamic State) was the "best solution" for 120,000 displaced Christians effectively expelled from Mosul on 10th June and Nineveh, where towns and villages including 13 largely Christian ones were seized by IS on the night of 6th August.

Clare Creegan, from Aid to the Church in Need, told Premier: "the Archbishop is absolutely distraught for his dicocese in Mosul and the people he's had to leave behind.

He's very aware there are Christians out there who need our support and his support and he's described his own feelings as if he were in a dream - I think his own words were it's a nightmare."

She said that Christians have to return home as it is where their lives are based: "Their families and their home lands are in Mosul and the surrounding areas and they've been driven out.

"They do want to go home, he [The Archbishop] described that as the best solution."

Archbishop Mouche said that Christians would be willing and able to go back to their communities if IS was forced out - but only if the Islamists were also removed from Mosul, which has huge influence over the region.

He described Mosul as suffering a breakdown in relations with other communities, meaning Christians were reluctant to return even if the city was liberated.

Listen to Premier's Hannah Tooley speak to Clare Creegan here:

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