Tens of thousands of Christians were forced out of their homes in northern Iraq last summer, as ISIS swooped in and gave them the ultimatum of converting to Islam, paying an exorbitant protection fee, leaving or facing the sword.
The Iraqi Interior Ministry has announced the creation of a joint task force to start military operations aimed at freeing Mosul and Nineveh province, currently in the hands of the Islamic State group, according to Fides news agency.
The joint task force will involve the military apparatus of Baghdad and the autonomous region of Kurdistan. The creation of the body was sanctioned during a summit meeting in Erbil which was attended by the defense ministers of the Interior and those of the two governments.
Retaking Mosul will not be a walk in the park. It’s true that Iraq’s military recently reclaimed the city of Tikrit from ISIS, but the hometown of Saddam Hussein is only about a third or a quarter of the size of Mosul. It could be a very bloody battle.
The people who are released might not be able to go back to their homes as they are already occupied by someone else, probably their former neighbors who did not protect them against ISIS, and some of whom may have made common cause with ISIS.