Even if IS ousted, Christians' return to Mosul unlikely

AP News
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Posted: Dec 12, 2016 7:29 AM

GENEVA (AP) — Authors of a report on minority groups in Iraq and Syria say the possible ouster of the radical Islamic State group from the Iraqi city of Mosul won't be enough alone to encourage to Christians who have long faced inter-communal tensions there to return from exile.

Arne Saeveraas, an adviser for Norwegian Church Aid, says a survey of Christians who have fled Mosul found that nearly 75 percent reported facing threats and violence even before IS took over the city in 2014.

He says Iraq's population of Christians has fallen from about 700,000 to 250,000 since 2003. Most of those remaining are internally displaced.

Saeveraas was presenting a report released Monday by his group and the World Council of Churches on the protection needs of minorities in Iraq and Syria.