In the summer of 2014, Mosul was for the first time in its history almost totally emptied of Christian civilians. More than 200,000 of Iraqi Christians, who make up the fourth largest indigenous Christian population in the Middle East, were forced to flee the city following invasion by ISIS whose leaders gave them the choice to convert, leave, or die then seized their houses and burnt their churches. It was only recently that the Christians of Iraq started harboring hopes of returning to their homes as Iraqi forces managed to reclaim the city, which was home to one of the world’s most ancient Christian communities.
An Iraqi Christian man shows his old camera at his house, which was burned by Islamic State militants before they fled the area, in Qaraqosh, Iraq, February 7, 2017. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed