09/01/2019 Iraq (International Christian Concern) – Operation Inherent Resolve, a Pentagon initiative launched in 2014 to establish a coalition for the defeat of ISIS, has issued a quarterly report warning of an ISIS resurgence in Iraq and Syria.
The report specifically warns that ISIS remnants have regrouped in the Nineveh Governorate, where most of Iraq’s religious minorities lived prior to displacement, and other nearby provinces. It is likely that the extremists are ideologically or tribally supported, although some may be coerced into assisting ISIS. The report also criticizes local PMF militias for hindering NGO access to Nineveh by refusing to recognize access letters from the Joint Crisis Monitoring Center.
The security situation in Nineveh is increasingly fragile. An internal conflict between the Iraqi Army and PMF militias created a delicate security environment that ultimately further emboldened the PMF to defy the Central Government. This kind of situation, combined with a lack of infrastructure, further deters displaced persons from returning home to Nineveh.
Estimates of the return of Christians vary. In Qeraqosh, which was once Iraq’s largest Christian city, nearly half of the residents have returned. Other Christian villages remain empty.