Open Doors sources are urging Christians to pray for Mosul. Latest reports indicate that a coalition of military forces are gearing up for an assault on Mosul.
Iraq’s second-largest city was captured by so-called Islamic State (IS) forces over two years ago. From there, it proclaimed its intention to establish a caliphate. But in recent months IS have been steadily driven back. And now an assault on what is the last bastion of IS in Iraq could begin next month.
But the assault could very well be extremely bloody and drawn out. Some sources are saying that IS have dug in for a long fight, and are unlikely to give up the city without wreaking havoc.
“They have underground tunnels, all around Mosul, six metres [20ft] below ground,” a source told the BBC. “They have many cars full of C4 [explosives] and they are trying to modify 120mm canons to use mustard gas.”
Aid agencies are warning that the ‘battle of Mosul’ could spark a humanitarian crisis and see up to one million people fleeing the city.
Open Doors sources have asked for prayer for the Christians who are still in Mosul and also for the Kurdistan authorities: if the predictions prove correct, they could find themselves overwhelmed with even more refugees than at present.
Even if Mosul is retaken, it will be very hard for Christians to return to the city. Given all the war and destruction, many Christians feel that even if they can return, they will just be waiting for the next disaster to happen.
However, some are enthusiastic and hopeful of the opportunity to rebuild their villages. “They have hope again,” said Martin, who fled from one of the nearby villages. “Many of them feel the power to go back to our village and rebuild it. Now we are just praying it will be liberated soon.”
But they will face a big struggle because many of their houses and churches will be destroyed or damaged.
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