IRAQ: Ancient churches of Mosul become little more than landfills due to government neglect

NINEVEH PLAINS, Iraq — Since the liberation of Nineveh Plains from the Islamic State (ISIS) in 2016, the Christian population of the city of Mosul has remained displaced. Now, some of those who had stayed in the city even during the ISIS occupation are leaving in the face of a lack of government support for the reconstruction of destroyed houses, churches, and heritage locations.

According to locals, some of the destroyed churches have even become illegal waste dumps.

Even before ISIS desecrated them and the battle for liberation damaged them further, the churches of Mosul were in a state of disrepair, some of them regularly flooded.

The Mor Gorgis Church, Mor Touma Church, Church of Maskanta, Shamoun al-Safa Church, and Mor Houdini Church, all located in Mosul, are some of the most neglected churches in Iraq.

The city of Mosul is one of the historic centers of Chaldean—Syriac—Assyrian heritage. However, many heritage sites have become little more than garbage dumps as a result of government neglect.

The chances for Christians and other religious minorities to return to Mosul have steadily declined due to a lack of the most basic elements of a decent life. The city, for now, remains in the hands of armed factions, some less lawful than others, and the situation seems unlikely to change anytime soon.