Erbil, Iraq, Oct 27, 2016 / 23:03 pm America/Denver (CNA).
Iraqi Christians stranded in Kurdistan have some reason for hope, now that the battle for Mosul and the Nineveh Plane has begun. However, the Chaldean archbishop who, for two years now, has played a pivotal role in taking care of the humanitarian and spiritual needs of the exiled community, urges caution in painting too rosy a picture for Iraq’s embattled minorities.
“Iran, Turkey and the Kurds all have a stake in Mosul” and the surrounding area, Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil, the Iraqi Kurdish capital, told international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need; even after Mosul is retaken from Islamic State – and odds are that will happen before the end of the year – a bitter power struggle would likely put Christians seeking to return to their abandoned homes in harm’s way.
For now, the prelate stressed, no concrete plan is in place to protect the Christians and other minorities upon their return to Mosul and the Nineveh Plane. He predicted it would at least take close to a year before a significant degree of homecoming would be possible.
Meanwhile, the archbishop, who was in New York as the guest of Cardinal Timothy Dolan, continues to care for the flock in Erbil and surroundings, which means drumming up considerable funding to ensure that families of internally displaced persons can pay their rent, that homes can be heated, that there will be food on the table, and that schools are functioning.
For the past two years, the Chaldean Archeparchy of Erbil has received more than $31 million in funding from Aid to the Church in Need, in addition to support from 16 other Catholic organizations from around the world.