Advancing toward Mosul, the Iraqi army has liberated Bakhdida from the forces of the Islamic State.
Once a city of 50,000, Bakhdida, also known as Qara Qosh, was home to ten Syriac Catholic and Orthodox churches.
Christians who fled the Mosul area for Iraqi Kurdistan during ISIS’s 2014 advance rejoiced at Bakhdida’s liberation.
“The first thing I want to do is to give thanks to God,” Father Martin Baani told Aid to the Church in Need. “I am so happy … We are praying to be able to return to our homes one day. Now the eyes of the whole world are on Mosul.”