Iraqi Christians attend mass at Mar George Chaldean Church in Baghdad, March 1, 2015. REUTERS/Ahmed Saad
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With Daesh (ISIS) routed at last, one of the oldest Christian communities in the Middle East has a chance to reoccupy its ancestral towns.Bashar Warda, the Chaldean Archbishop of Irbil, hopes President Donald Trump's administration will redirect U.S. aid to his persecuted people. With almost 20,000 Iraqi Christian families – around 100,000 people – driven from their homes, the bishop is calling for urgent action.Already, Warda says, some 4,000 families have returned to rebuild the town they call Qaraqosh, Iraq's largest mainly-Christian community.One village where 60 homes had been rebuilt was abandoned a second time when these forces, once allies against Daesh, clashed.Here again, however, Warda sees hope that with support, the church – however marginal it is in strategic terms – can help Iraq.Warda prays, 2018 will be the year when those left behind will rebuild their homes and centuries-old churches by the Tigris River.
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