Speaking in 2015, Bashar, a Christian man now living in Erbil, lamented that the self-proclaimed Islamic State’s occupation of his village meant that he couldn’t return, even though he could drive within a few miles of his former home.
“I live in a village at Erbil city, only 10 to 15 kilometers away from my home village (Al-Hamadaniya). It’s so painful to be that close to my village, but I can’t go there. I cry every time I go through this way, and I feel so frustrated to see my home village in this painful way. It is very hard for any human to take.”
“I hope for the officials to look at our misery, we Christians of this area. We hope they liberate our villages as soon as it is possible in order to go back to our homes. This historical place we inherit from our ancestors—we are the indigenous people of this land.”