Muslims in Mosul, Iraq, are reportedly showing solidarity with their persecuted Christian neighbors by helping them rebuild a church that Islamic State militants had desecrated and destroyed.
ISIS terrorists had desecrated Christian churches, statues, and other establishments when they occupied Mosul. After they were driven out of the area by Kurdish troops, the militants left the Mar George monastery in Al-Arabi district in severe shape, Arab News details.
Muslim neighbors decided to participate in the efforts to rebuild the Chaldean church to prove that Iraq is home to people from all religions and not just Sunni Muslims. They also wanted to dispel the false rumors about Muslims harassing a Christian family in the district.
Photos of Muslims cleaning the church and repairing rooms have spread on social media. For the Muslim neighbors in Mosul, the strength of their community lies in their religious differences.
Meanwhile, the number of ISIS militants in Mosul has dwindled to less than 1,000 as the fight to retake the country's second-largest city approaches its final leg. U.S.-led coalition forces deputy commanding general Brigadier General Rick Uribe told Voice of America via Skype that the terrorists are increasingly becoming desperate because they know that defeat is awaiting them.
"They know they're about to lose," Uribe told VOA. "So their goal is to inflict as many casualties, not only in the Iraqi security forces but on any innocent victims and anybody that's left."
In addition, Uribe revealed to VOA that many of the remaining terrorists were among ISIS' toughest and that they had spent time building booby traps and tunnel systems in west Mosul. He also said these militants are trying to lure the coalition forces into harming civilians by taking hostages.
On June 1, coalition spokesman Colonel Ryan Dillon told the media that civilians have been instructed not to use cars or motorcycles so that they will not be mistaken for ISIS fighters. He said the terrorists' weapon of choice in the besieged city is the car bomb.
Civilians have been asked to evacuate Old Mosul as the clashes in the city intensify. Dillon added that around 4,000 residents fled Mosul every day, but that figure has already dropped in the last couple of days.