CWN - Three Syriac bishops have called for internationall protection of the Christian enclaves in northern Iraq, but the Chaldean Catholic Patriarchate of Baghdad has distanced itself from the plea.

Syriac Catholic Archbishop Boutros Moshe of Mosul joined with his Syriac Orthodox counterpart, Archbishop Nicodemus Daud Matti Sharaf, and Orthodox Bishop Timotheos Musa al Shamany of Bartellah, in a call for UN protection of the Nineveh Plains, where tens of thousands of Christians fled their homes during the Islamic State offensive of 2014. Now that the region has been liberated from the Islamic State, the prelates suggested an autonomous administrative district under UN protection.

But the Chaldean Catholic Patriarchate issued a statement indicating that it did not support the plea. The statement cited the stand taken earlier by Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako, who said that the top priority at the moment should be for rebuilding the homes of the villages in the Nineveh Plains. Only after the Christian families have returned and re-established their lives there, should administrative questions be raised, he argued.

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