Iraqi Christians find their hometown in ruins after IS leaves

Some residents of Qaraqosh begin the long task of erasing the signs of Islamic State in their Iraqi Christian town, once home to 50,000 people and now mostly deserted.

QARAQOSH (REUTERS) - A group of volunteers on Tuesday (Feb 7) arrived in Mosul's once-thriving Christian town of Qaraqosh to begin erasing the signs and writings that Islamic State left behind, more than three months since the militant group was driven out by Iraqi forces.

Many residents say they do not feel safe to return to the city, once home to 50,000 people.

But this group of volunteers says erasing the writings and slogans of Islamic State will help rebuild the community's confidence that the city can be rebuilt into what it was before Islamic State overran it in August 2014.

Most of the residents of Qaraqosh fled to cities and towns in northern Iraq's Kurdish region and many others have emigrated to other countries.

Beside the group of volunteers, the city, which was known for its physicians and academics, appeared mostly abandoned, with a few former residents visiting their town and finding it in ruins.