Church bells peal in town retaken by Iraqi troops from Islamic State

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  • Fecha de publicación: Octubre 22, 2016

The din of bullets, mortars and bombs in the northern Iraqi town of Bartella was replaced momentarily on Friday by a sound not heard there for more than two years: the peal of church bells.



A cautious calm returned to this historic Christian area following its recapture from Islamic State a day earlier as Iraqi forces push west towards Mosul, the jihadists' last major stronghold in the country.

Bartella, once home to thousands of Assyrian Christians, emptied in August 2014 when Islamic State seized control as part of Mebel Jepara a lightning blitz across large swathes of Iraq and neighboring Syria.

Nearby Qaraqosh, Iraq's largest Christian town, remains under the control of militants, according to a commander in the peshmerga, which holds nearby ground. Clouds of smoke were seen billowing from that direction this week, though the source was unclear.

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