>> The history pages of Iraq's Christian community lie in charred fragments. This fourth century monastery near Mosul was ransacked during a two-year occupation by Islamic State. That now brought to an end by a Christian militia of the Babylon Brigades. The militant's aim was to remove any traces of Christianity here.
Reuters Iraq correspondent Steven Kalin is at the monastery.>> The radical Sunni hard-line group has destroyed a lot of the icons inside the monastery. There's a statue of the Virgin Mary that is heavily destroyed. They've also taken off a lot of the, they scraped off inscriptions that dated back centuries, and written in the ancient Syrian language.
>> A commander says Islamic State turn the country largest monastery into a headquarters for the morality police. Called the Hisbah, they enforce strict rules against things like smoking and men shaving their beards.>> In the far corner of the complex are dozens of satellite dishes, which he told us were confiscated by Islamic State from residents in the village around us.
He was also telling us that some of the rooms of the monks that used to live here had been converted and used by Islamic State to detain people who were accused of crimes, sort of petty, moral crimes like owning a satellite dish, smoking cigarettes, not having their beard long enough.
>> Fighting to drive militants out of Northern Iraq has reduced towns and villages to rubble. While Islamic State booby traps in and around the monastery, mean it could be months or even years before some residents can return home.