Christian forces formed to fight ISIS
Christian communities in Iraq’s Nineveh plains have formed a force to prevent further advances by the Islamic State into their areas
Head of Kurdistan Democratic Party’s (KDP) Headquarters in Telkef, Yelda Shimuel, said that the formation of an armed force of more than 500 Christian fighters under the name of Nineveh Plains Force was declared in a ceremony held in Telesqof last Tuesday.
The forces set up to defend the sacred lands as the Christians think that they have hard battles ahead of them.
“The forces are fighting under Ministry of Peshmega Commandment and their main task is to defend Christian lands and to take back their areas that have been occupied by ISIS,” said Shimuel.
Shimuel also said that another force will be formed and the recruitment process will start soon.
In June, when ISIS captured Mosul and began attacks on Christians and their areas, thousands of them fled the city to neighboring Dohuk in Kurdistan or to the Telkef and Qaraqosh areas controlled by the Peshmerga forces.
After Christians were forced to abandon their homes, they were looted by their former neighbors and friends while Islamic State jihadists burned, destroyed and looted churches, monasteries and public buildings belonging to Christians. The jihadists also destroyed or sold off centuries-old manuscripts and other historic artifacts belonging to them.
Subsequently, Islamic State forces advanced on other Christian villages in the Nineveh Plains such as Quaraqosh, Alqosh, and Telkef.
Kurdish Peshmerga forces that had been fighting Islamic State in the region, also fled, ceding the Christian villages to Islamic State and forcing nearly 100,000 Christians to seek refuge in Kurdistan.
Most Iraqi Christians belong to an ethnic group known as the Assyrians, a people considering themselves to be direct descendants of the numerous ancient Mesopotamian civilizations such as the Sumerians, Akkadians, Babylonians, and Assyrians, who are mentioned frequently in the holy Bible.