Thousands of Iraqi Christians have established their own militia and are training to fight the Islamic State (ISIS) in the Nineveh Plains of northern Iraq.
The Nineveh Plains Protection Units (NPU) has 3,000 Assyrian Christian men registered to be trained, while another 500 are already training for combat. The militia was founded by the Iraqi political party, the Assyrian Democratic Movement.
Another 500 volunteers from the group are already situated in Assyrian villages in northern Iraq, the majority of which were captured by ISIS when they marched across the country last summer. Approximately 30,000 Christians have since fled the Nineveh Plains for fear of falling into the hands of the radical Islamists.
Last November the American Mesopotamian Organisation, whose aim is to support the NPU, said that the primary mission of the militia is to “protect the remaining Assyrian lands from further attacks by ISIS” and then “liberate the Assyrian homeland of the Nineveh Plain” from the grasp of the radical Islamists.
John Michael, a British-Assyrian in Iraq, told the Catholic Herald: “This is our last stand, if this fails then Christianity will be finished in Iraq.” The religious outlet reported that the militia are receiving funds from the Assyrian diaspora in countries such as United States, Australia and Sweden and are also receiving training from an American security company.
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4,000-Strong Christian Militia Formed to Fight ISIS in Northern Iraq.