William Devlin is a pastor at Infinity Bible Church in the Bronx, New
York City. He has supplied the Nineveh Plain Protection Units (NPU)
with a selection of AK-47 assault rifles, grenades, and rocket-propelled
The NPU consists mainly of Assyrian Christians attempting to defend
their region from ISIS. However, it frequently finds itself outmatched
Speaking to the Christian Post last
week, Devlin said he had gone to speak to NPU leader General Behnam
Aboosh to offer his support, but the general had responded that what was
needed was quality weapons.
He told Devlin: 'Look, I am dealing
with a major military force that has United States weapons that they got
from the Iraqi Army. ISIS has all these heavy weapons, all these
armoured vehicles, and I am sitting here in the Nineveh Protection Unit
with the equivalent of bows and arrows.'"
Devlin said he then offered to buy weapons for the NPU. The next day, weapons were delivered from an Assyrian arms dealer.
The militia has previously received training from US military personnel,
but Devlin says they have not received any actual weapons. He said: "I
was not going to go away from the general without helping him in some
practical, demonstrable way."
Last week, Devlin posted pictures to Facebook of the weapons he
acquired. He wrote in his post: "[I'm] grateful that, with personal
money, I can purchase items that can assist and protect the Christians
and their cities in the Nineveh Plain of Iraq from ISIS."
Devlin said that the US State Department is aware of his dealings:
"They know the type of stuff I do. As far as I know, other than the big
organizations, I don't know of any other American Christian pastor that
is going in the refugee camps to help the Yazidi people and help the
Christian people there. I don't know of anybody else that is going in."
It was reported last week that
the NPU won a victory against ISIS forces when they liberated the Iraqi
town of Badanah, assisted by airstrikes from a US-led international
After its initial dramatic successes in Iraq and Syria, ISIS has come
under increasing pressure in both countries and is losing territory to
both government and rebel forces. In what may prove to be a decisive
move, Turkey has signalled its willingness to join the US in attacking
the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa in Syria.