All Christian militias have come together to fight as one force in an
effort to recapture their historical homeland in northern Iraq from the
Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL), Breitbart News has learned.
The Nineveh Plains, a region in northern Iraq’s Nineveh province outside Mosul, is the historical homeland of the region’s Christian community, which is one of the oldest in the world.
Political and religious leaders representing the distinct Chaldean,
Assyrian, and Syriac Christian communities in Iraq agreed on unifying
their respective organizations, publishing a document announcing that
all the different Christian groups have joined forces.
“Everyone decided that unity is a must in order to keep the villages
of the Nineveh Plains safe. Everyone agrees to unify the military
forces,” states the announcement signed by the political leaders. “In
the future, there will be more meetings held with the political parties
to discuss this further.”
“The decision was made to create a committee that consists of the
political parties with the support of the religious leaders that will
meet together and act as one in order to gain representation on the
international state to ask for urgent rebuilding of the Nineveh Plains,”
adds the document.
Breitbart News spoke to one of the political leaders who signed the
agreement: Emmanuel Khoshaba Youkhanna, a leader of the Assyrian
Patriotic Party and commander of the Assyrian Christian militia known as
Dwekh Nawsha (“self-sacrifice”).
Referring to the decision to come together, Youkhana told Breitbart
News, “This is the first step to unify all our forces under one
He explained that the unified Christian force is seeking official
recognition from the U.S.-backed, Shiite-led Iraqi government in
Baghdad, emphasizing, “We don’t want to be an outlaw militia.”
“We lost our territory and people because of the mistakes of others —
both the Iraqi government and the [autonomous] Kurdistan Regional
Government [KRG] in northern Iraq when they pulled out of Mosul and the
Nineveh Plain,” also said Youkhana.
“Now, we want our Christian force to secure and seize that area and
join the efforts of all the people from that area,” he continued.
Iraq’s Nineveh province was once home to the largest concentration of
Christians and other ethno-religious minorities in Iraq. Mosul, which
is also located in the Nineveh province, was once considered the
heartland of the Iraqi Christian community.
The Christian militias have come together as a U.S.-backed force of
Iraqi Security Forces, Kurdish Peshmerga troops, Sunni tribesmen, and
Iran-backed Shiite militiamen are fighting to retake Mosul from ISIS.
“We want our forces to maintain security in the Nineveh Plain,”
Youkhanna told Breitbart News. “We’ve talked about this with the United
Nations, the Iraqi government, and the KRG. We demand a safe haven for
“We hope that after this unity the United States will give us the
assistance that they’ve given the other people of Iraq,” he added. “We
welcome any help that can be provided to our Assyrian Christian people
so that we can stay in our homeland.”
The Christians and other ethno-religious minority groups in Iraq have been victims of genocide at the hands of ISIS.
Youkhana revealed that the Christian militias uniting include a group
fighting under the Iraqi government, another one fighting under the
KRG, and his Dwekh Nawsha militia, which is made up of independent
Some Christian militias have already been participating in the U.S.-backed Mosul offensive.
Besides Youkhana, the other Christian political leaders who agreed to form the unified militia force include:
Bet Nahrain Democratic Party – Romeo Hakarri
Chaldean National Committee – Samir Azzo Dawood
Syrian Committee Movement – Najid Benyamin
Assyrian Democratic Party – Yacoub Gewargis Yacoub
National Bet Nahrain Unity – Yousif Yacoub Matte
(Maghis Al’Shahby) Assyrian Syrian Chaldean Public Committee – Shamesdin Gewargis Zaia