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ICC Note: As ISIS continues to hold Mosul captive in Iraq, a group of Christians are taking a stand on the edge of the city. Outnumbered by the militants just a mile down the road, these Christians are doing anything they can to protect their homes and families. Captain Jacob, the man leading this small home-grown militia, knows the odds are not good. As ISIS continues to push through Iraq uncontrollably, Iraq may witness the final disappearance of their Christian population.

ICC has launched a campaign to provide aid to the Iraqi church to assist those in need who have fled from the attacks. Go here to find out more and donate: Iraqi Crisis Response

06/23/14 Iraq (Telegraph) – Captain Firaz Jacob knows he may well be mounting a last stand at the frontiers of the Christian settlement of Bartella on the outskirts of Mosul.

Less than a mile down the road are the jihadists of Isis, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, and the portly, middle-aged Mr Jacob is aware that his home-grown militia are outnumbered.

“I stand here waiting for my destiny,” he said, as he stood this week by the last check-point on the road to Mosul and the black flags waiting in the desert.

Speaking of why he and his men were refusing to give up and go, Capt Jacob said was determined to resist the jihadists and their allies, who last week over-ran most of the rest of northern Iraq.

“We will stay here despite everything,” he announced. “All these armed groups we have seen, but nevertheless we will remain. We love our Christian way of life, we love our churches and we love our community.”

Between the Sunni and Shia Arabs of Iraq lie a patchwork quilt of other ethnic groups and faiths, many of whom have been reconsidering their future in the most obvious possible way since the allied invasion a decade ago unleashed the sectarian militias and their death squads.

Anywhere between half and three quarters of Iraq’s Christians – Chaldean Catholics, Syriac Orthodox, and the rest – have left the country and the Middle East to start new lives abroad since 2003.

The town of Bartella, ten miles from Mosul, is largely Assyrian Orthodox, and its 16,000 citizens currently face a very vivid incarnation of an ever-present threat. They have been car-bombed at least twice in recent years, but this time their presumed adversaries have an army.

In Biblical times, the Assyrians were the imperial rulers of Ninevah, in which province Mosul still sits today.

According to the poet Byron, when the empire roused itself “The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold, And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold”.

This week Mr Jacob, a father-of-three wearing a small pistol tucked into his jeans, an over-tight T-shirt, and a pot belly, had a small band of 600 volunteers to help him. They were backed up by some Kurdish troops sent from the city of Erbil an hour’s drive away.


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