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ICC Note: As ISIS continues to hold land across much of Western and Central Iraq, forces from the Christian community have joined in the fight alongside of the Kurdish Peshmerga to retake lands claimed by ISIS. The militant jihadists drove hundreds of thousands to flee their homelands and have destroyed much of the Christian presence left behind from the nearly 2,000 year presence of Christians on these lands.

01/12/2015 Iraq (Kurdish Globe) 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.

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