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ICC Note

An estimated 100,000 Christians have fled their homes in Iraq. Although, ISIS is on the defensive in Mosul, Al-Hamdaniya, a town on the outskirts of Mosul is not taking any chances. A small band of men remain to protect the ruins that were once their homes in the hope that their families and neighbors might one day safely return home. Al-Hamdaniya, once one of the largest Christian towns in Iraq, is now deserted.  With many Christians still wary about returning home, the additional security may be enough to encourage them to come back and help rebuild.    

06/15/2017 Iraq (Vice News) – ISIS is firmly on the defensive in Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, where U.S. and Iraq coalition forces are pushing forward in a pitched and bloody battle to retake the city. Though the terror group may be in retreat, one nearby town isn’t taking any chances. 

On the outskirts of Mosul lies Al-Hamdaniya, a town almost destroyed by ISIS in 2014. Now a group of residents guard the ruins, patrolling the streets with the aim of keeping ISIS fighters out. This small band of men remain in the hope that their families and neighbors might one day safely return home.

When the militant group advanced throughout the region in August 2014, Christians who’d long called the area home, were forced to flee. The women and children left first, followed by the men who’d stayed behind hoping that ISIS wouldn’t invade.  

“Four of my sons wanted to stay — they are all engineers. They said, ‘we’re going to stay because maybe ISIS will not come’,” says Behanan Aboush. He’s stationed at the headquarters of the Nineveh Plains Protection Units (NPU) in Al-Hamdaniya.

Aboush is the founder and leader of the NPU, a militia established in early 2015 by Assyrian Christians to guard against an ISIS offensive that swept across the Ninevah Plainswhere. ISIS soldiers killed at will and forcibly converted minorities to Islam, Aboush says. An estimated 100,000 Christians fled their homes.

               

 

 

 

 

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