Iraq Christians Train to Recapture Homes from ISIL

Written by  Published by:Shiite News
Published in Iraq
Friday, 03 July 2015

Several dozen Iraqi Christians are training to recapture their homes occupied by the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant terrorist group.

A year ago, ISIL launched a fierce offensive in northern Iraq, capturing several areas and terrorized the citizens.

Thousands fled, but some wanted to fight back, and are now training at a military base near Baghdad airport.

They are now being trained on how to use their Kalashnikov assault rifles and on the basics of combat maneuvers.

"We heard that the Christians had an opportunity for jihad (holy war), and we all came and volunteered," said 17-year-old Chaldean Christian Frank Samir. "Our children are dying; our Christian families were displaced. How do we ourselves accept that people say the Christians are not fighting? On the contrary, we want to fight everywhere," he said.

"I did not hesitate to volunteer with my brothers to fight Daesh," said Fares Issa, 38, using an Arabic acronym for ISIL. "I will continue fighting (them) until the liberation of Mosul and their expulsion from all the areas of Iraq," said Issa.

"The main aim of forming our forces is the liberation of Mosul," said Rayan al-Kaldani, the secretary general of Ketaeb Babylon.

"We took part in the operations to liberate the city of Tikrit and other operations, including Baiji, in Salaheddin province," he said, referring to major battles north of Baghdad.

According to Kaldani, the Christians fight under the command of Abu Mahdi al-Mohandis, one of the top commanders in the "Popular Mobilization" forces.

According to another Ketaeb Babylon commander, who declined to be named, there are "hundreds of Christian fighters located now in various areas of Salaheddin... in addition to others responsible for protecting churches in Baghdad province."

Recruitment of other volunteers to "fight the Daesh terrorist organization" is continuing, he said.

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