In Iraq, some of the few remaining Assyrian Christians have formed militias under the name Dwekh Nawsha (literally meaning “self-sacrifice” in Christ’s native tongue of Aramaic). Most of these fighters are from among those Christians displaced from the Ninevah Plain due to the atrocities committed by IS and are on the frontlines fighting the jihadis.
They were formed soon after the U.S.-supported Kurdish Peshmerga, which is leading the fight against IS in the region, retreated from many Christian villages without a struggle last summer, declining to protect them from the IS advance which led to the usual atrocities.
According to the Christian Science Monitor, “Christians have taken up arms because they want to protect their own land, and many no longer trust the Kurds to do it for them.” Indeed, the Kurds, including the Peshmerga, have been known to abuse and even persecute Christians. Like IS, Kurds are Sunni Muslims too.
“We will stay here, and Christians will protect Christians. Not Arabs or Kurds protecting us, but Christians,” said local commander Fouad Masaoud Gorgees.