This image/photograph is owned by Juan Carlos the photographer and is protected by copyright as well as all laws related to intellectual property rights. Unless permitted under written permission or licensed by Juan Carlos

A member of the Nineveh Plain Protection Unit (NPU) on guard at a check-point in the city of Qaraqosh, also known as Al-Hamdaniya in Arabic.

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A member of the Nineveh Plain Protection Unit (NPU) on guard at a check-point in the city of Qaraqosh, also known as Al-Hamdaniya in Arabic.

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The Wall Street Journal


IRAQ'S CHRISTIANS TURN TO MILITIA FOR PROTECTION    


Text by Margherita Stancati and Ali A. Nabhan 


QARAQOSH, Iraq—Two years ago, Mubarak Tuwaya fled when Islamic State militants made a triumphant charge through northern Iraq.

Now he is back in his hometown, wearing the uniform of an Iraqi militia that is helping drive out the extremists—and aiming to secure a place for Christians and other local minorities in Iraq’s future.

Capt. Tuwaya’s U.S.-trained force is made up of about 500 troops and 300 unpaid volunteers, most of them Assyrian Christians from Hamdaniya, a district east of Mosul that is home to Qaraqosh, Iraq’s largest Christian town.

The Iraqi army’s 9th Division captured the district with the militia’s support in late October, in the early days of the current U.S-backed campaign to retake Mosul, the Sunni extremist group’s last major stronghold in the country.


Read more here

This image/photograph is owned by Juan Carlos the photographer and is protected by copyright as well as all laws related to intellectual property rights. Unless permitted under written permission or licensed by Juan Carlos

The Mar Gorgis Church in Qaraqosh was damaged in the battle to recapture the town from Islamic State

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The Mar Gorgis Church in Qaraqosh was damaged in the battle to recapture the town from Islamic State

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This image/photograph is owned by Juan Carlos the photographer and is protected by copyright as well as all laws related to intellectual property rights. Unless permitted under written permission or licensed by Juan Carlos

An area destroyed in the church's compound

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An area destroyed in the church's compound

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This image/photograph is owned by Juan Carlos the photographer and is protected by copyright as well as all laws related to intellectual property rights. Unless permitted under written permission or licensed by Juan Carlos

The church compound  was used by the militants as a bomb worksho

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The church compound  was used by the militants as a bomb worksho

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This image/photograph is owned by Juan Carlos the photographer and is protected by copyright as well as all laws related to intellectual property rights. Unless permitted under written permission or licensed by Juan Carlos

Damaged caused to the Mar Gorgis church by ISIS, who destroyed all the churches in the city of Qaraqosh, also known as Al-Hamdaniya in Arabic

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Damaged caused to the Mar Gorgis church by ISIS, who destroyed all the churches in the city of Qaraqosh, also known as Al-Hamdaniya in Arabic

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This image/photograph is owned by Juan Carlos the photographer and is protected by copyright as well as all laws related to intellectual property rights. Unless permitted under written permission or licensed by Juan Carlos

Mubarak Tuwaya, a commander in a militia protecting the area around the largest Christian town in Iraq, said “This is the land of our fathers, we have to defend it.”

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Mubarak Tuwaya, a commander in a militia protecting the area around the largest Christian town in Iraq, said “This is the land of our fathers, we have to defend it.”

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This image/photograph is owned by Juan Carlos the photographer and is protected by copyright as well as all laws related to intellectual property rights. Unless permitted under written permission or licensed by Juan Carlos

An Iraqi Christian woman cried last month after seeing the damage to a shop her family ran in Qaraqosh, her hometown.

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An Iraqi Christian woman cried last month after seeing the damage to a shop her family ran in Qaraqosh, her hometown.

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This image/photograph is owned by Juan Carlos the photographer and is protected by copyright as well as all laws related to intellectual property rights. Unless permitted under written permission or licensed by Juan Carlos

A worker cleaned another damaged church in Qaraqosh last month.

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A worker cleaned another damaged church in Qaraqosh last month.

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This image/photograph is owned by Juan Carlos the photographer and is protected by copyright as well as all laws related to intellectual property rights. Unless permitted under written permission or licensed by Juan Carlos

Residents of Qaraqosh walked last month through the town’s main market area, which was heavily damaged in the battle with Islamic State militants.

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Residents of Qaraqosh walked last month through the town’s main market area, which was heavily damaged in the battle with Islamic State militants.

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