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EXCLUSIVE — Assyrian Army Commander: ‘We Are Losing Christianity’ to Islamic State

Christians in Iraq and Syria are losing their people and religion to the brutal Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL), declares the Assyrian Army’s commander-in-chief.

In an exclusive interview with Breitbart News via Skype, Cmdr. Emmanuel Khoshaba Youkhana discussed the Assyrian Army’s efforts to end the ISIS campaign of genocide against Christians in Iraq and Syria.

He noted that the Christian Assyrian Army, known as Dwekh Nawsha, is in desperate need of military assistance in the form of weapons and training from the Obama administration, which so far has refused to lend a hand.

Dwekh Nawsha means “self-sacrifice” in the ancient Aramaic language used by Jesus and still spoken by the Assyrian Christians.

When asked what would become of the Assyrian Army efforts against ISIS if U.S. assistance never materializes, Cmdr. Youkhana said, “It would be hard and difficult. We are losing not only the Assyrian people, we are losing the Christianity.”

The commander asserted that the Assyrian Army, which is primarily based in Iraq’s Assyrian Nineveh plain, would only accept support from the United States.

“When they give you anything, they give it to you under conditions,” Youkhana told Breitbart News, referring to assistance from non-U.S. governments.

Major players in the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria include Iran and Russia.

“The Assyrians want to be enduring partners with the United States,” said the military chief. “We need the support from USA.”

“We need the support to stay in our land,” he added, referring to Assyrian Nineveh plain in Iraq.

Earlier this month, Breitbart News spoke to retired Lt. Col. Sargis Sangari, a 20-year U.S. Army veteran and one of the Americans advising the Assyrian Army. He pleaded for military and humanitarian aid from the Obama administration, saying the Christian military force is about done given its lack of resources.

Youkhana noted that the U.S.-backed Iraqi government does not provide any assistance to the Assyrian Christians.

“They know us Assyrians as Christian people so they don’t [give us] any support,” he proclaimed.

The commander told Breitbart News that the only military group the Assyrian Army is working with is the peshmerga army of the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), which is fighting ISIS on the ground with the support of U.S.-led coalition airstrikes.

“For sure, when you are on the front line, you must cooperate with all the forces,” said the Assyrian Army leader.

The Assyrian military force, which started with only 12 fighters, has managed to successfully hold the FLOT (Forward Line of Troops) against ISIS since last August.

As a result, Christian communities in Iraq’s Nineveh province have been able to resist ISIS’s command for Christians to pay a submissive tax known as the jizya, convert to Islam, or die by the sword.

The Assyrian Army’s FLOT was established in the Christian village of Bakufa located in northern Iraq’s Nineveh province, about 20 miles north of Mosul.

Victory for the Assyrian Army is being able to live in their historical homeland — the Christian territories in Iraq’s Nineveh province — in peace and without the fear of persecution, said Youkhana.

So far, the only assistance the Christian force is receiving is humanitarian aid through The United Assyrian Appeal foundation where people can donate money to the families of the Assyrian soldiers, he added.

Cmdr. Youkhana also serves as the secretary general of Iraq’s Assyrian Patriotic Party.

Over President Obama’s objections, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threat, introduced legislation Monday that would designate Christians and Yazidis in the Middle East as targets of genocide.

The Stop the Christian Genocide Act allows for the expedited processing of immigrant and refugee status for the vulnerable Christians and Yazidis, considered ethnic religious minority sects in the Middle East, the congressman told Breitbart News Daily.

President Obama has called efforts to single out members of one faith for protection “shameful.”

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