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The Christian Militia Fighting Islamic State

From Owen Bennett-Jones writing at the BBC:

A group of Christians in Iraq have formed their own militia to protect people from the so-called Islamic State group. The leader of the Babylon Brigade says they were left with no choice but to take up arms when IS fighters targeted Christians.

There’s a striking picture on the wall. It shows an untarmacked road, scorched by sunlight, leading to a small village with a mountain range behind it. And all along the side of the road there are crosses every 100m – taller even than lamp posts.

“Christian village,” a guard mumbles. “Near Mosul.”

We are in the Baghdad headquarters of the Iraq Christian Resistance, Babylon Brigade. They are a militia, although they prefer the phrase popular mobilisation unit. Whatever the language, about 30 of these outfits have sprung up in the past couple of years and between them they have 100,000 armed volunteers. They were formed to block the advance of the so-called Islamic State group when it swept through north and west Iraq in 2014, even threatening Baghdad. When the Iraqi national army collapsed the militias stood firm.

Read the rest of the story at the BBC.

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