Qaraqosh Protection Committee

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Qaraqosh Protection Committee
Participant in the Iraq War and 2014 Northern Iraq offensive
Active 2008–present
Leaders Sarkis Aghajan Mamendo
Sabah Behnem
Headquarters Qaraqosh
Area of
Ninawa Governorate
Strength 2,000[1]
Allies Iraqi Army, Iraqi Police, Mahdi Army, Kurdish Democratic Party
Opponents Al Qaeda in Iraq, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria

The Qaraqosh Protection Committee (Baghdeda Protection Committee) is an armed militia formed by Assyrian Christians in the Ninawa Governorate of Iraq. The Committee formed in 2008, organized through local churches, and began manning checkpoints and working with the Iraqi police.[2]

Persecution of Assyrians during the Iraq War[edit]

Assyrians in post-Saddam Iraq have faced high rate of persecution by Fundamentalist Islamist since the beginning of the Iraq war. By early August 2004 this persecution included church bombings, and fundamentalist groups' enforcement of Muslim codes of behavior upon Christians, e.g., banning alcohol, forcing women to wear hijab.[3] The violence against the community has led to the exodus of perhaps as much as half of the community. While Assyrians only made 5% of the total Iraqi population before the war, according to the United Nations, Assyrians comprise as much as 40% of the growing Iraqi refugees who are stranded in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey.[4]

The coordinator for the Qaraqosh Protection Committee, Sabah Behnem, said outside agendas — from the Sunnis of al-Qaida to the Shia in Iran — were behind the efforts to displace Iraqi Christians.[2]

On Tuesday October 12, 2010, the Qaraqosh Protection Committee, in coordination with the Kurdish Asayish Forces, captured Ali Muhammad Idris Sadeq, a top Al-Qaeda leader, in the town of Qaraqosh (Baghdeda).[5]

See also[edit]