Qaraqosh Protection Committee
|Qaraqosh Protection Committee|
|Participant in the Iraq War and the 2014 Northern Iraq offensive|
|Leaders||Sarkis Aghajan Mamendo
|Area of operations||Ninawa Governorate|
|Strength||1,200 [dead link]|
|Opponents||Islamic State of Iraq and Syria|
The Qaraqosh Protection Committee (also known as the Bakhdida Protection Committee) is an armed militia formed by Assyrians in the Ninawa Governorate of Iraq. The committee, formed in 2008, was organized through local churches, and began manning checkpoints and was soon working with the Iraqi police.
Persecution of Assyrians during the Iraq War
Assyrians in post-Saddam Iraq have faced a high rate of persecution by Fundamentalist Islamists 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. 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.
The coordinator for the Qaraqosh Protection Committee, Sabah Behnem, said outside agendas — from the Sunnis of al-Qaeda to the Shi'a in Iran — were "behind the efforts to displace Iraqi Christians."
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).
- "Christian Security Forces Growing Stronger In Iraq". NPR. 2008-10-06. Retrieved 2012-04-08.
- "Analysis: Iraq's Christians under attack". BBC News. 2004-08-02. Retrieved 2010-05-22.
- Qais al-Bashir, Associated Press (2006-12-25). "Iraqi Christians celebrate Christmas". Yahoo! News. Retrieved 2007-01-07.
- "Top Al-Qaeda Leader Captured in Baghdeda". 12 October 2010. Retrieved 13 October 2014.
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