Qaraqosh Protection Committee

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Qaraqosh Protection Committee
Participant in the Iraq War and the 2014 Northern Iraq offensive
LeadersSarkis Aghajan Mamendo
Sabah Behnem
HeadquartersQaraqosh, Iraq
Area of operationsNinawa Governorate
Size1,200 [1]
Part ofChaldean Syriac Assyrian Popular Council[2]
AlliesFlag of Iraq.svg Iraqi Armed Forces
Flag of Kurdistan.svg Peshmerga
Flag of Kurdistan.svg Asayish
Emblem of the Nineveh Plain Protection Units.svgNineveh Plain Protection Units
Opponent(s)Flag of al-Qaeda in Iraq.svg Al Qaeda in Iraq
Flag of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant2.svg Islamic State of Iraq and Syria

The Qaraqosh Protection Committee (also known as the Nineveh Plains Security Forces) is an armed militia formed by Assyrians living in the city of Bakhdida, in Ninawa Governorate of Iraq. The committee, formed in 2004, was organized through local churches, and began manning checkpoints and was soon working with the Iraqi police.[3]

Persecution of Assyrians during the Iraq War[edit]

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 Assyrian Christians, e.g., banning alcohol, forcing women to wear hijab.[4] 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.[5]

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."[3]

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 (Bakhdida).[6]

The Qaraqosh Protection Committee reorganized after the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant overran the Nineveh plains in 2014. It is now known as the Nineveh Plains Security Forces and cooperates closely with the Iraqi Kurdistan Peshmerga and Asayish.[7][8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Archived from the original on August 15, 2014. Retrieved August 15, 2014. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ "In response to statements made by MP Imad Juhanna..." 6 February 2017. Retrieved 31 May 2017.
  3. ^ a b "Christian Security Forces Growing Stronger In Iraq". NPR. 2008-10-06. Retrieved 2012-04-08.
  4. ^ "Analysis: Iraq's Christians under attack". BBC News. 2004-08-02. Retrieved 2010-05-22.
  5. ^ Qais al-Bashir, Associated Press (2006-12-25). "Iraqi Christians celebrate Christmas". Yahoo! News. Retrieved 2007-01-07.
  6. ^ "Top Al-Qaeda Leader Captured in Baghdeda". 12 October 2010. Archived from the original on 16 October 2014. Retrieved 13 October 2014.
  7. ^ "About us". Nineveh Plains Security Forces. Retrieved 31 May 2017.
  8. ^ AFP (13 March 2015). "Iraq's first Christian brigade to battle ISIS". Al Arabiya English. Retrieved 31 May 2017.