A newly formed military unit, composed of Iraqi Christians, has forged an alliance with Iraq's own forces in its on-going battle against the terrorist group ISIS. The Christian military group, known as the Nineveh Plain Forces or NPF, are currently operating in the city of Mosul in northern Iraq.
The NPF was established in September of 2014 in response to the growing threat of ISIS in Iraq. Currently, their members are stationed in the Nineveh Plains under the command of the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government, VOA News reported.
The Nineveh Plains is located just 72 kilometers away from Mosul, which was inhabited by various minority groups including Christians, Turks, Yazidis and Shabaks. However, the number of non-Islam residents in the city seriously dwindled after June of 2014 after it was taken over by ISIS.
According to Fox News, it seems the terrorist organization is intent on wiping out all Christians and non-Muslims living in the city either through conversion or summary killings. Earlier last month, the St. Elijah Monastery in Mosul, which is regarded as the oldest Christian structure in Iraq, was destroyed by ISIS forces.
Also, just this week, militants of the group bombed over 20 houses which belonged to Christian families in Mosul. As reported by ARA News, this was probably done by the extremists to prevent Christians from returning to the city.
But, despite the ongoing destruction caused by ISIS, Commander Sefa Ilyas Checo of the NPF said that with the help of Iraqi and Kurdish forces, they plan to retake Mosul. He said that they are also ready to fight against members of the extremist group inside the city.
Currently, the NPF has about 600 members, but Checo said this number will soon increase since some Christians are already preparing to join the unit.
Aside from driving out of Mosul, the NPF also hopes to be established as the main security force of the Nineveh Plains. Before the invasion of ISIS in 2014, Iraq's ministers have already decided that the region will be converted from a province to a governorate. This means the Nineveh Plains will be able to function as an autonomous region without depending on Mosul. However, this never happened due to the ongoing conflict in the area.
"The initial goal of the [NPF] is to liberate Christian areas from IS," Romeo Hakari Bet-Nahrain Democratic Party told VOA News. "However, this force will become the core force of the Nineveh Plains people after IS...We want autonomy for the people of Nineveh Plains after the liberation of the area."