BOOM: Iraq’s Christians Take Up Arms to Fight Islamic State

Published on February 4, 2015

Hundreds of Christian men are picking up rifles to reclaim their towns from militants.

When Islamic State rampaged through Iraq last summer, the country’s Christian minority says it was left defenseless by fleeing Iraqi army troops and Kurdish peshmerga fighters, and Sunni neighbors largely supported the ISIS capture of Christian villages. Now,reports Nour Malas at The Wall Street Journal, hundreds of Iraqi Christian men are training for their own militia to recapture or defend Christian villages from ISIS.

They face a lot of challenges: No funding and few weapons, lack of support from the Iraqi government, and recruits who have never seen combat or even fired a gun. The Kurdistan Regional Government is lending them training weapons and use of a former U.S. camp outside Kirkuk, and American former military personnel (who say they are “volunteering through a nonprofit organization they declined to name”) are helping with the training.

Read more: The Week