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Rudaw

Iraq

Peshmerga in Fierce Fight to Block IS Advance to Christian Town

By RUDAW 5/8/2014
Islamic State fighters seen in an AFP photo.
Islamic State fighters seen in an AFP photo.
 

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Jihadi militants are marching toward Tel Keppe, among the few Christian towns in Iraq’s Nineveh province so far largely untouched by the conflict, as Peshmerga forces fight to block the advance.

The majority-Christian town lies about 11 kilometers from Iraq’s northern city of Mosul, which since June has been in the hands of Islamic State (IS/ISIS) militants who call it the capital of their self-declared state.

In Tweets, IS fighters were vowing to take over the town and ‘cleanse it of infidels.’

The latest assault on Iraq’s Christian minority comes just a few weeks after IS issued an ultimatum to Christians in Mosul, demanding they pay a special tax, leave or face execution.

Thousands of Mosul Christians chose to leave, the majority headed for the safety of the Kurdistan Region, leaving an area with centuries of Christian history.  

The Kurdish Peshmerga, who just three days ago turned their defense against IS into a massive offensive with newly-received heavy weapons from Western countries – including reports of US and Iraqi air support – are also fighting to protect other minorities targeted by the religious zealots in Nineveh.

The Kurds have been locked in fierce fighting for Shingal, populated by Kurdish Yezidis regarded as infidels by the jihadis.

The United Nations has called the situation in Shingal and other parts of Nineveh “a humanitarian disaster.”

With no Iraqi forces left in those regions, the Peshmerga remain the only barrier between the militants and Yezidi and Christian minorities in the province.

On Monday, Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani ordered more than 10,000 Kurdish fighters into an offensive against IS.

Erbil has officially asked the United States for weapons and expertise to help turn the tide against the expanding al-Qaeda offshoot.

 

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AkarHawleri | 5/8/2014
Hate to say this, but this is America's politics, more war in middle east, more weapon they can sell, how els are they going to pay their debt, they earn billions of dollars with these wars. All these wars are good opportunity for US/RUSSIA. Kurds have no allies
American-Kurd | 5/8/2014
I know many of our Yezidi brothers and sisters are angry at the Peshmerga right now and they have the right to be angry but not at the Peshmerga. They've been saying some unpatriotic things about the Peshmerga and President Barzani, this is totally unacceptable! The Peshmerga have their hands full, we have enemies on all sides. You dont have to be a muslim Kurd to be a Peshmerga, you just have to be a Kurd. So all I'm saying to our Yezidi brothers is use that anger against the common enemy and become a Peshmerga too. In 1961, Jonh F. Kennedy delivered a speech to the American people and it went like this "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country". And the same goes for all Kurds regardless of political party, religion, or background. United We Stand, Divided We Fall!
Kurdo | 5/8/2014
Don't let those hit come away, kill them all. They don't deserv to live, they don't deserve being called human being. Those make me hate islam even and ashame of it. This religion hasn't been good for our people. It has nothing to do with democracy or human rights. Just kille them, please don't take any preasoners, kille them all!!! I would live europe if I didn't have family I don't care about job or money, my country and my people are most important to me.
Ashur | 5/8/2014
God bless our fearless peshmerga, YPG and PKK fighters for protecting our minorities and Kurdistan. Our thoughts and prayers go out for you. Sincerely, Ashur Georgis
Juan | 5/8/2014
Iraqi forces have been battling IS in Tikrit (just north of Baghdad) for 2 month without getting anywhere, I don't recommend anyone holding their breath for them reaching Mosul. The only option is Peshmerga, but Peshmerga need better weapons! if the west really care for the Christians and other minorities, and don't want IS on their doorsteps they need to support Kurdish Peshmerga forces now!, if they don't then it's all a big fat lie, they want IS to grow big and strong.
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