Updated 11:29 AM EDT, Tue, Jun 16, 2020

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Christian Soldiers Train Near Mosul To Battle ISIS

Matthew VanDyke

(Photo : Matthew VanDyke is an American filmmaker who trains Assyrian Christians to fight for their faith and survival.

If British teen girls and young Australians are secretly flying to Turkey and then taking the longer road trip to reach Syria or Iraq to become part of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Christian soldiers, too, are undergoing training, ready to fight a holy war for their faith and survival.

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Fox reports that the Christian troops are undergoing training near the city of Mosul, which is controlled by ISIS. Training them is award-winning American filmmaker Matthew VanDyke.

The training he provides to the troops, made up of Assyrian Christians aged 18 to 60, starts with handling firearms to close quarters combat. VanDyke, who escaped from a Libyan jail after helping overthrow Libyan dictator Moammar Qaddafi, is assisted in the training by an unnamed American military veteran.

He hopes to train around 2,000 Christian Assyrians to be ready to face threats from terrorism, insurgency or regimes run by dictators so they could defend themselves and their communities.

His trainees come from various Christian sects who are actually stateless members of ethnic groups. The Assyrians come from one of the oldest civilizations with its own culture, language and heritage that is so different from that of Arabs and Kurds. Their almost extinct language is connected to Aramaic, which Jesus Christ spoke.

Being stateless, they go through persecution and often lose their lands to expropriation.

With the establishment by the ISIS of a caliphate in the two Middle Eastern nations, VanDyke said that the number of Christians in Iraq has shrank from 1.5 million in 2004 to less than 400,000.

VanDyke warned, "They need to demonstrate that they can maintain and be responsible for their own security to encourage their people to stay - or else, within a couple of generations, there won't be any Christians left in Iraq. This is their last chance."

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