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Nineveh Plain Protection Units

The Nineveh Plain Protection Units (Classical Syriac: ܚܕܝ̈ܘܬ ܣܬܪܐ ܕܫܛܚܐ ܕܢܝܢܘܐḤḏāywāṯ Settārā da-Šṭāḥā d-Nīnwē; Arabic: وحدات حماية سهل نينوى‎) or NPU is a military organization that was formed late in 2014, largely but not exclusively by Assyrians in Iraq to defend themselves against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.[2] The Nineveh plains is a region where Assyrians in Iraq have traditionally been concentrated.[3]

Nineveh Plain Protection Units
ܚܕܝ̈ܘܬ ܣܬܪܐ ܕܫܛܚܐ ܕܢܝܢܘܐ
Participant in the Iraqi Civil War (2014–2017)
Emblem of the Nineveh Plain Protection Units.svg
Emblem of the NPU.
ActiveDecember 2014 – present
Allegiance Assyrian Democratic Movement[1]
LeadersYonadam Kanna
Area of operationsNineveh plains
Northern Iraq
Size5,000 (reserves), 1,000 (active)
Battles and war(s)Iraqi Civil War (2014–2017)


By December 2014, the group said it had between 500 and 1,000 men in training, that the US was helping train them, and that financial support was coming mostly from Assyrians in the US and Europe.[2][3] In February 2015 there were unverified reports that the group had 5,000 Assyrian men registered to be trained, 500 are already training for combat, and 500 volunteers from the group stationed in threatened towns.[1][4]


In May 2016, NPU participated in fighting at Tesqopa along with Peshmerga forces.[5]

In September 2016, NPU soldiers repelled an ISIL effort to retake Tesqopa.[6]

Also in September 2016, NPU liberated the Shabak village of Badanah from ISIL, with the support of international coalition airstrikes.[7][8][9][10]

In October 2016, NPU, alongside Iraqi Army forces liberated the Town of Bartella from ISIL.[11]

On the 19th of October, 2016, NPU and the Iraqi Army liberated the Town of Bakhdida from ISIL. They currently run the security profile of the town and protected the town during its first Christmas mass in two years.[12]

In December 2016 Jameel al-Jameel, a member of the Nineveh Plains Protection Units claimed that Kurdish soldiers at checkpoints were interrogating and preventing Assyrian NPU soldiers and civilians seeking to enter the Nineveh Plain.[13][14]

In July 2017, NPU was involved in clashes with the Babylon Brigades, led by Rayan al-Kildani. Two days prior to the incident, NPU captured 6 members of the Babylon Brigades on allegations of stealing ancient artefacts from Mar Behnam Monastery.[15] Babylon Brigades have since been expelled by the Iraqi Prime Minister Office & PMU High Command from all of Hamdaniya District.[16] NPU has taken control of Mar Behnam Monastery.

In December 2018, the Iraqi Government providing funding to the NPU to recruit another 100 troops to add the total estimate of members of the NPU to 6100.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Jack Moore for Newsweek. Feb 4, 2015 4000 Strong NPU Assyrian Soldiers
  2. ^ a b John Burger for Aletia. December 4, 2014 Christians in Iraq Forming Militia to Defend, and Possibly Retake, Ancestral Lands
  3. ^ a b Steven Nelson for US News and World Report. Feb. 6, 2015 Iraqi Assyrian Christians Form Anti-ISIS Militia, and You Can Legally Chip In
  4. ^ Nour Malas for the Wall Street Journal Feb 3, 2015 The Assyrian Christians Take Up Arms To Fight ISIS
  5. ^ "Video purportedly shows battle in which Navy SEAL was killed". Fox News. 5 May 2016.
  6. ^ "Assyrian Christian forces clear Islamic State from village in northern Iraq". Iraqi Christian Relief Council. September 8, 2016.
  7. ^ Fadel, Leith (3 September 2016). "Assyrians fight back in Iraq, Badanah village liberated from ISIS". AMN - Al-Masdar News. Joining the Iraqi Army in their fight to liberate the historical city of Mosul, the Nineveh Protection Units have proven to be a formidable force against the Islamic State terrorists.
  8. ^ "Fighting fire with fire". Catholic Herald. 15 September 2016.
  9. ^ "Christian militia claim victory over ISIS in Iraqi village". Catholic Herald. 5 September 2016.
  10. ^ Shiloach, Gilad (2 September 2016). "Iraqi Christian Militia Claims ISIS Victory With Coalition Help". Vocativ. had help from the air and the U.S.-led international coalition....they were being supported by the Iraqi Government and the Kurdish Peshmerga security forces
  11. ^ "Video: Iraqi troops liberate Christian town of Bartella from IS group". France 24. 23 October 2016.
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Kurdish Authorities Preventing Assyrian Soldiers From Returning to Their Posts". AINA. December 6, 2016.
  14. ^ "KRG prevents NPU soldiers from returning back to the Nineveh Plains" (in Swedish). Assyria TV. 5 December 2016.
  15. ^ NPU [@NinevehPU] (15 July 2017). "Clarification on recent clashes in the town of Baghdeda:" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  16. ^ NPU [@NinevehPU] (15 July 2017). "Iraqi Prime Minister Office & PMU High Command ordered the expulsion of Babylon Brigade from all of Hamdaniya District" (Tweet) – via Twitter.