(AINA) -- The Islamic State (ISIS) has ordered all former church guards in Bahgdede (Qaraqosh), Bartella and Karamles to surrender their weapons. There are no Assyrians remaining in these towns, as they have all fled north to Dohuk and East to Arbel, and the churches are abandoned and unguarded.
ISIS issued its demand via a telephone call to an Assyrian member of the Bartella city council, who fled the city on August 7 (AINA 2014-08-07).
According to the council member, he was contacted via telephone by one of his former Muslim neighbors who is now working for ISIS, who told the council member that ISIS has rigged explosives throughout his house in Bartella, and demanded that all former church guards surrender their weapons. The Muslim neighbor said that if the weapons are not surrendered the house would be destroyed and the council member would be found and killed.
As there are no Assyrians remaining in these towns, including the church guards, it is difficult to understand the practicality of this order. Does ISIS expect the church guards to return to these towns and personally surrender their weapons?
Disarming the Assyrians
Even before ISIS captured Baghdede, an attempt was made by the Iraqi government and the Kurdish forces, working in unison, to disarm the Assyrian population. A letter was sent on July 14 ordering all citizens to surrender their weapons. Here is the letter and its translation.
To the people of Baghdeda, Karamles, and Bertella
Those who have medium or heavy weapons or their ammunition must surrender them to the security committee, and if such material is found during a search, the owners will be subjected to the harshest disciplinary actions.
Therefore, we ask all of you to cooperate with the security committee, with our appreciation.