ASIA/IRAQ - Assyrian Patriarch Gewargis III visits Telkaif and meets the head of the "Babylonian Brigades"

Wednesday, 21 June 2017 paramilitary groups   middle east   oriental churches  


Mosul (Agenzia Fides) - Mar Gewargis III, Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East, visited the territories of the Nineveh Plain, liberated from the occupation of the militia of the Islamic State (Daesh). During his visit on Saturday, June 17, the Primate of the Assyrian Church met with Ryan al Keldani, in Telkaif, head of the so-called "Babylonian Brigades", formation of the popular protection militias who in recent months have sought to carve out a role in the anti-jihadist military operations, insisting on the presence of Christian militias in their ranks. According to information by the "Babylonian Brigades" and relaunched by local media, the Assyrian Patriarch expressed words of praise and admiration for the "courage" shown by the popular protection militias and the contribution they provided in the liberation of the Nineveh Plain.
In the past, several times, the Chaldean Patriarch had expressed unequivocal distances regarding the "Babylonian Brigades" and attempts to accredit the presence of "Christian" militias on Iraqi war scenarios. In March 2016, Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako had strongly reaffirmed that the Chaldean Church "has no direct or indirect links with the so-called Babylonian Brigades, nor with any other armed militia that appears as a Christian". In February last year (see Fides 16/2/2017), the Chaldean Patriarchate had also distanced himself from Ryan al Keldani, after the militian, in a television program, had argued that even Christian armed groups had organized themselves to participate in the battle of Mosul and take revenge on Sunni Muslims. On that occasion, the Chaldean Patriarchate immediately issued an official statement in which it was strongly emphasized that Ryan 'the Chaldean' has no connection with the morality taught by Christ, messenger of peace, love and forgiveness, and cannot "make such statements involving Christians", as "it does not represent them in any way". (GV) (Agenzia Fides 21/6/2017)