ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – Nineveh Plains should be liberated from the Islamic State (IS) and Christians' rights and future shall be secured, said a Christian political party leader on Wednesday.
Romio Hakkari, the Secretary-General of the Assyrian Bet al-Nahrain Party, told Kurdistan24 in Washington DC that the purpose of his visit is to gain the US support in liberating Christian areas in the province of Nineveh located in northern Iraq which is often called "Nineveh Plains."
In June 2014, IS emerged in Mosul, the second-largest city in Iraq. The group controlled large swaths of territory in the northern country that according to Hakkari displaced about 200,000 Christians.
He mentioned that during his visit to Washington DC, he met with the US congressmen and officials from the State Department, asking for the Christian rights in Nineveh Plains and the future of people in the area.
Moreover, Hakkari stated that he discussed the co-existence between the Christians and other religious and ethnic groups in Nineveh, including the Kurdish Yezidi (Ezidi) people.
The Bet-Nahrain Democratic Party is an Assyrian political bloc in Iraq. After 2003, Christians were divided into some small parties in the Kurdistan Region and Iraq.
Previously, Hakkari told Kurdistan24 that, “We ask the international community to defeat the brutal IS group and protect Christians in Iraq by establishing the Nineveh Plains province.”
He mentioned that Christians in Nineveh Plains desire their own region independent from Nineveh.
“We do not want to be part of the possible Sunni autonomous region in Iraq,” Hakkari stated, claiming the Sunnis in Nineveh discriminate against Christians in the area.
He also noted that they put efforts in creating Nineveh Plains for Christians, and will continue to gain more support from the international community and Washington administration.
Christians have established the Nineveh Plains forces that are administrated and supervised by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Peshmerga Ministry.
The Nineveh Plains troops fight hand in hand with Peshmerga forces to liberate their territories from IS insurgents.
“We will continue to build more forces after the defeat of Da’esh to protect our areas from any threats,” Hakkari added, using Arabic pejorative term for IS.
Editing by Ava Homa