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Iraq’s minorities demand weapons, training

Following the advances made by the Islamic State in Iraqi areas with large minority populations, there are widespread calls for arms and international protection.
A woman prays inside a damaged church in Maaloula August 21, 2014. Residents of Maaloula, a Christian town in Syria, call on other Christian groups and minorities to stand up to the radicalism that is sweeping across Syria and Iraq. The town was regained by Syrian Army forces in April from Islamic militants, and several months later life is slowly returning to the town. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki (SYRIA - Tags: POLITICS SOCIETY RELIGION) - RTR43A30

Following the huge regression in the situation of Iraq's minorities after the Islamic State (IS) took control of many of the regions where they reside, they were left with no choice but to call for being armed and trained to protect themselves from the attacks they have witnessed from extremists. This call has not been limited to arming a specific minority, but rather became a mass call advocated by leaders, political parties, activists and individuals in various ways.

On Sept. 7, Hadi Baba Sheikh, the chairman of the Supreme Yazidi Spiritual Council, called on the international community to arm the Yazidis in the Sinjar Mountains to confront the danger of IS militants, who still control the city of Sinjar. He also called for the establishment of a safe region in the plains of Ninevah province, which is characterized by vast religious and ethnic diversity. This area is one of the regions disputed by Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), and IS controls most of it. On Aug. 5, hundreds of Yazidis held large demonstrations in the cities of Dahuk province, demanding that they be granted arms to defend their regions.

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