02/08/2020 Iraq (International Christian Concern) – Protesters in Tel Adas, a village located between Mosul and Dohuk, blocked the road on Thursday to demonstrate against the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) and demand their withdrawal from Nineveh. This was a rare sign of unified public outcry against the PMF, as many residents have been intimidated into more private discussions of disapproval.
The PMF are Iranian-backed militias that took control of the Nineveh Plains after they seized the territory from the Islamic State. These militias stand accused by locals and many in the international community of conducting systematic human rights abuses and forcing demographic change. The Nineveh Plains is the most religiously diverse location in Iraq. Prior to ISIS, it was home to most of Iraq’s Christian and Yazidi communities. However, slow reconstruction efforts combined with militia activities have prevented many from returning home. Those who do are subjected to harassment, intimidation, and exhortation at the hands of the militias.
These militias have become more aggressive in Iraq following a US drone strike last month which killed their leader and Iranian sponsor.