Two hours northwest of Erbil is the Telskuf front line of the war on ISIS. Here the common day-to-day sounds of a once sleepy rural town have been replaced by war. Telskuf was evacuated in August of 2014 on the heels of an ISIS takeover. It was soon taken back by Kurdish Peshmerga fighters after a ten-day battle. Some 7,200 residents are now scattered to safer communities a few minutes drive from the front line. The only people left are soldiers. This is where the Nineveh Plains Force (NPF), one of several Assyrian Christian militia devoted to protecting Christian communities in the region, have set up their fight against ISIS alongside the Peshmerga.
According the website Restore Nineveh Now, the NPF exists “…to safeguard existing Assyrian and Yezidi lands and to take back what ISIS has plundered…” The NPF are under the command of the Peshmerga, which is required in order to fight on the front line.
Despite a lack, and dire need, for more equipment and heavier weapons, the NPF does what it can to uphold its mission. Volunteers with the NPF range in age, although most look like they are in their early 20’s. In another world they might be teachers, engineers, cab drivers or famers. Here however, in the war-torn town of Telskuf, they are soldiers trying to protect their homeland.