- Title: Iraqi forces celebrate recapture of Bartella
- Date: 22nd October 2016
- Summary: BARTELLA, IRAQ (OCTOBER 22, 2016) (REUTERS) IRAQI COUNTER TERRORISM FORCES (CTS) GATHERED OUTSIDE CHURCH IN BARTELLA VARIOUS OF COUNTER-TERRORISM VEHICLE IN STREET CTS VEHICLE DRIVING THROUGH TOWN MEMBERS OF THE CTS FORCES CHANTING (Arabic): "WHERE ARE WE GOING? MOSUL. TO DO WHAT? BECOME MARTYRS" VARIOUS OF SOLDIER WALKING THROUGH STREET (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) HEAD OF COUNTER-TERRORISM UNIT, LIEUTENANT GENERAL ABDELGHANI AL-ASSADI, SAYING: "The primary stages involved Bartella and its outskirts reaching Kokaji. These places are empty of its residents, who are mostly Christians and Yazidis. They were forced to flee over a year ago by Daesh. Two days ago we began liberating it, starting with Bartella." GRAFFITI READING (Arabic): "CHRISTIAN" GRAFFITI READING (Arabic): "PROPERTY OF THE ISLAMIC STATE" SOLDIERS ON THE LOOKOUT FROM A ROOF VARIOUS OF SOLDIER WALKING IN STREET VARIOUS OF DAMAGED HOMES VARIOUS OF CTS VEHICLES DRIVING THROUGH THE TOWN VARIOUS OF DAMAGED HOMES BULLET CASINGS ON THE GROUND
- Embargoed: 6th November 2016 15:06
- Keywords: Mosul Iraq Islamic State Kurds Bartella celebration Christian Assyrian
- Location: BARTELLA, IRAQ
- City: BARTELLA, IRAQ
- Country: Iraq
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace,Military Conflicts
- Reuters ID: LVA0015535O3R
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Members of the elite Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service celebrated in the streets of Bartella town on Saturday (October 22), two days after recapturing it from Islamic State.
Bartella was once home to thousands of Assyrian Christians, but it emptied out in August 2014 when the militants took over.
Nearby Qaraqosh, Iraq's largest Christian town, still remains under militant control, according to a commander in the Kurdish Peshmerga.
Islamic State has targeted the adherents and religious sites of minority communities in both Iraq and Syria. It issued an ultimatum to Christians: pay a tax, convert to Islam, or die by the sword. Most, including all of Bartella's residents, fled towards the autonomous Kurdish region.
Head of the Counter-Terrorism forces, Lieutenant General Abdelghani Assadi, said Bartella was only a first step.
The militants dispatched more than a dozen vehicle-borne IEDs against government forces in the span of a few hours on Thursday, Iraqi commanders said, but they left many more planted throughout the town's streets and buildings.
The road west into Bartella is littered with the remnants of that battle: bullet casings, deactivated improvised explosive devices (IEDs), shrapnel from car bombs and roadside blasts.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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