(BBC News) Across the sun-scorched landscape of the Nineveh Plain in Iraq, north of Mosul, a small contingent of fighters in sand-coloured uniforms is on patrol, 7.5 miles (12km) from the frontline with the self-styled Islamic State.
Nothing unusual in meeting men with guns in this part of the world, of course. But this unit is something new - these are all Christian soldiers.
Assyrian Christians say they are descended from the 1st Century peoples evangelised by the disciples of Jesus Christ. They still speak Aramaic, the language spoken by Jesus.
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