Captain Firaz Jacob knows he may well be mounting a last stand at the frontiers of the Christian settlement of Bartella on the outskirts of Mosul.
Less than a mile down the road are the jihadists of Isis, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, and the portly, middle-aged Mr Jacob is aware that his home-grown militia are outnumbered.
“I stand here waiting for my destiny,” he said, as he stood this week by the last check-point on the road to Mosul and the black flags waiting in the desert.
Speaking of why he and his men were refusing to give up and go, Capt Jacob said was determined to resist the jihadists and their allies, who last week over-ran most of the rest of northern Iraq.
“We will stay here despite everything,” he announced. “All these armed groups we have seen, but nevertheless we will remain. We love our Christian way of life, we love our churches and we love our community.”