Local militias fill vacuum left by Iraq government forces

We drove to the outskirts of Mosul until it was too dangerous to go any further. It was the last checkpoint before the Islamic militants' are in control of the road.

Just outside the militants' control and vulnerable to attack is the Christian town of Bartella. CBS News correspondent Holly Williams says Christians have inhabited the town for nearly 1,500 years. The locals still pray in Aramaic, the language spoken by Jesus.

Captain Firaz Jacob is in charge of 600 local militiamen defending Bartella.

Williams asked him what they will do if the militants come.

"We don't know," he said. "But maybe they'll do what they've done in other places and kill us."

Iraqi government soldiers - trained and equipped by the U.S. - were supposed to protect this area but instead they ran away.

Just outside Bartella, we found an Iraqi military tank and the uniforms of the soldiers who abandoned it.

"The army is not popular," said Atheel Al-Nujaif, the governor of the province. He also fled the al Qaeda splinter group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

He told us Iraq's government is so weak, he's going to fight the Islamic extremists without the army's help.

"I'm collecting police from Mosul," he said. "I want to have our own local force - security force."

The Islamic militants have swept across northern Iraq and in doing that they have capitalized on a weak and divided country.

  • Holly Williams

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