Even while averring the right of self-defense, Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako said at meeting on August 20, that only "the forces of the State should take charge of this defense." Speaking at meetings organized by the Delegation of the Patriarchs of the Eastern Churches at Erbil, Iraq, Patriarch Raphael said that militias based on religious and/or ethnic identity "can destroy Iraq".
According to the Fides news service, Masud Barzani president of the Autonomous Region of Kurdistan, said on August 18 that he was willing to provide weapons to Christian volunteers to defend their people from the jihadis of the Islamic State. Patriarch Sako added that in the present situation, speaking in constitutional terms, the proposal to establish an autonomous area in the Nineveh Plain for Christian populations has become possible and according to him "acceptable," so long that it is obtained "through dialogue and not through conflict".
The delegation of Eastern Christian prelates included the Maronite Bechara Boutros Rai, the Greek-Melkite Patriarch Gregorios III, the Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignatius Joseph III and Syrian Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II.