Toma Tomas

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Toma Tomas
ܬܐܘܡܐ ܬܐܘܡܐܣ
Toma Tomas.jpeg
Toma Tomas in his seventies
Died15 October 1996 (aged 72)
Other namesAbu Joseph
OccupationGuerilla leader
Known forGuerilla leader

Toma Tomas (Syriac : ܬܐܘܡܐ ܬܐܘܡܐܣ) (1924-1996) also known by his nom de guerre Abu Joseph, was an Assyrian, [1] politician and the leader of anti-government communist militias (al-Ansar) in northern Iraq during the 1960s and 70s.


Early life

Toma Tomas was an ethnic Assyrian, [1] born in Alqosh, in 1924, he was an adherent to the Chaldean Catholic Church. He witnessed the Simele Massacre first-hand when Assyrians escaped the massacres to Alqosh. This event was crucial in shaping his political ideas in the future. [2]

After finished elementary school in Alqosh, he moved to Mosul where he finished high school and joined the Assyrian levies. He later found his way to Kirkuk to work at an oil company. There he joined the Iraqi Communist Party in the early 1950s. [3]

Struggle against the central government

Toma Tomas with another Assyrian fighter in winter 1964. Toma Tomas 1964.jpg
Toma Tomas with another Assyrian fighter in winter 1964.

He moved to his home town after the 1958 14 July Revolution which brought the communists to power. The situation didn't last long however, the Arab nationalists revolted and the prime minister Abd al-Karim Qasim was executed. The communists where summarily executed and some headed by Toma Tomas fled to the mountains of north of Iraq where they formed armed guerilla’s known as the Ansar and joined the Kurds in their struggle against the central government. [4]

For almost 30 years Toma Tomas led the Ansar in many battles against the Iraqi army in the region stretching from the Turkish borders to Telkepe to the south. [3]


He died in Syria on 15 October 1996 and was buried at the Chaldean cemetery in Nohadra. His remains were reburied in his home town Alqosh in 2010. [5]

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  1. 1 2 "Toma Tomas Ethnic Assyrian". 11 June 2016.
  2. "Papers of Toma Tomas". Archived from the original on 2016-10-18. Retrieved 2016-10-15.
  3. 1 2 الأصيل توما توماس , لم يكن للكراهية مكانا في قلبه. [ permanent dead link ], NirgalGate (in Arabic)
  4. في الذكرى الثامنة لرحيل ( توما توماس - ابوجوزيف ), (in Arabic)
  5. نقل رفاة البيشمركة الانصاري توما توماس لمسقط راسه بعد اكثر من عقد على وفاته Archived 2012-07-18 at , AKnews (in Arabic)