6,000 Iraqi Sunnis Vow to Aid US

Iraqi civilian forces help decrease violence as refugees return home
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 29, 2007 7:44 AM CST
Iraqi refugees pack their luggage on a bus at al-Sayda Zeinab, southern Damascus on Tuesday Nov. 27. 2007 ahead of their return trip to Iraq. In the first-ever convoy financed by their government, hundreds...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Almost 6,000 Sunni Arab civilians in Iraq turned against Al-Qaeda yesterday and signed a pact to help US forces police possible insurgent escape routes. As insurgents seek to gain a foothold in the semi-autonomous north, American officials hailed the alliance, which is the Iraq war’s largest single volunteer effort, AP reports.

The new fighters will be paid $275 monthly—comparable to a typical Iraqi policeman’s salary—and will cover about 200 security checkpoints starting next month. One mayor cited local murders by the insurgents, and vowed: “I will not let them continue their killing.” Thousands of Iraqis have helped American forces dampen violence, and thousands of refugees are returning home to Iraq from Syria.