Military Wiki
Malik Khoshaba d'Malik Yousip
ܡܠܟ ܚܕܒܫܒܐ ܝܘܣܦ
Native name ܡܠܟ ܚܕܒܫܒܐ ܝܘܣܦ
Nickname Lion of Tyari [1]
Born 1877
Died 1954 (aged 76–77)
Place of birth Tyari, Hakkari, Ottoman Empire
Place of death Iraq
Allegiance Tyari tribe
Allies of World War I
Commands held Lower Tyari tribe
Assyrian volunteers, later the Assyrian levies

World War I

  • Persian campaign
  • Battle of Seray Mountain

Malik Khoshaba Yousip (Syriac language: ܡܠܟ ܚܕܒܫܒܐ ܝܘܣܦ) was an Assyrian tribal leader (or "malik") of the Tyari tribe (Bit Tyareh) who played a significant role in the Assyrian independence movement during World War I.

Early life

Malik Khoshaba was born in the village of Lizan in the Lower Tyari region of which lies in modern-day Turkey. Khoshaba descended from the distinguished "Bet Polous" family of ancient lineage. Khoshaba completed his primary education at a Presbyterian missionary in Tyari before continuing his secondary studies in Mosul and completing his further studies at the American college in Urmia. Khoshaba was well versed in several languages such as English, Arabic, Kurdish and Russian that made him a standout individual within the Tyari Assyrians.[2]

Khoshaba's father, Malik Patto of Lower Tyari, fought against Bedr Khan Beg of Bohtan during the 1843 and 1846 massacres in Hakkari in 1843. Patto's family ruled over Tyari for 600 years and was successful in bringing back Patriarch Mar Abraham Shimun to Hakkari after the attacks of Badr Khan.[3]

World War I

Khoshaba led forces in counterattacks against the far larger Ottoman Army and allied Kurdish troops during and after the period known as the Assyrian Genocide with some success. Khoshaba was known for his bravery, cruelty and military capabilities during this time.

The Assyrian forces under the command of Malik Khoshaba and General Agha Petros numbered some 6,000 men, flanked by Allied (mainly Russian) troops. Their task at the time was to hold the front against the Turks who were attempting to advance on the city of Baku, in which they were successful in doing so for seven months (January - July 1918) while surrounded by enemy forces.[4]

During the first summer of the arrival of the Assyrian refugees in Iran, the Assyrians of Lower Tyari under the leadership of Malik Khoshaba were settled around the mountains of Seray where they were besieged by Turkish and Kurdish forces under the command of Khalil Pasha. During the night, Malik Khiyo of Ashitha (17 years old at the time) observed two groups crossing his front, positioned himself in an artillery observation post and directed a moonlight strike to hold off the enemy. Two of Khoshaba's patrols were successful in capturing Turkish and Kurdish soldiers to gather intel about their positions. Khoshaba was also successful in preventing the enemy's field guns from damaging his post at dawn, while also bringing in twenty-four Turkish prisoners and personally killing four Turkish soldiers. By 7:30am, the enemy was beaten by the men of Khoshaba and Khiyo of Ashitha.[5]

On 13 August 1917, in Seray and Mavana, the Assyrians were surrounded by the 5th and 6th Divisions, under the leadership of Iskander Pasha, who vowed to annihilate the Assyrian race with their Kurdish and Persian allies. Khoshaba decided to withdraw his men to their defences for the night, and to send out patrols to halt the enemy moving towards Seray. By 10:30pm the Assyrians had captured eighty-eight prisoners and a mass of arms. Khoshaba, who could speak fluent Turkish, questioned the prisoners, most of whom claimed no reinforcements would be arriving. Khoshaba also translated a captured code of signals which would call for mortar bombs. Early the following morning, Khoshaba captured more Turkish prisoners; among them was a Turkish army colonel, second in command to Iskander Pasha.[6]

Later life

Malik Khoshaba was appointed the president of the Assyrian Advisory Committee which was made up of a number of influential Assyrian tribal leaders. This led to two factions developing within the Assyrians of Iraq, a patriarchal faction led by Shimun XXI Eshai and a non-patriarchal faction led by Malik Khoshaba and Mar Zaya Sargis, Bishop of Jilu.[7] The tension between the two factions reached a pinnacle according to a letter from the Administrative Inspector of Mosul to the Ministry of Interior, on 19 June 1933, Khoshaba, accompanied with Malik Khiyo of Ashitha and Malik Zaia Shams-al-Din of Lower Tyari left from Nohadra to Amadiya against the wishes of the Qaimmaqam who warned Khoshaba that Malik Yaqo was awaiting him on the road with at least 80 armed men. This resulted in the Mustarrif sending Iraqi police to ensure Khoshaba and his accompanions were not harmed and further drove the split between the factions.[8]


Later in life, Khoshaba became a figure of great controversy among Assyrians. He was seen by many (though not all) as a divisive figure, particularly with regards to undermining the cause of Assyrian autonomy within the newly created and Arab dominated state of Iraq in 1932.[9]

According to British Army officer Ronald Sempill Stafford, Khoshaba murdered his own wife and daughter, believing that she had engaged in immoral conduct.[10] He escaped to Turkey, where he is rumoured to have killed a bear while armed only with a knife.[citation needed]

Khoshaba's son Col. Yosip d'Malik Khoshaba (1914 - 2000) who was opposed to the family of Patriarch Mar Eshai Shimun, was instrumental in the split between the Assyrian Church of the East and the Ancient Church of the East, despite Col. Yosip himself being a Protestant.[11]

See also


  1. E Werda, Rev Joel (1924). The Flickering Light of Asia or the Assyrian Nation and Church. Author. 
  3. Mooken, Mar Aprem (1 January 2003). The History of the Assyrian Church of the East in the Twentieth Century. St. Ephrem's Ecumenical Research Institute. p. 222. 
  4. Yacoub, Joseph. Year of the Sword: The Assyrian Christian Genocide, A History. Oxford University Press. p. 179. ISBN 978-0-19-063346-2. 
  5. Haddad, Eva (1953). The Assyrian, The Rod of My Anger. E. Haddad. pp. 57–62. ISBN 9780646284187. 
  6. Haddad, Eva (1953). The Assyrian, The Rod of My Anger. E. Haddad. pp. 87–96. ISBN 9780646284187. 
  7. Donabed, Sargon. Reforging a Forgotten History: Iraq and the Assyrians in the Twentieth Century. Edinburgh University Press. ISBN 978-1474412124. 
  9. December 15, 2003
  10. Stafford, Ronald Sempill Stafford (1935). The Tragedy of the Assyrian Minority in Iraq. Routledge. p. 122. Retrieved 2018-07-06. 
  11. Mooken, Mar Aprem (1 January 2003). The History of the Assyrian Church of the East in the Twentieth Century. St. Ephrem's Ecumenical Research Institute. p. 222. 

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