A member of the Assyrian Gozarto Protection Forces (GPF), consisting of Sutoro militia, a pro-government Syriac Christian movement, and other Assyrian fighters stands with his weapon wearing a crucifix as they re-group before heading to reinforce pro-government forces on the front line in the battle against the Islamic State (IS) group, in the northeastern Syrian province of Hasakeh on July 13, 2015. AFP PHOTO / YOUSSEF KARWASHAN (Photo credit should read YOUSSEF KARWASHAN/AFP/Getty Images)
YOUSSEF KARWASHAN/AFP/Getty Images
by Edwin Mora19 Apr 20172
Fighters from an anti-Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad Christian militia have urged U.S. President Donald Trump to assist them in combating the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) and al-Qaeda in Syria.
The Syriac Military Council (MFS) militia is identified by some news outlets as the armed wing of the Mesopotamia National Council (MUB) that primarily represents Assyrian Christians in northeastern al-Hasakah province in Syria.
Ryan Mauro, a national security analyst at the Clarion Project, reports that “The Syriac Military Council (MFS) [was] launched by the Syriac Union Party in January 2013 and is estimated to be about 2,000-strong and includes a Christian female unit named the Beth Nahrin Women Protection Forces. The organization includes Christians identifying as Assyrians, Syriacs and Chaldeans.”
In 2015, the MFS joined a Kurdish militia as well as some Arab and Turkish rebels, among other members of ethnoreligious groups in Syria, to form the estimated 50,000-strong Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance backed by the U.S. military.
About 1,000 women also form part of the SDF alliance, which is preparing to fight ISIS to retake Raqqa, the group’s de-facto capital.
In a statement requesting assistance from President Trump, MFS fighters also urged the United States to treat them as equals with the Arab SDF troops.
The MSF argues that the U.S. military aid favors the Turkmen and Arab fighters of the SDF over the Christians and the Kurds.
Mauro quotes the Christian militia’s statement as saying:
There is no single reason to exclude us from the same support in equipment as is given to the Arabs. The fact that we suffered under genocides emphasizes the need for delivery of military equipment. If we are weak, we are a target of the extremist forces that the SDF is fighting against.
We will be part of any operation against Raqqa, regardless our current level of military equipment. We cannot imagine that the U.S. would deliberately want us to be poorer equipped than our Arab partners when we go into that big battle.
We thank the U.S. for the air support given in crucial battles and the support to the SDF. We also hope that this is an opportunity to work together for the long-term security and freedom of our people and all the peoples of the region.”
Unlike many Christians in Syria, the MFS opposes the murderous Assad regime.
“The MFS is on the side of the secular-democratic Syrian opposition, even if it doesn’t directly engage Assad’s forces,” points out Mauro.
It “started out as a staunchly anti-government militia, and its leaders insist that its views have not changed,” adds Middle East Eye.
The MFS has condemned the Assad regime as a “murder machine.”
Assad has exploited the fight against ISIS to stay in power, argued the MFS commander in Hasakah.
“They [the Assad regime] are the ones that bring ISIS in… We want to launch attacks on ISIS, but the army of the regime does not allow us to. They have contracted different outside militias, some of which are sympathetic to ISIS, and allowed them to enter and loot homes,” he declared.
Meanwhile, other Christian leaders have blasted the United States for bombing Assad assets following the dictator’s most recent use of chemical weapons against its own people, killing and injuring dozens of people, including children.
“I am sure that most Christians fear the fall of the Assad regime, but that doesn’t mean support for Assad per se,” the Clarion Project’s Mauro, who served as a volunteer researcher for the U.S.-based Syrian opposition group known as the Reform Party of Syria, told Breitbart News. “There have been Christian figures involved in the Syrian opposition for years before the large protests began.”
“One of the problems we have is that Assad and his propaganda apparatus are obviously going to elevate Christian supporters of the regime, just like Iran highlights Iraqi Christians who celebrate when Iranian proxies beat back ISIS,” he continued. “It is a key strategy of Iran and the Assad regime to appear as the protectors of Christians.”
Mauro went on to say the extent to which the Syrian Christian community at large supports Assad is nearly impossible to measure.
“This makes it very difficult for us to gauge Christian support for Assad or opposition forces,” he told Breitbart News. “While it’s safe to assume the Christians would favor Assad over ISIS and genocidal jihadists, that doesn’t make them Assad supporters or necessarily opponents of all opposition forces.”
The U.S.-backed SDF alliance is dominated in manpower and militarily led by members of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, a component of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) that controls large swathes of northern Syria.
Turkey insists that the Syrian Kurdish groups are affiliated with the U.S.-designated communist terrorist group known as the Kurdistan Worker’s Party, a claim disputed by the MFS Christian militia.