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‘Christians Should Protect Themselves in Syria’ as Daesh Violence Grows

© AFP 2023 / HO / ALBARAKA NEWSDaesh (ISIL) militants waving the trademark Jihadits flag as vehicles drive on a newly cut road through the Syrian-Iraqi border between the Iraqi Nineveh province and the Syrian town of Al-Hasakah
Daesh (ISIL) militants waving the trademark Jihadits flag as vehicles drive on a newly cut road through the Syrian-Iraqi border between the Iraqi Nineveh province and the Syrian town of Al-Hasakah - Sputnik International
The Syriac Security Office commonly known as the Sutoro Police is a Syriac (Assyrian) Christian militia in the Al-Hasakah Governorate of the Syrian Arab Republic. The Head of the Foreign Relations of Sutoro Police spoke to Sputnik in an exclusive interview about the component of Sutoro Forces, their location and their goals.

Akhikar Rashid said that the “The Gazerto Protection Forces (Sutoro Police) are a group of Christian youth in general, which is comprised of Syriacs, Assyrians, Armenians and all Christian communities that existed in the al-Jazira area.”

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The head further explained that the group was formed for the purpose of self-protection in the areas where Christians live. “It was developed to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Arab Syrian Army, and we participated in battles that took place in al-Hasakah, al-Qamishli District, Khabur and others.”

Earlier, it was reported that Daesh militants had captured 36 Christian villages along the Khabur River in the province of Hasakah in February. The extremist group destroyed ancient churches, killed scores of civilians and kidnapped over 300 Assyrians in the offensive.

Rashid further said that the group is financially and spiritually supported by its own people from abroad; “it is aimed at maintaining self-protection and fighting terrorism; they are located in al-Hasakah, al-Qamishli, and Khabur.”

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According to the head, the group is ready to cooperate with any faction or party to fight together against terrorism, “but there are some parties that do not accept/approve the name of the Arab Syrian Army, or even the country, or even the Syrian national flag… Therefore, we disagree with this and we ought to give a respond to a lot of ‘media attacks’ against us.”

Talking about Daesh, the head said that the southeast of al-Hasakah and southeast of Abdel-Aziz Mountain are under the militants’ control.

Earlier it was reported that over 15,000 Assyrian Christian families remain at risk in Syria amid the ongoing crisis, according to the Assyrian Church of the East in Lebanon.

Rashid said that for more support the group depends very much on the fact that their voice reaches “Geneva Conference”.

“We are excluded as Syriac and Assyrian component from attending the Conference; we do not know who stands behind this. We attended the talks Moscow-1 and Moscow-2; therefore, we wish that the Russian leadership take in consideration the Assyrian component and represent it in the Conference,” Rashid concluded.

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