A militia that primarily represents Assyrian Christians in Syria’s northeastern al-Hasakah province confirms to Breitbart News that not all Christians in Syria support the war-ravaged country’s dictator Bashar al-Assad, as common knowledge has suggested.
“We stand as I said not only against the acts and policies of the Assad regime but all the other backward, extreme and terrorist groups which target and threaten the existence of our people in Syria,” Sewerios Malke of the estimated 2,000-strong Syriac Military Council (MFS) militia told Breitbart News.
“The Syriac and Christian people in the regime-controlled areas are still facing several oppressions and threats including terrorizing by pro-regime forces, killing, kidnapping for ransom and other threats too which happened hundreds of times, especially in areas far from the terrorist controlled areas as it [the regime] calls them,” later revealed Malke.
Assad considers all opposition groups, including those backed by the United States, to be terrorists.
Although many Christians across the country have “reluctantly” directed their loyalty to Assad, the MFS militia has spoken against the dictator and requested direct assistance from President Donald Trump’s administration.
Malke accused the Assad regime of oppressing Syrian Christians and using them as cannon fodder.
The dictator “was oppressing them [Christians] and denying them their national, ethnic, cultural and political rights,” he said, adding, “He used them as a shield for what it wanted to accomplish. He used their areas as military areas against the opposition forces, and that resulted in them being targets.”
Moreover, the militia spokesman also said the dictator used his relationship with the Christians for propaganda — to promote an image of himself as the protector and savior of the ethnoreligious minority group.
“The Syrian regime has been using the Syriac and Christian card a lot to make propaganda for its benefit, but the reality is — neither now nor in the past — it was caring about the Syriac Christian situation,” proclaimed the militia spokesman.
Asked what he would request from President Trump if he had the opportunity to speak to him face-to-face, Malke said he would ask for direct military “support needed for our forces” who are fighting against the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL).
He noted that, right now, U.S. military aid is only reaching other opposition groups. The MFS militia is part of the U.S.-backed Syria Democratic Forces (SDF), a Kurdish-Arab alliance, preparing to fight ISIS jihadists to retake their Syrian de-facto capital Raqqa.
In the offensives leading up to the fight for Raqqa, “we gave a lot of sacrifices and lost many of our friends, leaders, and fighters,” pointed out Malke, adding:
Mainly the Syria Democratic Forces are receiving a great amount of support from the USA and the international coalition, and we are thankful for that, but it is basically focused for the Arab Coalition in SDF. We would like to ask for special support for our Syriac Christian forces that would enable us to function more efficiently and fulfill our goal to protect our people and possibly expand our operations to protect the Syriac Christian community in other areas in Syria like Homs, Hama and Damascus countryside.
The U.S.-backed SDF is led and predominantly made up of fighters from the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the armed wing of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) that controls large swathes of northern Syria.
MFS is identified by some news outlets as the armed wing of the Mesopotamia National Council (MUB). It was launched in January 2013 by the Syriac Union Party. MFS members include Syrian Christians who identify as Assyrians, Syriacs, and Chaldeans.
The Syrian dictator transformed a monastery in the Christian-majority city of Mhardeh, located in northern Hama province, into “an artillery base to bomb the surrounding areas,” pointed out Malke.
Residents of regime-controlled Mhardeh recently urged the Syrian regime and their allies, including Iran’s terror proxy Hezbollah, to leave their territory.
Persecution and genocide at the hands of jihadist groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda have forced most Syrian Christians into territory controlled by either Assad or the Kurds.
After days of deadly clashes in August 2016, the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed wing, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), signed a ceasefire with the Assad regime that gave the Kurds control of most of al-Hasakah province, where MFS is based.
The MFS spokesman told Breitbart News that Assad repeatedly refused to defend Christians from their enemies or provide them the necessary tools to fight the terrorist group themselves.
“All Christians who live in western Syria and close to [the Syrian capital] Damascus are aligned with the Syrian government,” argued retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Sargis Sangari, the head of the Near East Center for Strategic Engagement and expert on Assyrian Christian issues.
He added that Christians in al-Hasakah and in eastern Syria “must stick with the Kurds and other power brokers in the east, including those aligned with either Russia or Turkey for survival.”
“The Christians in the middle sections of Syria (Homs-Damascus area) are mostly Arab Christians who maintain a force of about 20,000 fighters supported by the Assad regime,” also said Col. Sangari, who also serves as an adviser for the Iraq-based Assyrian Army known as Dwekh Nawsha.