CHRONICLE STUDY – With more than 1,500 components, the Syrian rebellion is clearly almost impossible to study completely. The forces of the regime of Assad clan are also gradually diversified, with the influx of foreign fighters from Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon or Iran and Afghanistan, and it’s turning into a myriad of elements. In this military diversity and chaos, we can’t forget the armed forces of Syrian Minorities: Armenian militias, Druze pro-regime fighters, now famous Kurdish forces autonomy of YPG and Jabhat al- Akrad… It’s time to study one of the most anecdotic force, and one of fewer force in this panorama, the Syriac Military Council.
The Syriac Military Council, also known as Mawtbo Fulhoyo Suryoyo [ MFS ], was officially born at the beginning of January 2013. Everything was done under the control of the Syriac Union Party, an Assyrian/Syriac communitarian party, launched since 2005. The principles outlined in the statement issued at its foundation are numerous. The first clearly marked is the overthrow of the Baathist regime of the Assad family. In addition, the statement denounced the » tyrannical » regime as having depleted and impoverished the Syriac people and not giving them any representation. In post-war goals, Syriac Military Council announced fighting for a democratic Syria, pluralistic and respecting the minorities in its territory. The Syriac Military Council assured defend the land of ancestors and its integrity. Thereafter, in interviews with several newspapers (Hurriyet Daily News, February 2, 2013), the Council assured to be in a position to act in the governorates of Aleppo, Rif Dimashq (Damascus), Latakia but also of Homs. Wishful thinking, far from reality, when we know that the Syriac Military Council is active, early 2014, only in the east and center of the governorate of al- Hasakah .
All forces of the Syriac Military Council aren’t higher than a few hundreds men and dozens of women trained to arms. Most are concentrated in the eastern part of al-Hasakah Governorate, including Tirbespi (al-Qahtaniya in Arabic) and Derik (Darik / al-Malikiyah in Arabic). Limited in men but also in military equipment. The main weapons of the fighters are models of common kalashnikovs. Some russian rocket launchers are also in their possession (used in training in the Academy of Martyr Abgar, founded December 16, 2013). Apart from this equipment, nothing is reported in their hands or heavy weapons or armor.
Religious commitment is a part of the spirit in the ranks of the Military Council. The birth of this force is made on a community cement, the Syriac cement. But beyond that, the presence of religion can’t be ignored. The involvement of the Syriac churches isn’t clear on the ground. During military formation, some clerics visits are signaled but without any but affirmed the denial would be a mistake. There clearly has a dual membership in the management of the claimed identity of the fighters beyond the Syrian soil . But conversely , if there is a clear support to the cause , it should in no Syriac see the Military Council as an army outgrowth of several churches located in the north- eastern Syria , far from it .
The involvement of SMC men and women at the heart of fighting in northeast Syria remains largely anecdotal and superficial. The first confrontation was when Syriac Military Council fighters were engaged in the battle for the village of Garduka in mid-December 2013 (after days of fighting alongside kurdish YPG, thevillage came under control of the SMC and YPG ) against the Islamic Front (Jabhat al-Islamiyya) and Jabhat al-Nusra, in the campaign to regain control of the region of Tal Hamis, that continued until early January before the coalition with YPG was defeated by the Islamic Front.
On January 8, 2014, following joint campaigns with YPG, the Command of the Syriac Military Council announced direct collaboration under YPG command. An important development while YPG, including the PYD men, became the most important forces in the region, to the point to declare a regional autonomy in late January 2014. If the SMC has integrated YPG Kurdish majority, it is not found so far in recent battles like al-Manajir (January 2014, won by the YPG against ISIS). The military involvement of SMC men is therefore limited, or exceptional cases, limied to checkpoints on roads or villages entrances.
The last point of this study is about the Syriac Military Council relationships with other forces in the governorate of Al-Hasakah and more specifically those present in their operation areas. Besides the very good relations with YPG, the Syriac Military Council moved gradually away from military leaders of the Free Syrian Army. But it has not been joining the regime. We can see that there’re no clear presence of SMC troops in Hasakah, the last major loyalist stronghold int he governorate with its bases in Qamishli. A situation contrary to the Sutoro police suspected of collaborate largely with loyalists. But it should be noted that the SMC works with Sutoro police. The two armed forces are related to the Syriac Union Party. Finally, we can talk about the good relations with the Kurdish Police asayiş.
Chronologie | Chronology :
– Early January 2013 | début janvier 2013 : fondation du Conseil Militaire Syriaque | Syriac Military Council creation.
– February – august 2013 | Février – aout 2013 : implantation dans l’est du gouvernorat d’al-Hasskah | locations in some cities and villages in Hasakah governorate eastern part.
– November – mid-décember 2013 | Novembre – mi-décembre 2013 : engagement dans plusieurs combats et principalement pour Garduka (victoire) | First battles, mainly for Garduka village (victory).
– December 2013 – January 6, 2014 | Décembre 2013 au 6 janvier 2014 : Tal Hamis military campaign and defeat | Campagne pour Tal Hamis et défaite.
– December 16, 2013 [ 16 décembre 2013 : Academy of Martyr Abgar foundation | L’Académie militaire du martyr Abgar est fondée.
– January 8, 2014 | 8 janvier 2014 : The Syriac Military Council part of autonomist YPG forces | Le Conseil Militaire Syriaque intègre les YPG autonomistes kurdes.
By | Par Cédric LABROUSSE
Le 4 février 2014