Syria's Christian Militia: "We want to protect our people"

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Al-Malikiya, Syria
January 13, 2015

In the northeastern province of Hasaka, Syria, the Christian Assyrian community has formed its own police force. Members of Sutoro, which means “security” in the Assyrian language, said in interviews featured in this video that they protect their people. A Sutoro commander also invited all the Assyrians who left the area for their security to return.
The first Sutoro headquarters was officially set up in the town of Derik (also known as Al-Malikiya) in 2013, in cooperation with the Kurdish PYD party, which has set up an autonomous administration in large parts of Hasaka province and other predominantly Kurdish areas.

1- Various of Sutoro fighters

2- SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Jawad, Sutoro fighter
(00:18-00:32) "We came to defend our land, our people and our dignity. We are patrolling the streets and setting up checkpoints. All of this is to protect our people."

3- Close up of Sutoro fighter’s badge
4- Wide of Sutoro flag
5- Wide of Sutoro fighter behind gate
6- Medium of Sutoro vehicle
7- Various of Sutoro fighters in vehicle

8- SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Qassem, Sutoro fighter
(00:55-01:05) “The goals of the organization are to protect the people. Protect the civilians and their properties from the mercenaries and terrorists.”

  1. SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man), Abdel Ahad Abdel Ahad, Sutoro field commander

"We are a security organisation that belongs to our Christian people. We are called Sutoro [security in the Assyrian language]. We established this security headquarters to solve our people’s problem in this area and to defend our churches and our people’s properties. In case we get any complaint, we register it and try to solve it and in case we were not able to solve it, we take it to the People’s Court. We have come to protect to protect this country. We want to say a word to our citizens, especially Christians who left this area and went to other countries because of the situation. We tell them to come back; do not be afraid of anything. There is nothing to be afraid of."

  1. Wide of Sutoro vehicle patrolling a street
  2. Wide of Sutoro fighters at checkpoint
  3. Wide of Sutoro flag
  4. Wide of car going through a checkpoint manned by Sutoro fighters
  5. Various of Sutoro fighters in patrol vehicle
  6. Close up of Sutoro fighter’s badge
  7. Wide of Sutoro fighter at checkpoint