Syriac Union Party (Syria)
|Founded||1 October 2005|
|Military wing||Syriac Military Council|
|National affiliation||National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change|
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|This article is part of a series on the|
politics and government of
Syriac Union Party in Syria (Syriac: ܓܒܐ ܕܚܘܝܕܐ ܣܘܪܝܝܐ ܒܣܘܪܝܐ, Arabic: حزب الإتحاد السرياني في سورية, SUP) is a secular Syriac political party in Syria that represents the interests of Syrian-Assyrians and their communities in Syria and is committed to the "Dawronoye" modernization ideology. Established on 1 October 2005, since the start of the Syrian Civil War it has positioned itself on the side of secular, democratic and federalist Kurdish forces in Rojava, sceptical of both the Ba'athist Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian opposition.
Political role in Jazira Canton of Rojava
With the start of the Syrian Civil War in 2011, the Syriac Union Party aligned itself with the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), with which it shares a secular, pro-modernization and direct democracy based ideology. The Syriac Union Party later became part of the PYD-led Movement for a Democratic Society (TEV-DEM) coalition governing in the Federation of Northern Syria - Rojava. It has three deputies in the Syrian Democratic Council.
The Syriac Union Party has set up the Syriac Military Council militia as well as the Sutoro police force to protect Assyrian communities in their settlement areas in northeast Syria. Sutoro are integrated with the general Asayish police force of Jazira Canton of the Federation of Northern Syria - Rojava, however the Qamishli branch later broke away to align itself with the Assad government under the name of Sootoro. The Syriac Military Council has co-operated closely with the mainly Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) and later became part of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
Persecution by the Assad regime
The Syriac Union Party has been subject to continued repression by the Assad government during the civil war, despite being part of the nonviolent and officially-tolerated domestic opposition National Coordination Body. On 6 June 2013, government forces raided the Qamishli home of SUP Executive Committee member Rubel Gabriel Bahho, arresting and subsequently imprisoning him. On 12 August 2013, security forces apprehended SUP vice-president Sait Malki Cosar—the father of Sutoro leader Johann Cosar—as he disembarked at Qamishli Airport following a visit to Switzerland, where he holds dual citizenship. After being detained in Qamishli for several days, Cosar was transferred to a prison near Damascus and contact with him was lost. Neither party official is known to have been formally charged or tried in court, and neither has been released or heard from since their imprisonment. Their fates remain unknown as of February 2014.
Cosar is rumoured to have died under shadowy circumstances while in custody. The government produced a death certificate for Cosar that stated he died in Damascus of supposed "cardiac arrest" at either 10:00 or 10:25 PM on the day of his arrest, even though his flight did not even land in Qamishli until 10:30 PM. But despite requests from both the SUP and Cosar's family, government officials have refused to release his body. Cosar's relatives reportedly managed to track down the doctors in Damascus who signed the death certificate, who told them that the government frequently forces doctors to sign death certificates for detainees without allowing them to even see a corpse. Friends, family members, and party colleagues alike believe that Cosar may still be alive, and have alleged that the government is trying to conceal the fact that he has been tortured in custody.
- Carl Drott (25 May 2015). "The Revolutionaries of Bethnahrin". Warscapes. Retrieved 18 September 2016.
- "Qamishli's Cold War". Middle East Online. 18 November 2013.
- Carl Drott (18 November 2013). "Qamishli's Cold War". Le Monde Diplomatique. Retrieved 10 December 2013.
- Andrea Glioti (20 June 2013). "Syriac Christians, Kurds Boost Cooperation in Syria". Al-Monitor. Retrieved 17 December 2013.
- بيان حول اعتقال عضو حزب االتحاد السرياني السوريروبيل بحو (PDF) (in Arabic). Syriac Union Party in Syria. 7 June 2013. Retrieved 25 February 2014.
- "Syriac Leader Arrested by Assad-Regime" (PDF). ESU Newsletter: The Voice of the Syriacs. European Syriac Union. Issue no. 29. October 2013. Retrieved 25 February 2014.
- "Suryoye Einheitspartei – Syriac Union Party – Syrien". Suryoye News. 6 February 2014. Retrieved 25 February 2014.
- Illarietti, Davide (26 January 2014). "Ticinese rapito, spunta un certificato di morte "per arresto cardiaco"" (in Italian). Tio. Retrieved 25 February 2014.
- "Syrian embassy protest sees several detained in Sweden". IceNews. 15 August 2012. Retrieved September 10, 2012.
- Carl Drott: "The Revolutionaries of Bethnahrin", Warscapes, 25 May 2015
- Interview with the Chairman of the Syriac National Council (in German)
- Die Welt report about the Christian Sutoro militia (in German)