NORTH AND EAST SYRIA – Recently, SyriacPress briefly interviewed Mr. Sanharib Barsoum, Co-Chair of the Syriac Union Party (SUP) in Syria. The SUP is a founding member of the Democratic Autonomous Administration (DAA) of North and East Syria, the administrative body founded in 2014 based on democratic local governance and multiculturalism.
It’s military wing, the Syriac Military Council (MFS), is a founding member of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a partner of the International Coalition against Daesh. The MFS took part in many battles against the Islamic State, including the offensive to liberate Raqqa.
Currently, the MFS is defending Tel Tamr and its surrounding villages in the predominantly Christian Khabur Valley from the Turkish military and the Syrian National Army (SNA), a collection of militias, including several espousing Islamist ideologies, formed and funded by Turkey. Turkey and the SNA invaded the region in October 2019, displacing 300,000 Syriac, Arab, and Kurdish civilians.
SyriacPress: How has the Syriac Union Party fared during the course of the Syrian crisis?
Mr. Sanharib Barsoum: During the nine-year-long Syrian crisis, the Syriac Union Party was able to play an important role on the Syrian scene. SUP represented the goals and aspirations of the Syriac people and struggled to assert their rights within a broader framework, which is achieving a democratic transition in Syria and establishing a new constitution that enshrines the existing pluralism in Syria and eliminates unilateralism in nationalism, language, culture, and even in the political arena.
SP: How does the SUP perceive the Syrian revolution, at its beginning and now?
SB: SUP believes that the goals of the Syrian revolution, which was launched for freedom, dignity, rights and justice, are noble and will continue until they are achieved because the final word is for the will of the people.
A dangerous deviation of the revolution had taken place, due to the internal and external influences that harmed the people, caused a breakdown of their aspirations and turned into a tool to achieve an external agenda. However, the Syriac Union Party was far from this axis and remained within its basic principles which cost it huge sacrifices but was able – with its partners from other components – to establish a Democratic Autonomous Administration (DAA). SUP was able to defend this project and install it more on the ground. We consider the DAA project the cornerstone of change in Syria on the basis of a decentralized system, to achieve what every honorable and free Syrian who is unrelated to any regional or international agenda.
How do you see the role of the SUP as the situation in Syria continues to develop?
SUP will continue its struggle until the required change is achieved in Syria. The Assyrian-Syriac people, who will not remain silent, will struggle until they obtain their rights and the rights of all Syrian people, and until freedom and justice is achieved across all of Syria.