Sootoro (Syriac Protection Office) (Syria)

Country: Syria
Details of Formation: Sootoro had its beginnings in the Sutoro militia. This was a militia set up by the Syriac Union Party (SUP) in 2012. In Qamishli, the Sutoro took commands from a peace committee that also included other Syriac organizations. In this city, Sutoro members were fighting in one militia, despite some approving of and others rejecting the Syrian government. As Sutoro faced the same enemy as the government, radical Islamist groups, they did not fight the government in order to focus only on the imminent threat of Islamists. In December 2013, the Qamishli Sutoro became pro-government and declared that it split from the SUP-related Sutoro. The pro-government unit then became known as Sootoro, while the anti-government units remain known as Sutoro.
Details of Termination: --
Purpose: The main purpose of Sootoro is to defend itself and the community against (Islamist) insurgents.
Organisation: Sootoro belongs to the regime’s security apparatus in Qamishli, alongside the Arab Tey tribe’s militia. It does not have any links to the SUP anymore, as SUP members left the party when the group became Sootoro.
Weapons and Training: --
Size: --
Reason for Membership: Most members are part of the Sootoro (or earlier the Sutoro) in order to protect themselves from harm in an environment characterized by insecurity. Political aims were (at least when it was still Sutoro) only of minor importance.
Treatment of Civilians: Sootoro declares that it wants to protect Christians, regardless of which sect they belong to.
Other Information: The regime loyalists were members of the Sutoro branch in Qamishli and made the branch become Sootoro, the pro-government militia. The loyalists are affiliated with the Civil Peace Committee for Syriac Orthodox in Qamishli. Sootoro is also known as the Syriac Protection Office.
References: Information was taken from news sources listed in the PGMD