Syrian Christian Militias Ally With Kurds in Northeast

Groups See Common Cause in Fighting al-Qaeda

Across most of the nation, Syrian Christians have tried to stay out of the civil war, and have been clobbered repeatedly by Islamist rebel factions who accuse them of being pro-Assad. Many have fled the country, and one of the world’s oldest Christian communities seems on the brink of destruction.

Some Christian youths are forming militias with an eye on fighting back, but as a relatively small minority they haven’t had much impact on their own. In the northeast, they’ve been allying with the Kurdish militias with some success.

It’s not a perfect match, as the Kurdish militias have an eye on secession and with some exceptions the Christians generally support a unified, secular Syria. Still, in al-Qaeda’s repeated moves against the northeast, they’ve found common cause.

The size of the Christian militias is a matter of some speculation, but is believed to be quite small, as most have been content with their status as a mostly ignored minority left on its own and haven’t got a lot invested in Syria as a nation one way or another.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.