Established by Fathi Ibrahim Bayoud 2005 - Homs

'Baath Brigades' Assad's new militia, mainly university students

Local | 2014-02-28 00:00:00
'Baath Brigades' Assad's new militia, mainly university students

Syrian regime has recruited the youth members of the governing Baath Party in a new armed militia called 'Al Baath Brigades', mainly composed of university students and operate under pro-Assad Student Union, sources said.

The main mission of the newly formed brigades is to protect the regime-held areas, including the state headquarters and public utilities, with its 10,000 militants, according to sources.

Activists say most regular army soldiers, who serve at the barricades and checkpoints will be replaced with Baathists due to lack of soldiers on battlefields.

Besides Baath Brigades, Bashar al-Assad has bolstered his overstretched military over the past year with the creation of the National Defense Force, a pro-regime militia that draws heavily from Syria's minority communities and reportedly receives training from Iran.

The Iraqi and Lebanese Shiite militant groups, also, have sent its gunmen to fight alongside Assad's forces, providing a significant boost to the government's overstretched military.

Syria's conflict started as largely peaceful protests against Assad's rule in March 2011. It has developed into a civil war that has taken on increasingly sectarian overtones, pitting mostly Sunni Muslim rebels against Assad's government, which is dominated by Alawites, a sect in Shiite Islam.    

More than 140,000 people have been killed, activists say, and millions have fled their homes to seek shelter in neighboring countries or in safer parts of their homeland. Many refugees have settled temporarily in areas sealed off by Assad's troops, with little if any food or medical aid within reach.

Zaman Alwasl
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