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90000 Syrians fight with Iran-backed militias: document

(Zaman Al Wasl)- At least 90,000 Syrian militants have been operating in Iran-backed Shiite militias in Syria, according to a leaked document issued by the Syrian Defense Ministry early 2017.

The document that obtained by Zaman al-Wasl includes list of the Iranian militias fighting alongside regime forces throughout Syria. 

According to estimates, the Iranian militias have an estimated 90,000 fighters organized into forces referred to as the 'Local Defense Regiments'  located in all Syrian provinces with the exceptions of Quneitra, Damascus and al-Sweida.

The memorandum was addressed by Major General Adnan Mehrez Abdo, the head of the Organization and Administration Division in the Defense Ministry, to the Regime President Bashar al-Assad.

Abdo discussed the issue of the members of the militias related to Iran, most of whom are Syrian Shiites, the rights of killed, injured or missing militia members. 

The memorandum also covered issues pertaining to men who have evaded the mandatory military service or reserve service, army deserters, and civilians working with the Iranian occupiers. 

The memorandum proposed eight options to settle their situation starting with organizing the Syrian civilian and military militia members fighting with the Iranian militias into local defense regiments in the provinces of Damascus (19616), Deraa (2290), Tartus (1100), Homs (9051), Hama (12126), Aleppo (35000), Idlib (8000), Latakia (5500), al-Raqqa (820), Deir Ez Zor (1976) and al-Hasakah.

-8000 Fighters Deserted-

The second proposal in the memorandum concerns settling the situation of the deserted army members, and men called up for mandatory military service and reserve service. 

The document called for their transfer and appointment and the modification of procedure for the Local Defense Regiments in 11 provinces to become responsible for drafting these evaders and deserters. The total estimated number are 52,000 of whom 15,000 are military service evaders, about 8,000 deserted from the regime army, and around 17,000 are reserve service evaders. So far around 12,000 militia members settled their situation with the regime. 

The memorandum proposed organizing volunteer contracts for the regime forces- the Popular Army for two years for civilians wanting to work with the Iranians regardless of the regime army’s conditions for volunteers. According to the memorandum, around 37,004 civilians were working with the Iranians in April 2017, around 37% of the total percentage. 

-1650 officers in the Shiite militia-

The fourth suggestion in the memorandum concerns, the settlement of the situation of the (69) round of active officers working with the Iranians in Aleppo who number (1650) officers. The document states that there is no objection for the Local Defense Militia command to remain with the Iranians in coordination with the regime army. According to the memorandum, the Iranians are tasked with paying the material compensation for fighters killed, injured and missing since the start of the Syrian revolution in 2011.  

Since the second year of the Syrian revolution, the Syrian Shiite community established its own militias, the most important is the al-Ridha Brigade. The community asked its members enlisted in the regime army to dissent and join its’ militias. According to accurate statistics, around 1000 members of these Shiite militias have been killed and over 2000 were injured in 2017. 

Most of those killed or injured are members of al-Ridha Brigade who were fighting in the Syrian Badiya region. 

According to sources, the Shiite villages in the countryside of Homs such as Umm al-Amad, al-Buwaydah, Shawkatliyah, Tel Aghar, Najma and Al-Mukhtariyah, have become almost empty of their male youths like Alawite villages which have lost thousands of their men.

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