Sunday, 28 June 2015

Jaysh al-Sanaded

Jaysh al-Sanaded [Arabic: Army of the Stronger] is a local tribal militia that was formed in 2013 and it is mainly present in the North West of Syria or in Jazira Canton which is part of Rojava [Syrian Kurdistan], the militia consists of Sunni Arabs from the tribe of Shammer which has a population of 500,000 and they are located in North west of Syria and Northern Iraq, historically it’s one of the most influential Arab tribes in the Middle East.

Jaysh al-Sanaded logo / Facebook 


The tribe is led by Sheikh Hamidi al-Daham al-Hadi who is the leader of the Shammer tribe in Syria and he is the governor of Jazira Canton alongside Akram Hesso.

Sheikh Hamidi al-Daham al-Hadi / Facebook 

Jaysh al-Sanaded is commanded Bandar al-Hamidi and his deputy Yawer al-Hamidi, the militia has participated in many battles alongside the Kurdish YPG & YPJ against Islamic State, they have managed to defeat the Islamic State in Tall Hamis, Tell Brak and Yaroubiya border crossing. Jaysh al-Sanaded is a defensive force which consist of 3,000 fighters and is objected to defend Jazira Canton and to guard the Syria-Iraq border.

Jaysh al-Sanaded fighters / Facebook 

The Shammar tribe's FSA brigade, Liwa Ahrar al-Jazira [LAJ] which had around 1,500 fighters, was expelled from Yaroubiya in mid-October 2014 by YPG and Jaysh al-Sanaded, following the allegations of corruption by Islamic State. The YPG used the local resentment against IS to dominate the town. 

Jaysh al-Sanaded patrolling / Facebook

References:

Refworld, Kurdish Strategy Towards Ethnically-Mixed Areas in the Syrian Conflict (English) – [http://www.refworld.org/docid/52aef0e34.html]



Thursday, 25 June 2015

Kurdish forces in Rojava

People’s Protection Units [YPG]

The People’s Protection Units which is also known as the YPG by the Kurds and Syrian rebels and PKK by the Jihadists, it defines itself as regional military force which is not affiliated with any political party and it serves regional  interests of Rojava and defending it from any foreign or internal threats. This militia has been accused of acting as the armed wing of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party [PYD], although they always deny this. This Independent group first started its militant wing known as the YPG during the early stages of the Syrian conflict in 2011.


YPG flag / Wikipedia


Turkey and some members of the Syrian Opposition have accused the PYD of being a front for the Kurdistan Workers Party [PKK] in Syria, the rebel group is currently at war with the Turkish government. The PYD say that while they share an ideology with the PKK based on the words of PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, they are their own independent force and take orders from no one. Posters and flags bearing his image of Abdullah Ocalan are everywhere in Rojava [Syrian Kurdistan], Adults and children wear necklaces with his face on pendants, the group is strongly associated with the PKK.

YPG fighters in a parade in Qamishli / Twitter

The YPG is composed of men and women from communities across the Kurdish region of Rojava [Syrian Kurdistan]. Though mostly Kurdish, the group has attracted increasing numbers of Arabs fighters that are from local tribes that live in Rojava or defecting from the Syrian opposition forces as well as locals from mixed or Arab villages in YPG controlled territories who see the group as the best supporter of regional security also a number of Christians Assyrians also fight in YPG ranks, and the militia has close links to the Assyrian Sutoro and Syriac Military Council. YPG established a Chechen battalion that consists of 200 fighters to fight against Islamic State in northern Syria and it’s led by Chechen commander Xalit Çaviş.

Xalit Çaviş and his fighters / Twitter 


The YPG has also helped arm and train ethnic minorities in both Syria and Iraq. One of these groups is the Yazidis in northern Iraq, who were evacuated following YPG fighters breaking the Islamic State siege of Sinjar Mountain alongside the Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga and backed by US air support.

YPG fighter / Facebook


Throughout the Syrian conflict, the YPG have caused heavy casualties on forces of Nusra Front, Islamic State and the Syrian government forces. Despite being relatively unknown by many people, this group has 50,000 fighters which is the fourth largest non-government fighting group in Syria behind the Islamic State, Free Syrian Army and the Islamic front. YPG is commanded by Sipan Hemo, who is the main commander of this militia alongside other commanders in Aleppo, Qamishli, Ras al-Ayn, Efrin and Kobane.

YPG fighter in a Technical vehicle / Facebook


The People's Protection Units has three main bases that is located in Kobane, Efrin and al-Jazira, YPG has eight brigades which operates in Efrin, Qamishli, Kobane and Sere Kanye. In 2014, the YPG co-operated with the Free Syrian Army in order to fight against the Islamic State that was advancing in north of Syria. The YPG has also formed an operations room with multiple FSA brigades called Euphrates Volcano to stop the Offensive of the Islamic State.

FSA and YPG announcing the formation of Euphrates Volcano / Orient News


YPG is also responsible of committing massacres against many Arab civilians in Rojava where they have been accused of having links to Islamic State. They massacred 42 people including women and children in the villages of Til Khalil and Hajiya which is located in the suburbs of Qamishli. Also they massacred more than 50 people in the villages of Til Barak and also ethnic cleansed many Arab civilians from their homes and villages in the region of Rojava.

Since the PYD began to establish control in 2012 over `Afrin, Kobane and Jazira, some politically active individuals with non-PYD parties have gone missing or been killed in unclear circumstances. PYD authorities deny involvement in these crimes, and blame the Syrian government or other non-state armed groups. Opposition parties and relatives of some of the victims blame the PYD of using it’s armed wing YPG in arresting and killing.

Asayish and YPG have both used boys and girls under age 18 at checkpoints and on bases in Efrin, Kobane and Jazira. Some children have fought with the YPG. The Asayish serves as a police force, but its members are armed with automatic weapons and its checkpoints have been the target of car bombings and other attacks.


During the battle of Tal Abyad, Syrian Opposition have accused the country's Kurdish YPG militia of committing ethnic cleansing against Arabs and Turkmen in northern Syria. Since the clashes between Islamic State and YPG forced around 16,000 people to flee in just two weeks. 

Women's Protection Unit (YPJ)

The YPJ is affiliated with the People's Protection Unit [YPG], it is a female militia group which is formed in 2013 and it’s an official part of the Kurdish Supreme Committee. The YPJ, the Kurdish female militia that is fighting alongside YPG against Islamic State offensives in Rojava.

YPJ flag / Wikipedia


There are around 7,000 women fighters under the ranks of YPJ voluntarily, around 40% of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) fighters in Syria are women. Those women who fight for YPJ range in age from 18 to 24, but there are recruits as young as 12 who trains alongside their elders.

YPJ fighters celebrating victory / Facebook


YPJ fighters / NBC news



Westerners in YPG [Lions of Rojava]

There are around 60 Westerners fighting alongside the 50,000-strong Kurdish People’s Protection Units [YPG], the foreign fighter group is called the “Lions of Rojava” which is said to include Britons, Americans, Canadians, Australians and other nationalists and it’s led by Jordan Matson who served as an infantryman in the U.S. Army.

Jason Matson, a former U.S. Army soldier fighting in the Lions of Rojava, said he was drawn to the fight by a sense of duty towards the Kurds because of their loyalty to the U.S. during the Iraq war. "I'm not going back until the fight is finished and ISIS is crippled," Matson said to the Associated Press in early February 2015. "I decided that if my government wasn't going to do anything to help this country, especially Kurdish people who stood by us for 10 years and helped us out while we were in this country, then I was going to do something."

Jordan Matson / Facebook 


YPG is carrying out a recruitment campaign via social media, targeting Western men and women who want to join the fight against Islamic State.

Their motto is “Send Terrorists to Hell and Save Humanity.”

Westerners who express an interest on social media in joining the YPG in Rojava [Syrian Kurdistan] are directed to a special recruitment page which is called “The Lions of Rojava” on Facebook. The Lions of Rojava page provides Information of other Westerners who have come to Syria to join them, along with motivational messages emphasizing the roles of the YPG in “Defending the civilized world against barbarism.”

Lions of Rojava Facebook page / Facebook 


The Lions of Rojava page, Western supporters of the YPG have used Facebook to share detailed information in English for potential recruits about how to get to Syria and what they should expect when they arrive. They will recommend that you have at least military experience with some knowledge of the Kurdish language.    

Western fighters / Facebook 


Many Western fighters go to Rojava to fight and kill IS fighters but their prime motivation is being Islamophobic or anti-Islam. They don’t care about Kurdish cause and people. There are also Western fighters who came for ideological reasons since they were attracted by the long struggle for an Independent state that's become the cultural symbol of the Kurdish people, other recruits site an interest in the larger, Marxist-based philosophy the Kurds in Syria and Turkey take from Abdullah Ocalan, the imprisoned leader of the militant organization Kurdish Workers Party [PKK].

Asayish

Asayish Emblem / Twitter  


Asayish (Kurdish: Security) is the security organisation of the autonomous administration in Rojava or Syrian Kurdistan.  It was created in 2012 during the Syrian Revolution to police the Kurdish areas which is controlled by the Kurdish Supreme Committee. Their duty is to maintain public order, civil peace, and social security and to provide protection for private and public properties in Rojava (Syrian Kurdistan). Also this security force is combat arms and drugs smugglers. This Security force is commanded by Commander Hasim Muhammad who leads about 4,000 Security man and women to police the Kurdish areas in Syria.

Asayish fighters in a morning training / Facebook 

Asayish vehicles in patrol / Facebook


Jabhat al-Akrad

Jabhat al-Akrad Emblem / Facebook  


Jabhat al-Akrad [Arabic: Kurdish Front] is a Kurdish armed group which was part of the Free Syrian Army and formed to protect the Syrian People in Kurdish and mixed territories, this group is participating in the Syrian conflict combating Syrian government forces and Islamic State. The group was formed as a brigade of the Free Syrian Army by Kurdish and Arab defectors from the Syrian Army. It has also maintained close links to the PKK and Democratic Union Party [PYD] since its founding, including its military armed wing, the People's Protection Units [YPG].

Jabhat al-Akrad fighters / Facebook


Its estimated that Jabhat al-akrad has 2,000 fighters led by Hajji Ahmed Kurd and they mostly operates in Kurdish and ethnically-mixed areas in Syria's Aleppo and Raqqa provinces, mainly outside of Kurdish territories in Kurd Dagh, Jazira, and Kobane area which are controlled by the People's Protection Units [YPG]. These areas include the suburbs of north and east of Aleppo city, Aleppo city, the area of Tal Abyad in northern Raqqa province, and Raqqa city.

Jabhat al-Akrad mortar squad / Facebook


Jabhat al-Akrad was expelled from the FSA Aleppo Military Council on 16 August 2013 due to alleged PKK affiliations which has ties with Syrian government amid widespread clashes in northern Syria between Syrian rebel groups led by Nusra Front and Kurdish armed groups led by the YPG. In early 2014 Jabhat al-Akrad re-emerged to co-operate with the Free Syrian Army and other rebel factions and formed Euphrates Volcano operations room to launch attacks on the Islamic State of Iraq in northern Syria.

Jabhat al-Akrad fighters prepare for battle / Facebook

References:

HRW, Syria: Abuses in Kurdish-run Enclaves (English) – [http://www.hrw.org/news/2014/06/18/syria-abuses-kurdish-run-enclaves]

Ibtimes, Syria: Kurdish YPG accused of 'ethnic cleansing' of Arabs in battle for Tel Abyad (English) – [http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/syria-kurdish-ypg-accused-ethnic-cleansing-arabs-battle-tel-abyad-1506198]

Albawaba, Why are Westerners flocking to join the Kurdish YPG? It's not all because of Daesh (English) – [http://www.albawaba.com/loop/why-are-westerners-flocking-join-kurdish-ypg-its-not-all-because-daesh-705160]

Ibtimes, At Least 100 Westerners Join The Kurdish Fight Against Islamic State (English) – [http://www.ibtimes.com/least-100-westerners-join-kurdish-fight-against-islamic-state-1837686]
Vice news, meet the YPG, the Kurdish militia that does not want help from anyone (English)

NBC News, Meet the Kurdish women fighting ISIS in Syria (English)

Orient news, YPG commits massacre in Suburbs of Qamishli (Arabic)

Rudaw, Kurdish Commander: Jihadi Groups in Syria Have Hijacked FSA (English)

Al-Monitor, Syrian Kurds, rebels find common enemy in ISIS (English)

Inter Press Service, Kurds Build Bridges At Last (English)

Time Turk, Chechens with YPG in Ocalan region [Turkish] – [http://www.timeturk.com/tr/2014/10/08/ypg-safinda-cecen-ocalan-kantonu.html] 


Saturday, 20 June 2015

Syria's Druze under threat from Islamic State

Syrian regime refuses to support the Druze!

Islamic State fighters are advancing towards Sweida Governorate and now they are few kilometres away from al-Huquf, al-Jnenih and Barek villages in the outskirts of Sweida.On 27 May, There was two delegation from Sweida that visited President Bashar Assad consisting of Druze clerics that are loyal to Syrian regime, the first delegation consisted of Hamoud al-Hanawi and Yousef Jarboa, and the second delegation consisted of Yahya Amer and Hikmat al-Hijri. Both delegations had the same demand which is to support the residence of Sweida with money and weapons.

President Bashar Assad refused to support them with money and weapons because as he said that he doesn’t have enough weapons since the Syrian Arab Army needs them in their battle in different fronts. President Assad asked the delegation for 27,000 youths in Sweida that did not join Syrian Army conscription and he insisted that if they continue to refuse to join the army, then Sweida will receive no military support in their upcoming fight against Islamic State.

Syrian Druze community in Sweida / shefa-amr.com 

The head of the military intelligence in Sweida, Wafiq Nasser was ordered to form a militia named Der al-Watan [Shield of the Homeland] which is led by Brigadier Nayef al-Aqil who is a former commander of 44th Regiment of the special forces, this militia objective is to recruit all Druze youth and this militia will also collect donations from residents of Sweida and from Druze diaspora so they can prepare themselves for the fight against Islamic State, but many believe that they real objective of this militia is to recruit all Druze youth by force and then send them join to Syrian Army to fight Syrian revolutionaries in other places throughout Syria. 

Druze rebel against Syrian regime control in Sweida

Sweida's elder scholars and clerics have been keeping out of the war since it began in 2011, but now Sheikh Wahid al-Balous is breaking ranks and standing up to the Syrian regime. Sheikh Wahid al-Balous is a leading elder scholar in the Druze community of the Sweida governorate in southern Syria. Wahid al-Balous and his group of militants in Sweida have earned themselves the nickname "the Sheikhs of Dignity" among supporters, who compare them with the other traditional community leaders of “Sheikhs al-Aql” who have supported the Syrian regime since the start of the Syrian war.

"Our dignity is more important than Bashar al-Assad," like he said. He also chose a middle ground between the Syrian regime and the Syrian opposition.

Wahid al-Balous / syrianobserver.com 

The Sheikh al-Aql is a religious post created by the Ottoman Empire, and its occupants are known to be instruments in the hands of the authorities in the country. Balous' relationship with Sheikhs al-Aql and traditional leaders is not well, not only because of his political position, but because they also want to downgrade anyone who becomes popular at their expense.

Islamic State has recently intensified its attacks on the Druze villages and towns, particularly Sweida which is located in South Syria, Syrian Army withdrew heavy weapons from the Sweida province and leaving its people in direct confrontation with the Islamic State.

Druze stops SAA Armour from leaving Sweida / aksalser.com 


Some Druze that are loyal to President Assad took up arms and formed Jaysh al-Muwahhideen to defend their homes against rebel attacks, while others joined a pro-Assad paramilitary group, the National Defence Forces, which fights alongside the Syrian army.

Jaysh al-Muwahhideen / zamanalwsl.net 


Will Israel intervene to save the Syrian Druze?

For the last months, the leaders of Israel’s Druze community have been expressing their concerns about what may happen in Khader village and Jabel Druze in the Sweida Governorate. Israeli Government refused a request from the leaders of the Druze community in Israel to intervene military to save the Syrian Druze in Syria.

Druze community in the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights / AFP


Netanyahu’s government said it clear that Israel will not send military forces to Jabel Druze, far from its border, but it has appealed to the United States with a request to help the Druze living there, along with aid provided by Jordan. Chief-of-Staff Gadi Eisenkot also announced that Israel will not stand by if a massacre takes place there, also the possibility of Druze refugees entering Israel escaping from Islamic State fighters so Israeli army decided they may include setting up an emergency field hospital in no-man’s-land on the Israeli-Syrian border.


References: 




Haaretz, How far will Israel go to protect Syria's Druze? (English) – [http://www.haaretz.com/news/middle-east/.premium-1.661788]





Monday, 15 June 2015

Islamic State in Libya

During the 2011 Libyan Revolution, which resulted in the fall of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and his government, many Libyan revolutionary fighters went to Syria to fight alongside Syrian revolutionary and Jihadist groups who were fighting against Bashar Assad forces and his allied Shiite Militia in the Syrian War.

In 2012, one group of Libyans fighters fighting in Syria declared the establishment of an Independent militant group named the Battar Brigade, which would later pledge loyalty to Islamic State and fight for it in both Syria and Iraq.

Islamic State flag / Wikipedia


In the spring of 2014, around 300 Battar Brigade fighters returned to Libya. In Derna, they formed a new group called the Islamic Youth Shura Council, which began recruiting militants from other local groups. Among the joiners were many members of the Derna branch of Islamist group Ansar al-Sharia. During the next few months, they declared war on anyone in Derna who opposed them, by killing judges, civic leaders and other opponents, including local militants who rejected their authority over the city.

Battar Brigade logo / Twitter 

Battar Brigade Fighters / Twitter 

In September 2014, an IS delegation that had been dispatched by the group's leadership Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi arrived in Libya. The representatives included Abu Nabil al Anbari who is now Emir of IS in Libya, a senior advisor to al-Baghdadi and a fighter of the Iraq conflict, the Saudi Abu Habib al-Jazrawi, and the Yemeni Abu al-Baraa el-Azdi, a militant and preacher from Syria. On 5 October 2014, the Islamic Youth Shura Council-aligned militant factions came together and pledged allegiance to IS then celebrated the pledge by a ceremony of more than 60 pickup trucks filled with fighters cruised through the city in a victory parade.

IS convoy parading in Sirte / Twitter


On 13 November 2014, al-Baghdadi released an audio-recording in which he accepted pledges of allegiance from supporters in five countries, including Libya, and announced the expansion of his group to those territories. He went on to announce the creation of three wilayat [Provinces] in Libya, Barqa (Cyrenaica) in the east, Fezzan in the south, and Tripolitania in the west of the country. 

IS provinces in Libya / Twitter 

According to information which is being shared between Algerian, Egyptian and Tunisian Intelligence services that there around 3,000 IS fighters in Libya coming from 31 countries around the world. Most of the IS foreign fighters in Libya are from neighbouring countries in North Africa and the rest are from Middle East and Europe, there are experienced fighters since they were involved in many terrorist acts and clashes with different Armed forces in the region also most of them were part of Al-Qaeda in Maghreb region. There are 500 Tunisians, 500 Egyptians, 300 Sudanese, 300 Moroccans, 200 Algerians, 100 Saudis, 80 French and other 100 are from different nationalities from Mali, Europe and Middle East.

IS fighters in Sirte / BBC 

IS claims it has presences in al Bayda, Benghazi, Sirte, al-Khums, and the Libyan capital Tripoli. The Barqa branch of IS has around 800 fighters and has half a dozen camps in Derna's Suburbs. It also has larger facilities in the Jebel Akhdar area, where fighters from other countries in North Africa and Europe are being trained military and ideologically.

IS presence in Libya / New York Times

IS are fighting all factions in Libya like Libyan National Army led by General Haftar, Libya Shield Force and other small Islamist groups. They are commanded by an Iraqi Emir Abu Nabil al Anbari who was sent by IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi recently to try set up his base there and expand his influence using the Libyan city of Derna as his capital in North Africa. Derna was fully under IS control, with the Black IS flags flying over government buildings, police cars carrying IS insignia, and the local football stadium being used for public executions. 

IS Court in Darna / Twitter 

On 15 February 2015, IS released a video showing the beheading of 21 Christian Egyptians who had been kidnapped in Sirte.

IS fighters executing Egyptian Copts / Twitter


On 19 April 2015 a video was released online by IS showing the killing of approximately 30 Ethiopian Christians in Libya. 15 of the men were beheaded, and another group of the same size were shot in the head.

IS fighters executing Christian Ethiopians / Twitter 


IS expansion in Sirte and capture of the airbase there has allowed them to have heavy weapons which will be used by IS in their fight against Libyan Army then later they will push towards the Oil fields which is heavy guarded by Libyan forces. In November 2014, IS Barqa media wing claimed it had previously dispatched nine suicide bombers from Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia to carry out attacks against Libyan security forces in and around Benghazi.

Islamic State has managed to rise in Libya quickly due internal conflicts between different factions in the country, the weakness of Libya Dawn and the Libyan army has left a security gap which was exploited by IS to rise rapidly. The Islamic State’s growth could further destabilize a country already suffering from a devastating civil war. And Libya could offer the IS extremists a new base from which to launch attacks elsewhere in North Africa.


References:

Elchourouk, 3,000 IS fighters from 31 countries in Libya (Arabic) – [http://www.echoroukonline.com/ara/articles/244758.html]

BBC, How powerful is ISIS in Libya? (Arabic) - [http://www.bbc.com/arabic/middleeast/2015/02/150205_islamic_state_in_libya]

New York Times, how a Libyan City Joined the Islamic State Group (English) – [http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2014/11/09/world/middleeast/ap-ml-libya-islamic-state.html?ref=world&_r=1]

Foreign Policy, The Islamic State of Libya Isn’t Much of a State (English) -[http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/02/17/the-islamic-state-of-libya-isnt-much-of-a-state/]


CNN, ISIS comes to Libya (English) – [http://edition.cnn.com/2014/11/18/world/isis-libya/index.html


Friday, 12 June 2015

Pro Syrian Regime Militant Groups

National Defence Force


It’s a military organization which was formed in January 2013, as a part-time volunteer reserve unit of the Syrian army, organized, controlled and supervised by the Syrian Army. Syrian army formalized and professionalize hundreds of Popular Committee militias and Shabiha under a new group named as the National Defence Force.

Emblem / Wikipedia


The NDF is a secular force that has many members that are from the Syrian minorities, such as Alawites, Christians, Druze, Armenians and Circassians also the unit is made up of men from all districts of Syria.

NDF’s Circassian unit in Golan Heights / Facebook



The main role of this force is to act in an infantry role, fighting directly against rebels on the battlefield and running counter-insurgency operations in co-ordination with the Syrian army who provides them with logistical, artillery and air support. This force operates in all Governorates across Syria.



NDF units in Damascus / Facebook



The period of training can vary from 2 weeks to a month depending on whether an individual is being trained for basic combat, sniping, or intelligence also they will be trained and supervised by high ranking officers from the Syrian army.

NDF units / Al-Alam



Their number is estimated to be 60,000 up to 100,000 fighters. NDF units mostly operate in their local cities and villages, although members can also choose to take part in army operations. Also NDF does most of the fighting Alongside the Syrian army because NDF local members have a strong knowledge of the region.

NDF units in Dier Zour / Facebook



The rest who refuse to participate in battles alongside the Syrian army would be ordered to protect towns and villages that are under Syrian regime control. NDF has also around 500 women fighters in a wing called "Lionesses of National Defence", which they operates checkpoints and guard government buildings in Damascus and Homs. NDF soldiers get paid around $150 monthly and also they are allowed to loot from battlefields and civilian homes, which can then be sold in markets which is located in Latakia or Damascus for extra money.

NDF women unit / Syrianchnage.wordpress

Ba’ath Brigades

The Ba’ath Brigades is a militia that is made up volunteers from the members of the Syrian Ba’ath Party, most fighters of this militia are Sunni Muslims who are loyal to the Syrian Regime. The militia is being trained and supervised by officers from the elite Republican guard, as for their ideology is Syrian nationalism and Ba’ath ideology. It also accepts females to members of this militia unlike other pro-Syrian regime militias.

Emblem / Wikipedia


Its Headquarters is located in Aleppo under the command of Hilal Hilal who is also the Assistant Regional Sectary of the Ba’ath Party. The Ba’ath Brigades are used to guard government buildings and other public buildings like prisons, military bases and other key installations in the city, but they also set up security checkpoints in Damascus and conducting light logistical operations.

Ba’ath Brigades fighters in a parade / Facebook

They participate in many battles alongside the Syrian army against the rebel forces in Aleppo, the militia has around 7,000 fighters and it’s also active in n the coastal provinces of Latakia and Tartus as well. This militia is controlled and supervised by Ba’ath Political Party which formed it in 2012, the main reason for creating this militia is to support the Syrian army in combat and setting up security checkpoints.

Ba’ath Brigades fighters in Aleppo / Facebook

Arab Nationalist Guard

The Arab Nationalist Guard is a secular militia which was created in April 2013 to fight in Syria on behalf of Assad regime and to protect Syria from Takfiri groups which is supported by the west and Zionists as they claim, this militia openly promotes Arab nationalism and anti-Zionism as their ideology and believing in the existence of a single Arab nation from North Africa to the Middle East.

Emblem/ Wikipedia

Arab Nationalist Guard fighters co-operate with the Syrian army and the National Defence Forces and operate in a many areas across Syria like Damascus, Daraa, Homs and Aleppo. The Arab Nationalist Guard militia is made up of four brigades which are named after fallen Arab nationalist leaders like Wadie Haddad Brigade, Haidar al-Aamili Brigade, Mohamed Brahmi Brigade and Jules Jammal Brigade. It has over 1,000 guards while the number of volunteers Syria and a variety of Arab countries like Palestine, Lebanon, and Egypt.

Arab National guards in Qalamoun region / Facebook

Trained and funded by the Syrian army officers, the fighters have to undergo drills and fire-arm training in Syrian military training camps in Damascus, as well they join in political classes to implement an understanding of Arab nationalism before they officially become guards and deployed to battle.

Arab National guards gathering in Damascus / Facebook



Syrian Social Nationalist Party


Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP) is a Nationalist political party that was founded in 1932 and its operating in many Arab countries like  Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, and Palestine.The Party has a strong presence in Syria and Lebanon, it also promotes Syrian Nationalism and Anti-Zionism.  


Emblem / Wikipedia

SSNP decided to participate in the Syrian war in 2013 by sending 150 fighters, after Hassan Nasrallah has called his political allies from March 8 Alliance to send their members to help Syrian Army and Hezbollah in fight against Syrian rebels.


Most of SSNP militants are Christians, Druze and Sunni Lebanese with few Syrians, SSNP has participated in major battles alongside Syrian Arab Army throughout the country like in Qusayr, Damascus, Kassab and Idlib.


SSNP militia is a defensive force and they are based in in areas that are populated by minorities like Christians and Druze. SSNP military wing faced some problems like poor organization and lack of military training despite many of its members were willing to go to participate in the Syrian war that was for short period until Hezbollah started to train its members.

SSNP militants in Syria / Facebook


Slavonic Corps


Slavonic Corps is a private military contractor that operated during Syrian war and it was Hong Kong registered company, but it was ended in October 2013 when Russian FSB arrested the owners and the mercenaries when they returned to Russia.

Logo / Official website

During the spring of 2013, job ads by a Hong Kong-based company emerged on various Russian military related websites. The ads promised $5,000 per month for guard duties protecting Syrian energy facilities in Deir Zour, Syria. The ads attracted the attention of former members of OMON, SOBR, VDV and Spetsnaz; many of them had previous military experience in the Tajikistan Civil War as well as the Second Chechen War.

Russian contractors in Deir Zour / Facebook

Russian mercenaries were first transferred to Damascus and then to a Syrian army base in Latakia. By October the Slavonic Corps had a strength of 267 contractors divided into two companies that were present in Latakia and then later they were transferred to Deir Zour to protect the oil fields. The owners of Slavonic Corps were planning to recruit up to 2,000 Russian contractors to fight alongside Syrian Army and to protect its Energy facilities.   

Russian contractors / Facebook

Syrian Resistance

Syrian Resistance which was formerly known as Popular Front for the Liberation of the Liwa of Iskandarun, is a Syrian militia that was formed in 2011 to co-operate with the Syrian army to combat the Syrian rebels.


Syrian Resistance Flag / Wikipedia

The group is led by Mihraç Ural who hides under the nom de guerre of Ali Kayali is a Turkish Alawite and also holds Syrian citizenship. He lived in Syria since the early 1980s when in 1970 he took up arms against the Turkish government and promoted the cause of Syrian nationalism where he ended in prison. He has been exiled in Syria since escaping from a Turkish prison in 1980, Kayali ran a small splinter group of his communist and sectarian sect, Turkey's People's Liberation Party/Front (THKP/C) to make the Alawite population turn into confrontation with the Turkish Government and operated to annex the Hatay (or Iskanderoun) province to the Syrian Arab Republic.

Mihraç Ural / alkhabar press

This militia operates in many areas across Syria like Latakia Governorate where most of his fighters are located with small appearances in Jisr al-Shughur, Ariha and Homs. Also it is estimated to have around 2,000 fighters most of them are Syrian Alawites and the rest are Turkish Alawites who were recruited from the Turkish province of Hatay which has a large number of Alawite population.

Syrian resistance fighters in Latakia / Facebook


The group openly promotes the Syrian Nationalism in addition to leftist Marxist ideology, but also it has been claimed that the group’s main focus is the defence of Alawites in Syria and Southern Turkey since all of its members are from the Alawite sect.

Syrian resistance fighters / alhadath news

Syrian Hezbollah

Syrian Hezbollah “Syrian Party of God” is a Syrian militia that was formed in July 2013 this militia consists of Syrian Alawites from Aleppo, Idlib, Tartous, Homs and Damascus. The creation of this militia was done by Iranian Quds Force which is under the command of General Qassem Soleimani, also some officers from the Lebanese Hezbollah supervise and train this militia where it trains in training camps located in South Lebanon and in Damascus.

Syrian Hezbollah Flag / All4Syria


Sheikh Ibrahim Banod is considered to be the Spiritual leader of this sectarian militia that wishes to copy the same experience as the Lebanese Hezbollah.  This militia participates in many battles alongside the Syrian armed forces in Aleppo and Latakia, the number of this militia is estimated to be around 1,800 fighters fully trained to use different types of weapons, storming tactics, raiding, surveillance, tracking, and explosives detection. The fighters of this militia get paid around $500-$1,000 monthly by Iran since it was behind the creation of this militia.

The former General in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Hossein Hamadani stated on Fars News “Iran is fighting today in Syria to defend its interests and Islamic revolution, the importance of this war is not less important than the Iran-Iraq war and we have 130,000 soldiers from the Basij are ready to go to Syria and with God’s help Iranians will create the second Hezbollah in Syria.”

Supporter of Syrian Hezbollah / Tahrirsouri

Resources:

Todays Zaman, Mihrac Ural (English)

Joshua Landis, Syrian Resistance (English)

Tahrirsouri, Syrian Hezbollah profile (Arabic)

All4Syria, New militia under the name of Syrian Hezbollah (Arabic)

Orient News, Syrian Hezbollah (Arabic)

Orient news, Arab Nationalist Guard, a new pro-Assad militia (Arabic)

Al-akhbar, Arab nationalists take up arms in the battle for Syria (English)

CarnegieMEC, The Baath Battalions move into Damascus (English)

Al-Monitor, Syrian Baath militia commander goes rags-to-riches (English)

Reuters, Battered by war, Syrian army creates its own replacement (English)

Now News, Rise of the Militias (English)

Alriyadh, New Shabiha: National Defence Force (Arabic)

All4Syria, SSNP send its members to fight in Syria (Arabic) - [http://www.all4syria.info/Archive/109591]


Fontanka, The last battle for Slavonic Corps (Russian) - [http://www.fontanka.ru/2013/11/14/060/]