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Damascus can manage fragmented military forces

Monday, November 1, 2021


President Bashar al-Assad's two principal foreign backers, Russia and Iran, support and to some extent direct sizeable forces in Syria on which Assad relies. That contributes to a complex constellation of pro-Damascus forces, which raises a question over the level of Assad's control.


  • Military and militia predation on local populations is a general problem, not necessarily tied to specific units.
  • Israeli claims that specific army units provide cover for a growing Hezbollah presence in southern Syria are plausible but hard to prove.
  • Iran-backed militias can offer relatively high salaries, helping their local recruitment campaigns including a recent drive in Deir ez-Zour.
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