Assad has announced the formation of a new militia, named ‘Hashd Al Furat and Al Jazeera’, amid the extreme shortage of manpower his “army” is facing in Deir Ezzor, where he controls only 5 percent of territory.
The militia consists of Assad’s loyalists from Deir Ezzor who are now present in Damascus. They fled from the province a long time ago and headed to the capital to continue their bloody records of outspoken atrocities against civilians. This militia is a Syrian version of ‘The Popular Mobilization Militia’ in Iraq. It will be deployed to the province of Deir Ezzor “in order to liberate it from extremists”.
The Assad regime is taking the advantage of the absence of any effective plans and projects by the Syrian opposition to present themselves as the ‘best’ alternative for Daesh in Deir Ezzor province.
Some tribal dignitaries from Deir Ezzor, who are being used by the regime in order to receive more support from the locals in the province, were among the attendees of the meeting in which the formation of the militia was officially declared. The commanders stated during the meeting that they will launch a military campaign from Palmyra to open the Deir Ezzor/ Palmyra highway, which would enable the liberation of Deir Ezzor from the terrorists. Salih Al-Sayah, a commander of the recently established militia, said that they are morally and financially prepared for the launching of a large-scale offensive to break the siege imposed on Deir Ezzor and its countryside. Riyad Al-Arsan was appointed as the general commander of the militia.
Some of the attendees suggested that it is very important to provide military and medical support in order to launch the military campaign as soon as possible, which was met by a positive reaction from some Assad loyalists, who said that they are ready to provide such support for the success of the campaign.
This will be neither the first nor the last attempt by the Assad regime to form new militias. However, it is still such a dangerous and unprecedented move by them. They have taken advantage of the current regional and international conditions, mainly after the start of the battles of Mosul and Al-Raqqah. Assad is attempting to present himself as a partner in the war on terror, meaning that this has to be taken seriously by the Syrian opposition, especially Deir Ezzor factions who must take urgent steps to foil this attempt.