The Syrian regime started to downsize the number of the “National Defense” militia’s troops, who have fought alongside Assad’s forces in the past years. This came following the diminishing battles throughout Syria, and the regime’s ability to spread its control over a wide space that the opposition factions were in control of once.
The downsizing materialized in the dismissal of all the “National Defense” elements requested for either compulsory military service or the reserve, who will again be drafted into the “army,” which will alleviate some of the Syrian regime’s financial burdens, according to a source from “Salamiyah National Defense Center,” who refused to reveal his name for security reasons.
Following Assad’s forces control of northern rural Homs last May, the decision makers ordered that all the center’s elements, requested for compulsory or reserve military service, be dismissed and their security identification documents be confiscated without compensations or any further privileges, the source told Enab Baladi.
He pointed out that some of these elements joined the militia during several confrontations, and some of them were injured, considering that the Syrian regime is giving up on the “National Defense” elements after their mission in defending it is completed.
The “National Defense” militia was founded in 2013, when the Syrian regime announced the formation of a subsidiary force to the army, the main occupation of which is fighting-based missions. The force played a major role in the regime’s being able to take over a wide space from the opposition factions.
According to BBC Network, October 2015, the Iranian General Hussian Hamdani, who died somewhere near Aleppo in 2015, was supervising the training of the “National Defense.”
BBC quoted Mohammad Reza Naqdi, head of the Iranian semi-military “Basij” armed force as saying: “Iran trained 170 thousand troops, with whom it formed 128 regiments,” in an indication to the “National Defense” forces, the number of which reached 100 thousand militants.
The salary of a militant in the ranks of the Assad’s forces is 14 thousand Syrian pounds, with another ten thousand added incase he is serving in a fighting regiment. The salary increases to about 40 thousand Syrian pounds upon retention, thus ranging from 20 to 100 dollars.
However, the salary of a regular element in the “National Defense” ranges from 40 to 60 thousand Syrian pounds, and the commanders’ salaries might go beyond 100 thousand Syrian pound, Sawt al-Assima Network, Voice of the Capital, reported last January.
Military Settlement for those with Connections
A procedure that the mandated troops might utilize is conducting a military settlement, through which they can file an application to the Military System of Justice as to count the period, they spent in the ranks of the “National Defense” as part of the Compulsory Military Service, after which they get military numbers as members of the elements delegated by Assad’s forces to the “National Defense,” the answer to the application takes about four months.
According to one of the “National Defense” elements, the military settlement is created by the Syrian regime and is designated only to the people close to it and sons of officers to guarantee that they are not drafted into the army.
The element, on the condition of anonymity, said that he applied six times and was brought before the military judge three time, and every time he was denied the settlement, while a different judge demanded a sum of 600 thousand Syrian pounds to approve granting him a settlement, pointing out that he is now forced to join compulsory military service after the four years he spent with the “National Defense.”