Conflict and Fragility

Policy briefs

Six scenarios for pro-regime militias in ‘post-war’ Syria

01 Apr 2019 - 13:49
Source: EPA

Pro-regime militias have played a key role in military offensives and local security enforcement during the Syrian civil war. They proved crucial tools in ensuring the survival of the regime of President Assad and shaped the course of the war. Today, the regime and its allies are seeking to bring their ‘war on terrorism’ against remaining rebel forces to a conclusion. In parallel, the future role of pro-regime militias in Syria’s political order has become contested between the Syrian regime and its main international backers – Iran and Russia. This has left Western European policy makers uncertain about the true nature of the political and military forces that will run the Syrian state. Israel watches the situation closely as it takes an understandable interest in the future political order of its neighbour. This policy brief identifies the most important interests of Russia, Iran and the Syrian regime in respect of pro-regime militias. Their visions for the future of these militias are explored through six possible scenarios. The potential effects of each scenario carry important ramifications for the future of the Syrian state and its people, including possibilities for the safe and voluntary return of refugees.

In this policy brief, authors Samar Batrawi & Nick Grinstead provides six plausible scenarios (depending on the geopolitical realities) for pro-regime militias in ''post-war'' Syria.