It would appear that the regime is still stumbling in its attempts to recruit volunteers in its newly-formed Fifth Corps militia, while security officials are still to decide on a location for the unit’s headquarters despite more than three weeks having passed since the launch of the project.
The setbacks appear to be largely the result of the methods the regime employs to recruit volunteers. The brigade’s leadership has been known to send millions of text and audio messages to all cell phones inside Syria, appealing to users to join the corps, without distinguishing between age or gender.
The wholescale method has been negatively received by some segments of the population, especially senior citizens and women, who are hassled with calls to action despite not being able to meet the basic conditions of volunteering.
“I am a senior lady, why are you sending me these messages. If they were asking for girls, I would have volunteered to get rid of these messages they are sending every minute. Leave us alone. We are done. We do not have any more young men,” wrote one loyalist Facebook user.
Another Facebook comment said, “I feel like I am going to open the fridge in a bit to find a Syriatel (mobile company) employee saying to me to join the Fifth Corps.”
In a bizarre effort that might deserve an award for ingenuity, the regime leadership resorted to placing written advertisements for the Corps inside bundles of bread, a step which was met with a mix of irony and disapproval. While the “Al-Qirdaha Areen al-Assad” Facebook page has called on the Ministry of Defense to cancel the establishment the Corps. “You are not able to form it. Leave us alone. Now you are advertising through bread. What the hell is happening,” it wrote.
The regime ministry of defense announced on October 21 the formation of the new commando Corps, which offered a number of incentives to attract young enlistees, including larger salaries.
This article was edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.