‘First- and Second-Grade Martyrs:’ Loyalists Decry Regime’s Discrimination in Dealing With Fighter Deaths

Assad supporters voice discontent as regime institutions prioritize delivery of humanitarian aid to families of fallen soldiers over paramilitaries

A state of anger is prevailing among families of those killed in Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces, because of discrimination in their dealings with regime institutions and the greater interest shown toward helping relatives of those killed in the security forces over those who fell in the army or local militias.

The anger has appeared among Assad loyalists, which is not only apparent on social media, but the issue has also led to fights erupting repeatedly between families of people killed and employees of the regime institutions during the distribution of food aid.

Abou Waheed, as he wants to be identified, is working on a center to distribute food packages in one of the districts under the control of regime forces in Homs. He told Al-Souria Net that he had been “beaten twice by people who did not accept the fact that they would not receive food aid even though their son was killed in battle.”

He said that the family of the deceased did not have their name included on the current distribution lists, and that he could not tell them about this and the regime's responsibility for it without being attacked by the family. He said that the distribution of subsidies goes primarily to those killed in the security forces and then to the army, while the families of those killed in the militias are neglected.

Segments of the dead

According to information obtained by Al-Souria Net, the Assad regime institutions divide the dead into “first-rank martyr,” which refers to those who died during battles, and “second-rank martyr,” which includes those who die in expositions that hit regime-controlled areas.

This difference in dealing with the regime dead has sparked anger in its popular base, and it is notable that the security agencies play a major role through their authority in obtaining the lion’s share of aid and advantages offered to the regime’s dead.

Abou Waheed said that he did his job not out of love but for the money and complained about the pressure he is subjected to from families of the dead and from militia member families, because they have a network of relationships with Assad regime security branches and have broad powers to act against others as they see fit.

He said that he endures the insults in silence and does not dare make complaints against the families of regime dead because of fear of retribution.

Speaking to Al-Souria Net, F.B. explained that apart from the discrimination in dealing with the regime’s dead, periodic aid is given to the families of those killed in the security branches, and even the wounded and disabled are given “all they need at the best pace without shortcomings.”

She adds that the regime institutions “make dealing with obstacles easier for them, while we find the opposite when we work according to the regulations and plans for wounded in the army or a normal wounded person hurt in a suicide explosion. If the person was from the security branches, they go beyond and around the official procedures and customary things.”

Major corruption

This discrimination has pushed loyalists out of their silence to publicly and openly criticize the Assad regime. Some families say that their children became casualties to defend others to no avail.

For example, the “Homs Youth Forum” and “Basmat Homs” pages on Facebook bristle with dozens of criticisms of the Assad regime. These pages are monitored by a team of regime loyalists working to service those wounded in Assad’s forces.

These pages speak about the phenomenon of corruption and nepotism in regime institutions. Their criticisms have included accusations of sexual harassment against the women of the killed or exploiting them to obtain aid.

This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

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