Extensive pro-regime media campaigns struggle to convince young Alawites to enlist in Assad's Coastal Shield Brigade, whose mission it is to defend the predominantly Alawite villages along the Syrian coast.
Media activist Ahmad al-Lazqani told al-Souria that those responsible for the establishment of the brigade are facing difficulties in recruiting fighters, as villagers refuse to send their children to fight alongside regime forces following a growing number of casualties from the coastal areas.
The Assad regime formed the brigade after significant numbers of officers and soldiers left their positions to return to their villages, refusing to continue fighting in the regime's army after being abandoned by pro-Assad forces in Syria’s bloody northern battles.
Lazqani said that following the battles in Jisr al-Shughour and Idleb, regime soldiers became aware that the Assad government was unmoved by the scale of its army’s human loss.
The activist explained that the military security forces in some coastal villages attempted to force young people to join the brigade, leading to tensions between these forces and locals, as clashes broke out between the army and the inhabitants of the villages of Najjara, Ayn Shqaq and Bsesin after people refused to hand their children over to the security forces. Lazqani added that regime forces established checkpoints between the coastal villages in order to arrest young men and forcibly recruit them in Assad’s army.
Lazqani said that Iran pays each fighter $100 USD a month, in addition to the 10,000 Syrian pounds that the regime offers to each fighter upon entering service.
Translated and edited by The Syrian Observer