Mobile phone footage posted online purportedly shows members of the Pakistani Shiite Zeinabists Brigade occupying and looting civilian houses while fighting alongside regime forces in Aleppo.
The clips, uncovered by Anatolia news agency, portray the daily life of these fighters as they play volleyball, dance to Pakistani music, train and launch artillery shells "targeting the opposition and Islamic State (ISIS)".
The fighters communicate to each other in Pashto – largely spoken in northwestern Pakistan and Afghanistan – and also in Urdu, the official language of Pakistan. According to the videos, the fighters of the brigade claim to be fighting alongside regime forces, while singing chants in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
When asked why they journeyed to Syria, one of the fighters responds: "We came to Syria for a holy war. If we die a thousand times, we will continue the fight, and we defeat ISIS and the opposition – victory is ours". The video also shows the Shiite fighters looting furniture from a house and putting it in a car.
The Pakistani Zeinabists Brigade and the Afghan Fatimists Brigade both have strong ties to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. The Fatimists Brigade commander Ali Reza Tawassoli was killed in Daraa earlier this month.
Around 200 Pakistani and Afghani fighters are believed to have been killed fighting alongside regime forces inside Syria as the Assad regime continues to rely heavily on foreign militias for support.
Translated and edited by The Syrian Observer