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However, once Russia had intervened they found that their goals were nearly impossible to achieve due to the conflicting nature of Assad’s allies. The Syrian army had been reduced to a fifth of its pre-2011 size. Reflecting upon the state of the Syrian army, one Russian general wrote that Syrian soldiers were poorly motivated, corrupt and exhausted from the fighting. He went on to say that Russia would effectively have to re-build the entire army from scratch. What made matters more complicated for the Russian military was the fact that most of the fighting on behalf of the regime was being done by a series of different militias, private armies, and mercenaries. There was no overall command structure, and while each group had pledged allegiance to Assad, they weren’t taking orders from him, and each of the militias hated one another. This inter-militia rivalry cost the Syrian regime Palmyra in 2015, when the two tribes entrusted with holding the city on behalf of the Assad regime, began fighting one another, which resulted in both groups pulling out and ISIS walking in.

There is a further division between the militias we need to take note off. Local Syrian and Palestinian tribes and groups, and International Shia Jihadis groups. The Syrian tribes are usually local to the areas they fight in, and their numbers vary. While they have pledged their loyalty to Assad personally, the Syrian regime does not control them, and this causes tension within the regime itself. In July 2016, the Tiger Force (Pro-Assad Tribal militia) captured Rammousa (outskirts of Aleppo) and re-took apartment complex 300, which use to house Syrian army officers and their families. Once they took the complex, despite efforts by the Syrian army to stop them, the Tiger Force began looting from the apartments and taking stuff that belonged to the officer’s families. They saw it as their reward for fighting, and the regime could do nothing to stop them. The Shia militias who come from Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Lebanon (including Hezbollah) do much of the actual fighting on behalf of the Assad regime, but as the Syrian militias, they do not take orders from Assad, rather they follow direction from Tehran. Iranian generals usually plan Syrian regime military efforts and almost never consult Syrian generals, only bothering to inform them when they need them to do something specifically.

full: https://splinteredeye.wordpress.com/2017/01/07/russia-the-syrian-ceasefire-and-the-unmaking-of-peace/

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