How the Iranian IRGC dupe Syrian youth to join proxy group

A Syrian kid who joined an Iranian IRGC militia expecting cash, benefits, and security discovered instead unfulfilled promises and indoctrination.

The 25-year-old former Fatemiyoun Division warrior, like most of his friends, did not finish his studies as the Syrian conflict engulfed his birthplace of Deir Ezzor, forcing him to flee.

However, after Syrian regime forces and associated militias took control of the area, the young man, who goes by the alias Mustafa al-Laheeb, believed he had a shot at employment and stability.

“The regime sent representatives to the districts where the displaced people of Deir Ezzor and Albu Kamal were residing to persuade them to return freely,” he said.

“They promised they would no longer be harassed or forced into [required] military duty,” he claimed.

The delegates pledged to provide jobs for young Syrians, he added, adding that this proved to be a hollow promise because the kids were still hunted by the regime’s security forces for military duty upon their return.

Around the same time, militias connected with the Iranian IRGC, according to al-Laheeb, began approaching young people, encouraging them to join and offering them large pay and immunity from the regime.

He soon discovered that Syrians are treated as third-class elements inside the Fatemiyoun Division, while Lebanese and Afghans are treated as first- and second-class elements, respectively.

His children were forced to undergo scouting and religious classes, he claimed, stressing that “the people of Deir Ezzor were subjected to extortion to change their sect” as a result of this form of religious and cultural brainwashing.

Minors and young people, in particular, are forced fed the Fatemiyoun ideology, as well as the Wilayat al-Faqih (Guardianship of the Jurist) concept, which calls for obedience to Iranian leader Ali Khamenei.

He claimed that when he was recruited, the Iranian IRGC militia’s Fatemiyoun Division promised him he would be paid $150 per month and would be given with food and medical care. But he only made $40, he claimed, with payments often delayed for three months.

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