Iran-backed militias are changing Syria’s demographic map

Iran-backed militias armed, trained and funded by the IRGC have begun to implement a plan to force local residents out of certain areas and replace them with the families of militiamen.

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is using the Fatemiyoun Division to implement a plan of demographic change in parts of Syria, displacing local residents and settling militiamen and their families in their place.

This operation will have serious and long-lasting consequences for Syrian society, activists and experts told Al-Mashareq.

The Fatemiyoun Division, one of the many Iran-backed militias comprised of Afghan fighters that is deployed in Syria, is “the most dangerous military arm of the IRGC”, said researcher Sheyar Turko, who specialises in the affairs of the IRGC and its affiliates.

The IRGC assembled and trained the members of this militia some time ago in Iranian camps near the Afghan border, he said.

“They received combat training from specialists, and their families were brought over from Afghanistan,” he said.

They were later enticed to fight in Syria by the prospect of good salaries and financial compensation, and should they be injured or killed, with the promise that the families of dead fighters would be granted Iranian citizenship, he said.

The process “will have devastating security and social consequences, as the region has its own historical and cultural character that is being contradicted in favour of customs that are totally alien to Syrian society”, he said.

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