Even though the Syrian government has restored full control of the major city of Aleppo in the early months of 2020, fears of a new round of battles in the city are on the rise following reports of an Iranian-backed militia openly recruiting in the city.
Syrian opposition media outlets are reporting that the #Iran-backed militia, Kataib al-Imam Ali, has opened a new recruitment center at the heart of the regime-run northern city of Aleppo. #Syriahttps://t.co/3d7J2ot49z— Jason Brodsky (@JasonMBrodsky) March 22, 2021
According to opposition sources, the Kata'ib al-Imam Ali has established a drafting center in Aleppo, north of Syria. These reports highlight this fact, stressing the point the Iranian-backed Shite militia, which came to existence in June 2014 as a response to the rise of the Sunni ISIS, is now calling on all young men to join the militia.
Moreover, local witnesses noted Kata'ib al-Imam Ali already received the green light from the Syrian regime in Damascus, including an agreement to enlist army defectors and or individuals who have dodged compulsory military service in recent years.
#Syria- Iranian proxy militia, Kataib al-Imam Ali, has opened a new recruitment center at the heart of the regime-run northern city of Aleppo.— Mete Sohtaoğlu (@metesohtaoglu) March 22, 2021
Establishing the drafting center took place with consent from the Syrian Assad regime, said local sources.#Iran
#Syria— The “Imam Ali Brigades” militia, in cooperation with the #Iranian “Al-Baqer Brigade”, opened centers for the recruitment of #Aleppo youths into their ranks in the Blairmon neighborhood, in implementation of the instructions of an official in the Iranian #Quds Force. 1/6— Ali Javanmardi (@Javanmardi75) March 23, 2021
Online, people have widely shared the news wondering whether or not these accelerating drafting efforts aim to mobilize and prepare for yet another round of war, despite the relevant calm in government-controlled areas over the last year.
It is still unclear what local, regional, or international developments have inspired these military decisions, but many commentators have linked the news to extensive Iranian efforts to manifest its power in the region, especially in Syria, particularly as it tackles international endeavors to sign a nuclear pact with the new US administration.