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February 03, 2012

Syria's 4th brigade, Republican Guards, leading repression!

February 03, 2012

February 03, 2012

Since the beginning of the Syrian revolution, early last year, many reports and observers have stressed the role of the Fourth Brigade, and Republican Guards in repression, whilst the rest of the Syrian army divisions remains in their barracks. Regardless of how accurate these reports are and have been, the Arab Digest looks at these two brigades and their structures to highlight their significance in the coup-paranoid regime's contingency plans.
The former president Hafez Assad led a coup against his two comrades, President Nureddine Atassi, and his deputy Salah Jadid. Atassi and Jadid refused to give in, and preferred to die in dark prisons than to lend legitimacy to Assad's rule. Hafez's coup left him distrusting many around him; he consolidated his rule, not through the comradeship he betrayed, but through familial and Sectarian ties. From these choices, the independent Defense Brigades were born. Assad picked his brother Refaat to lead those forces that participated in his Lebanon intervention, and committed atrocities during the regime's crackdown on Syria's Islamist uprising in 1982. After Assad fell out with his brother Refaat following an attempted coup, the Defense Brigades 15-25 thousand soldiers, the vast majority of which are Allawites, were merged into the mechanized fourth division in Syria's army. Their "independent" family-run status remained as such, and they still received the best of Syria's weapon purchases from T-72 tanks, anti-aircraft SAM rockets, and attack helicopters. While prepping up his son Bashar to take over Syria's hereditary presidency, his son Maher, known to be ruthless among his school peers, took over in a repeat of the 1970s/early 80s brothers duo experience.
The fourth Brigade's bases are around Damascus, while the Republican Guards, whose core is also Allawite, is the only military division allowed to operate within Damascus. The Guards are around 10,000 soldiers; their primary responsible is the President/Regime's protection. The Fourth Brigade is not loyal to Bashar, but to his brother Maher; their military doctrine entails forming a cult around Maher's leadership.
Recently, the fourth division has been dispatched to repress the uprising in different Syrian cities and towns. Many videos show 4th brigade soldiers and officers killing and torturing dissidents and disobeying soldiers. A particularly infamous video, below, shows Syrian officers executing a soldier accused of mutiny, they ask him to say "no God but Maher, no God but Bashar before they execute him".

(Here is a video of the Defense Brigades, showing their female conscripts killing snakes with their teeth, before cooking them for lunch, all in front of the former Syrian President, Hafez Assad, and his brother Refaat)


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