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Ba'ath Brigades SSI and Insignia
Ba'ath Brigades Flag
|Dates of operation||Summer 2012 – September 2018 |
|Size||7,000 claimed (December 2013)|
|Allies|| Syrian Armed Forces|
National Defense Forces
|Opponents|| Free Syrian Army|
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
|Battles and wars||Syrian Civil War|
The Ba'ath Brigades (Arabic: كتائب البعث, romanized: Katā'ib al-Baʿth), also known as the Ba'ath Battalions, were a volunteer militia made up of Syrian Ba'ath Party members, almost entirely of Sunni Muslims from Syria and many Arab countries, loyal to the Syrian Government of Bashar al-Assad.
They was set up in Aleppo under the command of Hilal Hilal, the current Assistant Regional Secretary, after rebels took most of the eastern half of the city in summer 2012. Initially, the Ba'ath Brigades were used to guard government buildings and other key installations in Aleppo, but their role expanded as their strength grew from 5,000 members in November 2012 to 7,000 in December 2013. Units later formed in Latakia and Tartus. At the end of 2013, the Brigades began deploying in Damascus, tasked with manning checkpoints and conducting "light logistical operations". They spearheaded the assault on the Old City of Aleppo in early 2014.
The Baath Brigades were previously led by Ra’ed bin ‘Ali al-Ghadban - a high-ranking member of the Ba'ath Party's Deir ez-Zor branch. He resigned as the brigades' commander in 2017 to become a member of the central committee of the party, as well as a member of the Syrian government's delegation to the Sochi peace talks in the context of the Syrian peace process.
On 27 February 2017, Col. Salama Mohammed, a high-ranking Ba'ath Brigades commander and leader of the group's Tartus Governorate branch, was reportedly killed in action while fighting in the area around Hama. Some claimed, however, that Mohammed had instead died of a heart attack.
Following the Idlib demilitarization agreement in September of 2018, the Ba'ath Brigades were dissolved. The group's then-leader, Jihad Barakat, announced on his Facebook page that “The military operations conducted by Baath forces have completely ended”.
Despite the Ba'ath Brigades' end, several of their former commanders continued to play a prominent role in Syria. Bassem Sudan and Isam Nabhan Subai, former commanders of the brigades in Latakia and Hama respectively, successfully ran as candidates in the 2020 Syrian parliamentary election.
- Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party – Syria Region
- List of armed groups in the Syrian Civil War
- Baath militia of Iraq
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