Ba'ath Brigades

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Ba'ath Brigades
كتائب البعث
FounderHilal Hilal
Dates of operationSummer 2012[6] – September 2018 [1]
Active regionsSyria
Secularism[citation needed]
Size7,000 claimed (December 2013)[9]
Allies Syrian Armed Forces
National Defense Forces
Opponents Free Syrian Army
Islamic Front
al-Nusra Front
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
Battles and warsSyrian Civil War

The Ba'ath Brigades (Arabic: كتائب البعث‎, romanizedKatā'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.[11]


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.[6][12] 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".[9] They spearheaded the assault on the Old City of Aleppo in early 2014.[11]

The Ba'ath Battalions participated in lifting the three-year siege at Kuweires military airbase alongside the elite Cheetah Forces, and National Defence Forces.[13]

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.[2]

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.[4]

The Ba'ath Legion of the Syrian Army's 5th Corps was formed from Ba'ath Brigades volunteers.[14]

By mid-2018, the Syrian government began to disband the Ba'ath Brigades, as well as other pro-government militias, integrating parts of them into the Syrian Army.[15][16][17]

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”.[1]


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.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Source: The "Tiger" Cancels the Contracts of 6500 of Its Troops throughout Syria". Enab Baladi. 2018-09-20. Retrieved 2019-08-31.
  2. ^ a b Awad, Ziad (2019). The rebuilding of regime networks in Deir Ez-Zor: Identifying key local players (PDF). European University Institute - Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies. p. 13.
  3. ^ "Veteran Baath members establish pro-Assad militia to fight opposition". ARA News. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
  4. ^ a b "Senior leader of al-Baath Party Killed in #Syria". El-Dorar Al-Shamia. 23 February 2017. Archived from the original on 11 June 2019. Retrieved 17 March 2017.
  5. ^ a b c Karam Shaar; Samy Akil (28 January 2021). "Inside Syria's Clapping Chamber: Dynamics of the 2020 Parliamentary Elections". Middle East Institute. Retrieved 29 April 2021.
  6. ^ a b Aron Lund (13 January 2014). "The Baath Battalions Move Into Damascus". Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Retrieved 15 January 2014.
  7. ^ The New Druze Militia Factions of Suwayda Province
  8. ^ Kurdish police attack Syrian gov’t forces in Hasakah City
  9. ^ a b كتائب البعث» إلى شوارع دمشق» (in Arabic). Al Akhbar. 30 December 2013. Retrieved 14 January 2014.
  10. ^ "السويداء: "فاطميون" و"النمر" و"حزب الله" لقيادة معركة درعا" [As-Suwayda: Fatimion, Al-Nimr and Hezbollah to lead the battle of Daraa]. Almodon (in Arabic). 26 June 2018. Retrieved 11 August 2018.
  11. ^ a b Edward Dark (14 March 2014). "Pro-regime Sunni fighters in Aleppo defy sectarian narrative". Al Monitor. Retrieved 20 March 2014.
  12. ^ Edward Dark (20 November 2013). "Syrian Baath militia commander goes rags-to-riches". Al Monitor. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
  13. ^ Leith Fadel (10 November 2015). "Cheetah Forces Lift the Three Year Long Siege of the Kuweires Military Airbase". Al-Masdar News. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  14. ^ "Syrian regime forms militia mostly from the ruling party". Zaman Alwasl. 16 March 2017. Retrieved 17 March 2017.
  15. ^ علي, عدنان. "النظام السوري يواصل حل المليشيات وإزالة الحواجز العسكرية". alaraby (in Arabic). Retrieved 2019-08-31.
  16. ^ "Troublesome allies: How the Syrian regime is reintegrating loyalist militias". Middle East Eye. Retrieved 2019-08-31.
  17. ^ "Russia Curbs Maher al-Assad's Influence". The Syrian Observer. 2019-03-08. Retrieved 2019-08-31.