The Baath Battalions, a militia controlled by the ruling Baath Arab Socialist Party, has started to show up at government checkpoints and roadblocks in Damascus, with aims to support the Syrian Arab Army and the security services.
The Syrian war has attracted thousands of foreign volunteers who now fight on almost every front.
Different areas of Qamishli are controlled by either regular regime forces or a collection of rival militias, including the Syriacs’ own militia force, the Sutoro.
During the current uprising, most of Syria’s Druze have kept to the Assad government’s side, like other religious minorities.
The Arab Socialist Baath Party has ruled Syria since 1963 and continues to do so after the constitutional changes in spring 2012.
The Syrian war has been a disaster for the country’s Palestinian refugee population. The half-million Palestinians who have lived in the country since they were driven out by Israeli forces in 1948 were sharply divided over the 2011 revolution.
While he is routinely billed as an “opposition leader” in Syrian, Iranian, and Russian media, Qadri Jamil has always hovered on the outskirts of regime politics.