Voice of the Capital Network has mapped 284 security and military checkpoints in Damascus and its immediate countryside areas. The mapping process required three months of continuous work by both field and editorial teams.
Of these checkpoints:
45 checkpoints commanded by the “Raid Company of the Military Security Branch, coded (215);
56 checkpoints commanded by “Palestine Branch”, coded (235);
30 checkpoints commanded by the “Fourth Division” headed by the President’s brother “Maher Al-Assad”; And only 3 checkpoints commanded by the “Syrian Arab Army”
In addition, the team mapped over 50 checkpoints commanded by foreign and local mercenary militias; some of which have sectarian affiliations such as “Imam Hussein, Imam Ali, Zulfiqar and Al-Maqam Guards militas”.
“Al-Maqam Guards” (The Guardians of the Shrine) militia is responsible for the protection of shrines visited by Shia people from Iraq, Iran, Lebanon and other countries. It also commands several checkpoints in old Damascus, like “Ruqayya Shrine” checkpoint, “Al-Muhsenia secondary school” checkpoint, “Aqraba Road” checkpoint, and “Sayyidah Zaynab road” checkpoint. Those areas show a noticeable Shiite presence and form a security complex with hundreds of cameras to monitor streets. “Sayyidah Zaynab” area is the major Shia militias’ stronghold in Syria, housing thousands of foreign Shia fighters of different nationalities.
Other checkpoints in the capital Damascus are commanded by different local militias formed by the Syrian regime. Those militias recruit their members from local civilians, university graduates, state employees and volunteers; and they are supported by businessmen close to the Syrian regime. The list of local militias includes: The National Defence, Popular Committees, Al Ba’ath Battalions, Al-Bustan Association and the Arab National Guard, to name a few.
Al-Bustan Association is owned and run by “Rami Makhlouf” the cousin of the Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad, and one of Syria’s wealthiest businessmen.
The Arab National Guard is a multinational militia run by the Arab National Party, fighting in Syria under the name of “Nosour AlZawbaa”.