Asharq Al-Awsat reports:
The state of unity exhibited by the Syrian regime since the outbreak of protests more than 5 months may have finally come to an end. Over this period of time, the al-Assad regime has relied on Syrian military forces and the pro-regime “Shabiha” militia to suppress the protests taking place across the country, but both forces have now begun slowly to move out of the Damascus regime’s control. This is a state of affairs that could significantly change the equation on the ground and may lead to a scenario that will result in a quick and indeed surprising end to the Syrian crisis, which has so far claimed 2,200 lives, according to Human Rights groups’ estimates.
The “Shabiha” militia has played a prominent role in silencing the demonstrations taking place in Syria. The Syrian security apparatus hired the “Shabiha” militia to suppress anti-regime protests, and eyewitness reports indicate that “Shabiha” militants have beaten and killed unnamed Syrian demonstrators, as part of the al-Assad regime’s campaign to quell the popular uprising against it.
However the Syrian regime is now running out of funds, particularly after the protests and demonstrations have continued for more than 4 months. This has led to a situation where the al-Assad regime is no longer able to continue paying the “Shabiha” militia. This has reportedly angered members of the pro-regime militia and may even lead to them electing to withdraw from the picture.
The Syrian regime’s trouble finding funds to pay the pro-regime “Shabiha” militia, who have been instrumental in the al-Assad regime’s campaign to quell the popular uprising, represents the first overt indication that the economic sanctions imposed on the Syrian regime by the international community is having an effect. Earlier this week, Syrian Central Bank Governor Adib Mayaleh acknowledged that “we [the people of Syria] will have to tighten our belts” adding that “all [Syrians] will be increasingly affected [by the economic sanctions], and this will create unemployment and poverty.”
This confirms information reported to Asharq Al-Awsat by a well-informed source that the “Shabiha” militia has threatened to go on strike if the Syrian government continues to fail to pay up. The source stressed that this is an extremely urgent issue, particularly as many members of the “Shabiha” militia in Damascus left the capital for Latakia and other Syrian provinces, after the Syrian regime stopped paying them.