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In the Shadow of the State: The Rise of Kata’ib Al-Baath at Aleppo University after 2011.

Author:

Ali Aljasem

Utrecht University, NL
About Ali
Ali Aljasem is a PhD candidate at the Center for Conflict Studies at the Department of History and Art History of Utrecht University focusing on paramilitary groups in Aleppo, Syria after 2011. He is also a research fellow at the Institute of Holocaust, War and Genocide Studies (NIOD) in Amsterdam. Formerly, Ali worked for several organisations like, amongst others, Dialogue Advisory Group, Doctors Without Borders (MSF), and War Child.
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Abstract

This paper examines the emergence and transformation of pro-state paramilitarism at Aleppo University in Syria in the context of the uprising and civil war. Paramilitarism refers to clandestine, irregular armed organisations that carry out illegal acts of violence against clearly defined civilian individuals or groups. From the outbreak of the uprising in March 2011, the Assad regime’s violent response to the mass protests across the country became more extensive and intensive. The key aspect of the Assad regime’s repression against the population was its use of paramilitary forces, especially through the arming and mobilising of ordinary Syrians in civil militias. Consequently, state-sponsored militias appeared in cities and towns across Syria to fill the gap and create a hub for recruitment, such as the Baath Party Battalions, in Aleppo in early 2012. One of the first tasks of this paramilitary group was to identify activists and pass information on them to the intelligence branches. While they seem to have appeared out of the blue, they had a clear prehistory: these groups were rooted in existing civil society networks. How were these networks embedded in the Syrian state prior to the conflict? How and why were they recruited in 2011?
How to Cite: Aljasem, A., 2021. In the Shadow of the State: The Rise of Kata’ib Al-Baath at Aleppo University after 2011.. Journal of Perpetrator Research, 3(2), pp.87–113. DOI: http://doi.org/10.21039/jpr.3.2.82
Published on 10 May 2021.
Peer Reviewed

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