MEDirections is delighted to share a new Research Project Report from the Wartime and Post Conflict in Syria project (WPCS). This paper was originally published in Arabic on 28 July 2020. It is now available in English.
In 2013, President Bashar al-Assad issued Decree No. 55 licensing private protection and guard service companies.
Was the move towards the privatisation of the security sector part of a series of concessions made by the regime to Russia and Iran on the economic and military fronts? Or was it a response to internal dynamics reflecting a need to protect Syrian businessmen close to the regime’s inner circle or ones affiliated with Russia and Iran in the light of the security apparatus’s failure to provide them with sufficient protection? Alternatively, was this privatisation a response to the regime’s need to re-absorb certain members of disbanded militias?
This research paper attempts to analyse the rise of these private security companies by detailing the most prominent ones and their owners and their roles, affiliations and the underlying local economic and security dynamics behind their creation.