MEDirections is delighted to share a new Research Project Report from the Wartime and Post Conflict in Syria project (WPCS).
Being exhausted by war and suffering from substantial economic losses, the Syrian state’s capacity to provide the people with social welfare has considerably diminished during the conflict. To compensate for these needs, the Assad regime requested GO-NGOs and charities to raise international funds, reward loyalists and recruit volunteers to substitute for human losses on the battlefield.
This article examines the motivations, tools, strategies and affiliations of three regime-sponsored organizations and two charities associated with warlords. The study reveals continuity of the regime policy of transferring the responsibility for social welfare from the state to the private and associative sectors, together with the emergence of two new phenomena: the development of new spheres of competition among the highest echelons of power; and a tendency of loyalist armed groups to upgrade their social standing by providing their constituents with charity and services.
Inspecting the internal dynamics and evolution of the Syrian associative sector is crucial to ensure the just allocation of international aid and to prevent the regime from exploiting its claim of sovereignty to control UN-led humanitarian efforts in the war-torn country.