The Shabbiha of Syria: Assad’s Mercenaries!
The Shabbiha are smuggling rings whose membership is derived mostly from the Assad clans and their allies within the Alawite and local communities along the Coastal region. They are well-armed, and many have been trained by Hezbollah in Lebanon, and/or the IRG in Iran. Their loyalty is without question to the Assad family. Whether they prefer Maher over Bashar or vice versa is not an issue at this stage, as the relationship between the two brothers is not as adversarial as many would like us believe. There could number as much as 10,000 individuals by some community, with entire community fearing them and/or relying on their “business.”