More than 4,000 locals of the Eastern Ghouta region joined the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and several pro-government armed groups during the last few weeks, the Syrian pro-opposition news outlet Damascus Voice reported on May 9.
The Damascus Voice said that a majority of the locals had voluntarily joined the Russian-backed Palestinian group Liwa al-Quds, while few dozens had chosen to join the Tiger Forces. A third part of the locals went to serve in the SAA, mainly in the Republican Guard.
According to the report, the SAA has deployed some units of these groups in southern Damascus to secure the rear of SAA units, which are currently attacking the besieged fighters of ISIS in the Yarmouk refugee camp and the al-Hajar al-Aswad district.
The evacuation agreement between Jaysh al-Islam and Damascus gave 18-42 y.o. men there a six-month period to reconcile and join the SAA, if they have not completed their mandatory service. However, the Damascus Voice said that the majority of locals had joined the SAA and pro-government forces before the end of this period.
A similar situation occurred in the newly liberated region of Eastern Qalamun, where thousands of locals joined the SAA and Russian-backed forces recently, according to Syrian pro-government activists.
Local observers believe that these new recruits will play a key role in the upcoming military operations of the SAA against ISIS and the former branch of al-Qaeda in Syria, Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS).