This picture, posted on the group’s Facebook page, shows al-Nujabaa fighters holding a military-style funeral for one of their ‘martyrs’. The place, the Military Engineering Academy in Aleppo, is described as the the group’s “headquarters”.
The al-Nujabaa Movement is one of 10 or so Iraqi sectarian militias funded and directed by Sepah Pasdaran that have been fighting in Syria on the side of the regime. It split from another Iraqi militia called Asa’eb Ahl al-Haq and has strong links with Hezbollah Lebanon. Among other places, it has admitted fighting alongside the latter in Qusayr, near Homs, in summer 2012.
What sort of army gives away its military facilities to mercenary militias? Only an army that has been turned into an armed gang defending Bashar al-Assad and his close circle. This picture is yet another proof that it is no longer the Syrian ‘army’ that is in charge on the ground. Sepah Pasdaran and their foot soldiers (Hezbollah Lebanon and the Iraqi militias) now have the upper hand and can even claim Syrian national institutions for themselves.