Dozens of elements within the pro-regime National Defence Forces (NDF) have withdrawn from the Syrian army and joined Iranian militias "seeking higher salaries", official sources reported yesterday.
"More than 70 members of the NDF have joined the Sheikh Akram militia, affiliated to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, in Syria's Al-Bukamal city," local media quoted the sources as saying.
The sources pointed out that the splits had taken place "in batches", explaining that 20 soldiers had left on Tuesday, another 40 left on Wednesday, and 12 left yesterday.
Rifts have been emerging between Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad and his traditional allies Iran and Russia. Last weekend, Russian forces took control of a major oil field in the Deir Ez-Zor governorate, in eastern Syria, after removing regime forces from it.