This is an interesting move. Of course during an armed revolt, Syria no longer has the luxury of using the police and military for all security functions. If anything, the police are being taken away to do more war-like functions and have less manpower to deal with petty crime and the day to day functions of a domestic police force.
Enter private security. Now at first, this seems to be a pretty basic move. But there might be more to this, or it might evolve into a different animal. Specifically, will the private security market morph into more of a mercenary market of force to support the Assad regime? Russian or Iranian private military groups (or government proxies) moving in to provide manpower to the cause? As the war in Syria drags on, all and any means of force will be considered by both sides of the conflict.
A great example of what I am talking about are the rebels, and how their ranks are filled with foreign opposition fighters. Palestinians account for the largest amount of foreign fighter deaths at a staggering 471 killed in action. The total amount of foreign opposition fighter deaths is 2,759! –Matt
Edit: 6/19/2015- I wanted to add a new deal to this post in regards to Assad’s use of private forces. Apparently Iran has been hiring Afghan mercenaries to fight in Syria. Here is the link to this story done by the BBC.
Syria’s Assad ‘legalises’ private security firms
August 6, 2013
Syria’s president has passed a decree legalising private security firms, faced with a 29-month armed revolt against his rule that has pinned down the police, state news agency SANA reported Tuesday.
President Bashar al-Assad’s decree regulates “licencing for private companies that provide protection and guard duties … to ensure the safety of individuals, establishments, property and the transport of cash, jewels and precious metals,” said SANA.
One-year renewable licences are to be issued by the interior ministry, it said, but only to Syrian nationals with capital of more than $250,000.
“The interior minister will define the categories of arms to be used by each company, ranging from revolvers to rifles and others,” said the agency.
The decree also stipulates that each company will be licenced to recruit between 300 and 800 guards.
A security source told AFP that guards will have to wear a uniform, while the decree will allow security companies to open offices and issue employees with hand arms.
“Security guards will be in charge of protecting prominent personalities and businesses, while securing the transport of money,” the source told AFP on condition of anonymity.
Before Syria’s conflict broke out in mid-March 2011, “these tasks were mainly assigned to the police. But because of the situation, now the police has other tasks,” he added.
Alongside the anti-Assad uprising, Syria has been plagued by a spike in crime, kidnappings and robberies.