The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

Ongoing efforts to entrench their presence in Deir Ezzor | Iranian-backed militias continue luring children by offering incentives to learn Shiite ideological curriculums

Deir Ezzor province: Residents in Deir Ezzor province face critical challenges affecting the Syrian society, which manifest themselves in the activities and practices by Iranian-backed militias which continue exploiting children for religious and political purposes. Iranian-backed militias have not only recruited children to military formations, but also they exert diligent efforts to brainwash them through luring them to learn Shiite ideological curriculum of Al-Wali Al-Faqih (the Jurisprudent Ruler).


In early 2024, Iranian-backed militias sent a batch of children from Deir Ezzor province to Karbala city in Iraq with the aim of teaching them Shiite curriculum; this, in turn, badly effects the Syrian society.


Speaking to SOHR, a 45-year-old woman known as “Um Ghayth” living in Al-Mayadeen city in eastern Deir Ezzor commented on the escalating influence of Iranian-backed militias and its negative effect on the locals. The woman said “we should have escaped from repression practised by Iranian-backed militias, but we have become loyal to the Iranians instead. Everyone expressing rejection of the Iranians and their practices is threaten to be fired from the city. Those militias prevails like cancer, exploiting the extreme poverty of the region’s families. They are strewn everywhere in the region. I feel that I have become a stranger in my home city where I was born and lived. They have succeeded, in different ways, to affect children and women and lure them to be loyalists, I have decided to escape with my children to protect them from this devastating approach.


“Um Ghayth” has expressed her deep disturbance and discomfort against the strategy followed by these militias which provide humanitarian assistance, including food baskets and large financial support, to impose their influence and predominance, exploiting the residents’ need of such assistance. Accordingly, the residents have found themselves forced to give up their religion and adopt ideologies contravene the traditions of the indigenous inhabitants, as the woman described.


On April 3, SOHR sources reported that the Iranian Cultural Centre in Al-Mayadeen city opened an educational course for children aged nine to 13 years. The course includes teaching the Persian language and lessons in the doctrine of “Walli Al-Faqih”, for a period of two months, approximately two hours per day, and students registered in primary schools are allowed to attend the centre without any exposure or accountability for school dropout or expulsion. The registered children are provided with food during the break: “bananas, cakes, juice”. At the end of the course, the top five will be honored with a visit to Iran and all the children will be given a sum of 25 thousand SYP as a motivational prize.