Pro-regime militias that have thrived amid the chaos of Syria’s five-year civil war are becoming increasingly powerful and prone to warlordism as the state rapidly loses its ability to reign them in, defense analysts say.

Tobias Schneider, a defense policy analyst, recently highlighted a particularly extreme case of Syria’s evolving warlordism, which he claims is already too deep-rooted for the regime to try to reverse.

The increasingly powerful clans have their roots in groups of armed gangs, known as shabiha, who reemerged as militias in 2011 as a tool of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime to brutally suppress dissent.

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