On previous occasions I have written about multiple units within the Local Defence Forces (LDF). In this post I cover another LDF unit: the Special Assignments Battalion (Katibat al-Maham al-Khasa), also known as the Special Assignments Brigade (Liwa al-Maham al-Khasa).
Emblem of the Special Assignments Group/Brigade. The top of the emblem reads: "Syrian Arab Army: Local Defence Forces (The Friends)." Beneath that is a Qur'an quotation: "And it has been a right upon Us to support the believers." At the bottom: "Special Assignments Brigade."
The group was originally established in the Damascus area in 2016. Most of its members come from Damascus, Damascus countryside and the Salmiya area in Hama province (which has a substantial Ismaili population). The group's leader- Abu Hayder- is originally from Salmiya. The group has fought battles and carried out assignments in many areas including:
- The wider eastern region of Syria (incl. T4, al-Sawana, Palmyra, al-Sukhna and Albukamal)
- Securing the line connecting between the T2 and T3 pumping stations in the eastern desert
- al-Hajar al-Aswad (south Damascus suburb that was controlled by Islamic State)
- Harasta (Damascus suburb)
- Jobar (Damascus suburb)
- Latakia countryside
- Idlib and Aleppo countryside (currently)
In its original establishment, the group's function has been to act as a reserve battalion under the disposition of the general commander of the LDF (al-Sayyid Jawad of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps). Thus it can be assigned to embed and work with other forces.
Members of the Special Assignments Battalion, including the leader Abu Hayder in the centre.
Weapons taken from Islamic State personnel during an ambush against them.
For example, during the Albukamal operations, the group was assigned to work with the forces of Hezbollah. During the al-Hajar al-Aswad operations, the group was assigned to work with the Republican Guard, and when it came to securing the line between the T2 and T3 pumping stations, it was assigned to work with the 18th division of the Syrian army.
Members of the Special Assignments Battalion.
More recently, the group joined the Qamr Bani Hashim division under al-Hajj Asghar of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (who headed the Idlib sector of LDF and was recently killed on the west Aleppo countryside front) as part of participation in operations in Latakia countryside and west Aleppo countryside.