Created in 2012, the National Defence Forces comprises some 90,000 fighters from all religious confessions dispersed across Syria under the command of Brigadier General Hawash Mohammed.
- "Kataeb al-Baath" (The Baath Phalange, named after the ruling Baath party): headed by Hilal Hilal, this militia of 10,000 men is present in the northern city of Aleppo and in Damascus.
- "Suqur al-Sahraa" (The Desert Falcons): its 7,000 men are trained by Iranian officers and fight in the desert region in eastern Homs province against the Islamic State group (IS). They specialise in ambushes.
- "Nussur al-Zaoubaa" (The Tempest Eagles): this militia includes 6,000 sympathisers of the Syrian National Socialist Party.
- "Jaysh al-Wafaa" (The Army of Loyalty): since 2014, this militia has enrolled dozens of former rebels from the Eastern Ghouta region east of Damascus.
- "Dareh al-Sahel" (Shield of the Coast): made up of hundreds of militiamen mostly from the Alawite community from which President Bashar al-Assad hails, it fights in Latakia province.
- "Dareh al-Areen" (Shield of the Lion's Lair -- Assad means "lion" in Arabic): comprises fighters originally from Qardaha, Assad's ancestral village.
- The Syrian Resistance Group: fights in Latakia province, under the command of local leader Ali Kayali.
- "Al-Hosn" (The Fort): a security company of 6,000 men founded by businessman Rami Makhlouf, a cousin of Assad. Has fought in Damascus and Latakia.
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- "Dareh al-Watan" (Shield of the Nation): a Druze militia created in April 2015. Has some 2,000 men.
- "Sotoro": a Christian group of 500 fighters in Hasakeh province in the northeast.
- "Al-Maghawir" (The Commandos): a force of hundreds of members from tribes in the Badiya desert region. Funded by Iran.
- The Shaitat tribe militiamen (also known as "Ussud al-Sharqiya", or Lions of the East): in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor, it has between 700 and 900 fighters. In 2014, IS killed more than 900 members of the Shaitat tribe.
- Iranian Revolutionary Guards: at least 7,000 fighters have been deployed in Aleppo province. They are sent to Syria for short periods under a rotation system.
- Lebanese Hezbollah: according to Phillip Smyth, an expert on Shiite armed groups, 5,000 to 8,000 fighters have been present on all main fronts and have played a major role in the Qalamun region, as well as the towns of Zabadani and Qusayr near the Lebanese border.
- Abu al-Fadl al-Abbas: a group of 3,000 Iraqi volunteers who defend the Shiite holy site of Sayyida Zeinab south of Damascus.
- Afghan "Fatimids": up to 3,000 men have fought in Daraa province in the south.
- In the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmuk south of Damascus, pro-regime Palestinian organisations are fighting rebels and jihadists.