The Ba'ath Vanguards organization is a Ba'ath scout group for youth in Syria in the primary stage of education. To learn more about the Ba'ath Vanguards, I interviewed Abu Tariq Damara on 17 June 2019. He is a member of the leadership of the Deraa branch of the Ba'ath Vanguards. He is originally from the Yarmouk Basin village of Ma'ariyah. We also discussed in particular the return of the Ba'ath Vanguards' activities to areas of Deraa that were previously outside the control of the Syrian government.
Any parenthetical insertions in square brackets are my own.
Q: First can you tell me a little about the establishment of the Ba'ath Vanguards and its main activities?
A: An educational political organization that includes children of the Syrian Arab sector from students of the first grade until the sixth grade. And it works to give them a nationalist, socialist education according to the aims and principles of the Ba'ath party and thought of the leader Hafez al-Assad. It was established in 1974. It aims to give the children a nationalist, socialist education in order to attain the society of unity, freedom and socialism.
Q: What are the main offices within the Ba'ath scouts in every branch?
A: The organization and preparation office and the theatre, music and sports office. These two offices, I am in charge of them. The technical and media office, the culture and pioneering office, the arts office.
Aims of the organization:
Love for the Arab homeland and the Arab Syrian sector [of the Arab homeland].
Implanting the understandings of the ethnic heritage of our Arab homeland. Affirming sincerity and proficiency of work, cooperation and control.
Developing self-confidence and bringing joy to the lives of the children.
Developing the talents of the children, discovering them and nurturing them.
Attaining manual work and tying it with mental work.
Concern for the problems of childhood.
Q: Yes. For example you in the music office, what are the specific activities within this office? And on what days each week are there activities of the Vanguards?
A: Developing the talents of the children in theatre and music and popular arts. Supervising the activities of the Vanguard areas. Establishing annual festivals. Discovering the pioneers in these specialities. The activities continue throughout the days of the year, and in the summer there are courses and camps and clubs for the children: sports, social, artistic and entertainment.
Q: Of course when most of the areas of Deraa fell out of the control of the Syrian government during the events: in which areas did the Vanguards operate in Deraa?
A: Currently all areas of Deraa are secure.
Q: Have the Vanguards returned to all the liberated areas, even the Yarmouk Basin for example?
A: Of course. And this year we have done a course for the teachers, to polish them and make them suitable again, for a period of two days. Let it be known that I also did a workshop of theatre, music and popular arts for the areas that were previously not secure The number of teachers- male and female- reached 170. And we have done artistic productions in many of the areas of Deraa that were previously not secure: in Saida, Nasib, Inkhil, Nawa, Jasim, Da'el, Ibta'.
Lastly I would like to thank the head of the organization, the leadership of the party branch and the army for restoring security and the renaissance of the Vanguards to Deraa.