The strength and reach of pro-government paramilitary groups in Syria is growing and could threaten any future state, according to a report released this week by a U.S. conflict resolution advocacy group.

The report, issued Wednesday by the Carter Center’s Syria Conflict Mapping Project, says the growth of these groups represents a further decentralization of state authority and warns that the “reformulation of the government’s armed forces from a traditional military into militias could lead to a growth in warlordism.”

Taking advantage of areas where the state is absent, whether due to pressure from the opposition or strained resources, “the new commanders of these paramilitary groups may seek to provide services as well as protection, which will add more players to an already complex mosaic of militias, warlords, and local powerbrokers,” the report says. […]