Syria

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In 1946, Syria gained full independence from France. The country faced constant political instability and coups until the rise of Alawite military figure Hafez al Assad in 1970. Syria participated in all of the joint Arab wars against Israel from 1948 through 1973.  Syria has a long-standing dispute with Israel over the Golan Heights, conquered by Israel during the 1967 Six Day War. In 1976, Syria occupied Lebanon, and continued to do so until 2005. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the government repressed an Islamist uprising with violent brutality. Bashar al-Assad came to power in 2000 after the death of his father who himself came to power in a military coup. Under Bashar, the regime sponsored jihadist attacks against the U.S. military in Iraq and built a nuclear facility, with North Korean assistance, which was destroyed by the Israeli Air Force. Since March 2011, the Arab Spring has challenged Bashar’s claim to leadership.  In response to the unrest, Assad’s forces have slaughtered over 110,000 people, including via the use of chemical weapons. Assad receives extensive military support from Iran, Russia, and Hezbollah.

  • Population
    22,457,336
  • GDP
    $64.7 Billion
  • Fit for Service
    9,939,661
  • Military EXHD
    3.6% of GDP

Syrian Army Pushing Back Insurgent Offensive, Military Source Says

Syria’s army and its allies retook a village near Hama on Saturday, a Syrian military source said, as the government tries to turn back a major insurgent offensive, but bitter fighting continued, a war monitor said. President Bashar al-Assad and his allies, Russia, Iran and Shi’ite militias from nearby countries, are seeking to staunch the […]

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Israel Threatens to Destroy Syrian Air Defenses

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman has warned Syria that Israel will destroy its air defense system if Syria fires an anti-aircraft missile at Israeli aircraft again. Speaking on Israel public radio Sunday morning, Liberman said, “The next time the Syrians use their air defense systems against our airplanes, we will destroy all of them without […]

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U.S. Likely to Send as Many as 1,000 More Troops into Syria Ahead of Raqqa Offensive, Officials Say

The U.S. military has drawn up early plans that would deploy up to 1,000 more troops into northern Syria in the coming weeks, expanding the American presence in the country ahead of the offensive on the Islamic State’s de facto capital of Raqqa, according to U.S. defense officials familiar with the matter. The deployment, if approved by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis […]

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2,100 Iranian Fighters Said Killed in Iraq, Syria

More than 2,000 fighters sent from Iran have been killed in Iraq and Syria, the head of Iran’s veterans’ affairs office said Tuesday. “Some 2,100 martyrs have been martyred so far in Iraq or other places defending the holy mausoleums,” Mohammad Ali Shahidi told the state-run IRNA news agency. Shahidi, who is head of Iran’s […]

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Rival Groups Race for Control of Syria’s Raqqa

A major battle to liberate the Islamic State group’s stronghold of Raqqa in northern Syria is looming, with U.S. officials looking to build on momentum from victories on the battlefields of Mosul in Iraq. The Pentagon has drawn up a secret plan to do that, likely leaning on local allies with stepped-up American support. The […]

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Trump Needs a New Approach to Syria: Bottom-Up Defense

A draft executive order that awaits President Donald Trump’s signature directs the State Department and Pentagon to produce a plan, within 90 days, for providing safe zones in Syria. For more than six years policy experts have argued over possible solutions to stop the devastation and end the civil war. None found favor in Washington. Given the tumultuous […]

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Iran’s Maritime Mirage

Iran is doing enough damage in the Middle East through unconventional methods without requiring a robust navy. That is why an idea floated by a key Iranian military leader to build naval bases in Yemen and Syria makes absolutely no sense. Mohammad Bagheri, the chief of Iran’s armed forces general staff, suggested last month that […]

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Covering the Bases: Reassessing U.S. Military Deployments in Turkey After the July 2016 Coup d’État

Download the full report here (PDF). The Republic of Turkey has been a reliable staging point for U.S. forces for more than six decades. Turkish bases have historically provided the U.S. military easy access to multiple theaters without having to build new infrastructure or forge new agreements. Today, American forces in Turkey are targeting the […]

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Hezbollah’s Strategy in Syria Won’t Help Against Israel

Over the last three years of the Syrian Civil War, Hezbollah has increasingly operated as a regular army rather than in its traditional, decades-long role as a guerrilla force. The Shiite group has operated Syrian tanks and artillery, jeeps with recoilless rifles, and is even rumored to have acquired its own 75-tank armored brigade. As […]

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Reconsidering Safe Zones in Syria

The situation in Syria remains bleak, with no end in sight to its five-year civil war. President Bashar Assad’s forces and their Russian and Iranian backers continue to lay waste to rebel-held territory, leaving the rebels with shrinking leverage to pressure the regime into a lasting political settlement. Meanwhile, the Islamic State (ISIS) holds key […]

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Crowded Skies Over Syria Raise Risk of Unintended Clashes

Russian forces in Syria have fired upon Israel Air Force (IAF) aircraft on at least two different occasions, the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth reported last week. Officials in Moscow unsurprisingly dismissed the report, but the possibility of Russian-Israeli clashes over Syria is actually more plausible than it may seem. The skies above Syria are crowded, […]

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The Mideast’s Precision Guided Arms Race

Precision guided munitions (PGMs) encompass a growing range of bombs and missiles designed to destroy targets on land, at sea, or in the air. While platforms like fighters, armored vehicles, and warships often receive more attention, their lethality is almost negligible if not bolstered by advanced munitions. With minor updates, today’s PGMs allow even older […]

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Tracker: Israeli Strikes in Syria

As the Syrian Civil War rages, Israel has conducted a number of sporadic strikes inside the war-torn country.  These strikes are to enforce Israel’s so-called “red line” in Syria, which includes transfers of sophisticated weapon systems to Hezbollah in Lebanon and threats along its border. View the full screen map here.

Category Name
QME

Active Armaments
On Order
Air Defense Systems 1,689* (0)

Aircraft 585* (56)

Artillery 3,368* (0)

Ground Vehicles 7,491* (0)

Guided Munitions 7,580* (10)

Personnel 492,000 (0)

Ships 35 (0)