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
  • GDP
    $64.7 Billion
  • Fit for Service
  • Military EXHD
    3.6% of GDP

Russian Carrier Sails for the Mediterranean

Russia’s only aircraft carrier, Admiral Kuznetsov , and a supporting naval task group has set sail for the Mediterranean, state-owned news agency TASS has reported. “The group consists of the aircraft-carrying heavy cruiser Admiral Kuznetsov , the battlecruiser Pyotr Velikiy , large anti-submarine ships Severomorsk and Vice Admiral Kulakov and support vessels,” according to a […]


In Syria Crisis, Russia Expands Alliance With Iran, Increases Missile Presence

Russian officials intensified their rhetoric over the Syria crisis Thursday, saying Moscow was stepping up cooperation with Iran and boosting its military presence in the eastern Mediterranean. The Russian military said Thursday that a new small warship armed with cruise missiles will join Russian’s naval grouping off the coast of Syria in the coming days, […]


Russia Adds Another Air Defense System in Syria

Russia’s decision to add another air defense system to Syria will not affect U.S. or coalition flights there, Pentagon officials said Tuesday. Russia was adding a surface-to-air defense system in Syria, Fox News reported Monday. The ground-based system fires missiles that could pose a threat to U.S. and coalition jets and missiles. The United States […]


Obama Administration Considering Strikes on Assad, Again

U.S. military strikes against the Assad regime will be back on the table Wednesday at the White House, when top national security officials in the Obama administration are set to discuss options for the way forward in Syria. But there’s little prospect President Obama will ultimately approve them. Inside the national security agencies, meetings have […]


U.S. Abandons Efforts to Work with Russia on Syria

U.S.-Russia relations fell to a new post-Cold War low Monday as the Obama administration abandoned efforts to cooperate with Russia on ending the Syrian civil war and forming a common front against terrorists there, and Moscow suspended a landmark nuclear agreement. The latter move, scuttling a deal the two countries signed in 2000 to dispose […]


Syria Rebels Draw Closer to al Qaeda-Linked Group

Some of Syria’s largest rebel factions are doubling down on their alliance with an al Qaeda-linked group, despite a U.S. warning to split from the extremists or risk being targeted in airstrikes. The rebel gambit is complicating American counterterrorism efforts in the country at a time the U.S. is contemplating cooperation with Russia to fight […]


Syria Believes It’s on Way to Military Victory

Syria’s top diplomat told the world’s nations Saturday that his country’s belief in military victory is greater now because the army “is making great strides in its war against terrorism” with support from Russia, Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah fighters. Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said Syria is more determined than ever to eliminate “terrorism” from the […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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, […]


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 […]


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.


Putin’s S-400 Power-Play in Syria

Russia is upping the ante in the Eastern Mediterranean in response to the downing of its fighter jet by Turkish F-16s last week. Russian President Vladimir Putin has deployed S-400 air-defense missiles in Syria and expanded fighter escorts for bombing operations. While Moscow has predicated its intervention in Syria on supporting the Bashar al-Assad regime’s […]


Putin’s Belligerence Reaches a Tipping Point

Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet today after it violated the country’s airspace. The Turkish military claims it issued ten warnings before shooting down the aircraft, while Russia denies any breach of Turkish territory. The incident marks the most serious direct confrontation between a NATO member and Russia in half a century. Russian President […]


Russian Forces Shield Hezbollah’s Arms Supply From Israeli Strikes

The sudden appearance of Russian forces in Syria in recent weeks is raising concerns about inadvertent conflicts with the U.S.-led coalition. But while much of the spotlight may be on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s bid to prop up the Assad regime and the escalating diplomatic tensions with Washington, Russia’s gambit presents a challenge for another […]


Russian Forays Into Turkish Airspace Challenge Ankara’s Syria Policy… And NATO

Russian warplanes entered Turkish airspace from Syria twice over the weekend, sending Turkish F-16s scrambling. In separate incidents on Monday, a Russian-made Syrian MiG-29 jet placed two Turkish F-16s patrolling the border under radar lock for several minutes. Later that day, Syrian surface-to-air missile batteries locked on to another flight of Turkish F-16s. The incidents […]

Category Name

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

Aircraft 585* (56)

Artillery 3,368* (0)

Ground Vehicles 7,491* (0)

Guided Munitions 7,080* (10)

Personnel 492,000 (0)

Ships 35 (0)