Syria

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

Syria declares victory over Islamic State

Syria’s army declared victory over Islamic State on Thursday, saying its capture of the jihadists’ last town in the country marked the collapse of their project in the region. The army and its allies are still fighting Islamic State in desert areas near Albu Kamal, the last town the militant group had held in Syria, near the border with Iraq, the army said. But the capture of the town ends Islamic State’s era of territorial rule over the so-called caliphate that it proclaimed in 2014 across Iraq and Syria and in which millions suffered under its hardline, repressive strictures.

Iran’s Velayati says east Syria, Idlib to be cleared ‘soon’

The top adviser to Iran’s supreme leader said he expects the Syrian army to soon recapture rebel-held Idlib province, as well as eastern Syria, an area where U.S.-backed militias hold swathes of territory. Iran is a close ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the Iranian official, Ali Akbar Velayati, was speaking in Aleppo, from which the Syrian army drove rebels after a siege last year with help from Tehran. The military alliance backing Assad, which also includes Russia and Shi‘ite Muslim militias, has this year focused on the war in central and eastern Syria against Islamic State (IS) militants.

Assad says Syria war does not end in Deir al-Zor

Syrian president Bashar al-Assad said the victories of the Syrian army and its allies against terrorist organizations do not end in Deir al-Zor province where Islamic State has its last significant stronghold, his office reported on Tuesday. He also indicated that he might take the war to the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which controls more than a quarter of Syria, by saying the war targeted those who seek to “divide and weaken states”.

Hezbollah media unit: Islamic State leader reported in Syrian town

A Hezbollah-run news outlet said on Friday that Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was reported present in the Syrian town of Albu Kamal during the Syrian army and its allies’ operation to clear it. The military unit did not say what had happened to Baghdadi, give further details or identify its sources. The U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State said on Friday it had no “releasable information” on Baghdadi’s whereabouts.

Syrian army steps up strikes on capital’s last rebel enclave

The Syrian army stepped up shelling and air strikes on the last rebel-held enclaves in the Syrian capital on Monday, its heaviest bombardment in a two-month campaign, rebels and witnesses said. From the strategic Qasyoun Heights that overlooks Damascus, elite units of the army pounded Jobar district, some 2 km (1.2 miles) east of the […]

Counter-ISIS Campaign to Intensify, Mattis Says

The U.S.-led coalition will accelerate its campaign to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said today in a joint press conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, with Defense Minister Claus Hjort Frederiksen. “We will further accelerate this fight to free people from ISIS’ crushing occupation and [the] enemy’s terror threat to […]

A Russian-Backed Deal on ‘Safe Zones’ for Syria Leaves U.S. Wary

Russia, Iran and Turkey said Thursday that they have agreed to create “de-escalation zones” across four areas in Syria, renewing diplomatic ­efforts to bring warring parties in the country to heel after six years of fighting. Meeting in the Kazakh capital, Astana, the three powers said the cease-fire deal would come into force Saturday and would apply to […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. (Last updated January 13, 2017 […]

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)