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

U.S., Britain Suspend Aid to North Syria After Islamists Seize Weapons Store

The United States and Britain suspended non-lethal aid to northern Syria after Islamist fighters seized Western-backed rebel weapons warehouses, highlighting fears that supplies could end up in the wrong hands and the general chaos engulfing the nation. The rebel Free Syrian Army fighting President Bashar al-Assad said the U.S. and British moves were rushed and mistaken. “We […]

Syrian Army Piles Pressure on Rebel-Held Yabrud

Syrian regime forces on Tuesday bombarded outskirts of the rebel-held town of Yabrud, the last opposition stronghold in the strategic Qalamoun region north of Damascus, a monitoring group said. “The next operation in Qalamoun is most likely going to be Yabrud, the last opposition stronghold,” Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human […]

Syria Regime Forces ‘Advance in Lebanon Border Region’

Syrian regime forces made gains Sunday in the key town of Nabuk, one of the last rebel-held areas in the Qalamoun region bordering Lebanon, a watchdog said. “There is fierce fighting in Nabuk between government forces, backed by Lebanese Hezbollah fighters, and Al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant,” the Syrian […]

Syrian Forces Recapture Key Town

Pro-regime forces on Sunday recaptured most sections of a strategic town north of the Syrian capital, as opposition activists accused them of committing atrocities against civilians there. Heavy clashes have raged since mid-November in Nabak, situated off a major highway about 50 miles northeast of Damascus, and in several surrounding towns and villages after fighters […]

Syrian Opposition Alleges New Poison Gas Attack

Opposition activists again accused President Bashar al-Assad’s forces of using poison gas in Syria’s civil war on Thursday, and said victims had been discovered with swollen limbs and foaming at the mouth. The activists told Reuters two shells loaded with gas hit a rebel-held area in the town of Nabak, 68 km (40 miles) northeast […]

Rocket Fire Kills 17 in Syrian City of Aleppo

Rockets fired into a government-controlled district of Aleppo killed at least 17 people in the northern Syrian city on Wednesday, state media and a monitoring group said. Photographs from the incident in Meridien and Furqan, two adjacent neighborhoods in western Aleppo, showed pools of blood on the pavements and a crater in the road where […]

Battlefield Lessons in Syria Strengthen Hezbollah’s Fighting Force

Fighters from the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah have helped Bashar al-Assad’s regime to stay in power and roll back some of the earlier battlefield gains made by the Syrian armed opposition. Hezbollah’s involvement in the Syrian conflict, however, has had a spin-off benefit for the Iranian-backed organization: turning a new generation of young recruits into […]

Suicide Bomber Kills Four in Central Damascus

A suicide bomber killed at least four people and wounded 17 in central Damascus on Tuesday, Syrian state television reported. “Four dead, 17 injured in a suicide bombing in the Jebbeh district of Jisr al-Abyad,” state television said in a breaking news alert. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitoring group, said the […]

IDF Patrol Comes Under Fire Near Syrian Border

Israel Defense Forces soldiers on routine patrol near the Israel-Syria border, in the northern part of the Golan Heights, came under fire, Army Radio reported Monday. No injuries or damage were reported. The troops returned fire at the Syrian post recognized as the source of the fire, reporting that a Syrian solider was injured as […]

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)