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

Chemical Weapons Watchdog Rejects a Request by Syria to Convert Arms Sites

Despite Syria’s cooperation with stringent terms laid down by the United States and Russia for the destruction of its chemical weapons, a request from Syria to convert some of the facilities used in that program to other activities failed Friday to win the approval of the international chemical weapons watchdog. Syria’s request, presented to the […]

Syrian Forces Press Rebels With Gains

Syrian government forces battling alongside fighters from the Lebanon-based Hezbollah have nearly broken the rebels’ hold on a strategic region north of the capital, Damascus, Syrian state news media and opposition activists said Thursday. A number of rebel groups, some of them linked to Al Qaeda, seized a string of towns this month in the […]

Islamist Rebels Capture Syria’s Largest Oilfield: Activists

Islamist rebels led by al Qaeda-linked fighters seized Syria’s largest oilfield on Saturday, cutting off President Bashar al-Assad’s access to almost all local crude reserves, activists said. There was no immediate comment from the government and it was not possible to verify the reports of the capture independently. […]

Six Islamist Factions Unite in Largest Syria Rebel Merger

The six largest Islamist rebel factions in Syria declared a new Islamic Front on Friday, forming the largest alliance of opposition fighters yet in the 2-1/2-year conflict. Syria’s fractious rebel forces have tried many times to unify their ranks and failed. Islamist rebel commanders, in a video aired on al Jazeera, said their new union would […]

Rebels Kill 150 Syrian Troops on Base

At least 150 Syrian soldiers were killed this week in a rebel attack that leveled the main buildings at a large base outside Damascus, one of the single highest death tolls of government troops since the start of the armed uprising, according to military and security personnel with knowledge of the assault. A Syrian military […]

Private Companies May Help Destroy Syria Arms

The global chemical weapons watchdog is inviting private companies to bid to get involved in destroying Syria’s stockpile of toxic agents and precursor chemicals. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is posting a request for “expressions of interest” from companies who want a role in “the treatment and disposal of hazardous and non-hazardous […]

Battlefield Gains to Boost Assad Hand at Peace Talks

Divisions in rebel ranks and more committed loyalist fighters are helping the Syrian regime notch up military victories that would give it the upper hand at peace talks, analysts and rebels say. The army’s capture this week of the strategic town of Qara, north of Damascus, followed three days of fighting against Al-Nusra Front jihadists. […]

Syrian Army Says Takes Town on North-South Highway

Syria’s army said it pushed rebels out of the southern town of Qara on Tuesday, strengthening its hold on a highway linking the capital to government strongholds along the Mediterranean coast. There was no immediate comment from insurgents on the assault by forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, which began on Friday. But regional news […]

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)