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The defense, which (2006) comprises 310,000 men, is based on general military duty with an initial service of 30 months. The army comprises 200,000 men and is organized into ten mechanized divisions and four independent brigades. In addition, the Republican Guard, an elite unit of division size and a division of "special forces". Syria has three ground robot brigades and more than 4,900 tanks. The Navy comprises 7,500 men with two frigates, 18 smaller battleships, three landing craft and a naval aircraft of about 15 combat helicopters. The Air Force comprises 40,000 men with approximately 580 fighter aircraft and 70 armed helicopters. Semi-military security forces amount to 8,000 men. The People's Army, a reserve, consists of 100,000 men. The material is semi-modern and of Soviet origin.

Military of Syria

Defense costs decreased in 1985-96 from 16.4% to 4.8% of GDP (2006) to 6% of GDP. 150 military advisers from the Russian Federation serve mainly in the air defense. The UN peacekeeping military forces (UNDOF) on the border with Israel amount to about 1,100 men. To see related acronyms about this country, please check ABBREVIATIONFINDER where you can see that SYR stands for Syria.

Syria's defense overview

Syria's government forces have undergone significant changes during the civil war in the country, from 2011. Security police, and gradually army and air forces, were particularly targeted from 2012 against the military resistance to the regime. A number of officers deserted, in part took stock of material, and joined various rebel groups, including the Free Syrian Army (FSA).

Syria has military service with initial service of 30 months. Force numbers are uncertain because of the civil war, and it is uncertain in what state the material is in. The total force figures for Syria's armed forces are estimated at 139,000 active personnel (2018, IISS). Figures for semi-military forces are unknown, but are estimated at close to 100,000 personnel. The overall structure also includes a larger number of reserves. Before the war, the size of the regular forces was about 325,000 active personnel. The Syrian defense was previously considered one of the best trained in the region.

Russia has 5,000 personnel, and fighter jets, combat helicopters and anti-aircraft missile batteries in Syria. Hezbollah has between 7,000 and 8,000 personnel, and Iran has 3,000 personnel in Syria.


The army is estimated to have a workforce of about 100,000 active personnel. Materials include an unknown number of tanks (of types T-90, T-72, T-62 and T-55), clearing carriages, storm tanks, armored personnel vehicles, armored fighters and self-propelled artillery. The army is also reported to have heavy artillery, medium range air defense missiles, light air defense artillery, and short range ballistic missiles and conventional warheads. In addition, the army has light and medium- heavy drones.

Air Force

The Air Force has a personnel force of about 15,000 active personnel. Materials include 64 fighter jets (34 MiG-23 and 30 MiG-29), 157 fighter aircraft (77 MiG-21, 41 MiG-23, 28 Su-22 and 11 Su-24), 23 transport aircraft, 15 L-39 training aircraft Albatros (which can also be used as light attack aircraft), and 95 helicopters, including 24 Mi-25 combat helicopters. The number of aircraft and helicopters has been significantly reduced since the Civil War began, and it is estimated that only 30 to 40 percent of the aircraft's weapons are operational.

Air defense command

The Air Force Command has a personnel force of about 20,000 active personnel. Materials include long range air defense missiles.

The Navy

The Navy has a workforce of about 4,000 active personnel. The fleet includes two corvettes, 30 patrol vessels, seven mine sweepers, three landings, and one supply and auxiliary vessel. In addition, the Navy has 10 helicopters, but these are not considered operational. The coastal defense has batteries with cruise and naval missiles.

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