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.
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.
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
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.