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Syria — a look from within
Material posted: Trifkovič DraganaPublication date: 12-09-2016
The truce in Syria came into force on February 27, in accordance with the agreement of the Russian Federation and the United States concluded after the meeting of Minister of foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of state John Kerry. However, the banned terrorist group Jabhat al-Nusra (whose leader Jolani gave bayah to the leader of the "old al-Qaeda," Ayman Zawahri) and the organization "Islamic state" (whose leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declaring himself Caliph came into conflict with Ayman Zawahri and thus with the An Nusra), this truce does not apply.

Thus, the war actually continued after the signing of the armistice agreement. It is generally estimated that since the war began in Syria in March 2011, killed more than 270,000 people. During the war the armed opposition forces in Syria managed to take control of the vast territory of the country and the last defense in Syria were held on the preservation of the corridor Latakia-Tartus-HOMS-Damascus.

The terrorists seized parts of Aleppo and suburbs of Damascus, in this case did not affect the ability of the Syrian army to the preservation of this corridor.

The results of Russian support

In early September last year, the Russian army began military action against terrorists in Syria and in six months turned the tide of war reversed, causing a serious blow to the forces of the terrorists. Performed more than 9000 sorties and destroyed more than 200 infrastructure of the terrorist organization "Islamic state".

The important fact is that the protection of Syria together was attended by Syrian, Russian, Iranian and Lebanese Hezbollah forces. If Russia had not supported the Syrian army all the estimates it is possible to say that Syria would have lost the war with the jihadists. Recall that the US and its allies, a few months before that supposedly led the fight against the Islamic state in Syria, without any results. Since the conflict began in Syria, the US and the EU provided support, training and arming opposition forces in this country and in the region, although there were serious grounds to suspect the existence of secret agreements on mutual assistance between the forces of so-called "democratic" opposition and the Islamic state.

Despite the fact a special role in the financing of terrorism made by the United Kingdom and France, as well as U.S. allies: Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Seventeen days after the cease-fire in Syria, Russian President Vladimir Putin took a decision on partial withdrawal of Russian troops from Syria on the basis of what all your goals done and at the same time Syrian troops backed by Russian military experts on the ground and the FSI in the air was released PAL.

The Russian military air base of Hmamin and in the Navy based in Tartus has been left the required number of military professionals, aircraft and helicopters and air defense systems s-400.

The focus in Syria began to move towards the peace process, for which the Russian Federation since the beginning of the Syrian conflict and acted. However, the situation in the field of military security in Syria is still very complex, and it is not clear how this will be resolved.

Most important here is the corridor through HOMS (hometown ASMA Assad), whose location is crucial for the future of Syria. Through this town passes the main road from Latakia and Tartous to Damascus, and because the defense of HOMS means the conservation corridor between the coastal area and Damascus. Output group alnusra of HOMS has created a false impression about the complete liberation of the city, while the suburbs remain under the control of ISIS.

In the vicinity of HOMS, a Sunni village support the militants alnusra, and ISIS that have led to the fact that the enemy is organizing attacks and ambushes on roads in the territories under the formal control of the Syrian army. An additional aggravating circumstance is the fact that the neighboring city of Hama, in the vicinity of which in contrast to HOMS, there was a large number of Christian and Alawi villages. Due to this, in early December last year, the alnusra terrorists captured the town of Mureck, in Hama province, which was until then under the control of the Syrian army. The militants of al-Nusra after three days of shelling of the city from the mortar and improvised mortars broke through the positions of the 47th tank brigade of the Syrian army, and the commander of this brigade, General Talib Salami was killed in the ambush. The Syrian army was forced to go to the SB, the settlement, located 4 km from Murica. Thanks to the impact of air and space forces of the RF front then partially stabilized, and the forces of the Syrian army managed in areas of Damascus and Latakia province to achieve some success and in particular in the Damascus area have been eliminated the leader of the organization "Army of Islam Zahran Alouche.

Syrian forces

The main direction of attacks of the Syrian armed forces was in the Northern part of Latakia province on the border with Turkey, which were concentrated large forces of the special units of the Syrian army, as well as the strength of the marine corps, and tank units, and volunteers of the national militia (Soko Preserves (Falcons of the Desert)", "Deal of Watani (defenders of the Fatherland)) and the Lebanese "Hezbollah".

With the support of air and space forces and artillery in January of this year, the Syrian army managed to liberate the city and Salma Ar Rabia, what was defeated, the organization of the Salafi Turkmen is closely related to the An Nusra, and near the town of al-Rabia, in the village of Toras captured the center of manufacturing improvised explosive devices.

There were found more than fifty ready explosive devices, including the RC which was attended by experts from France. The task of the operation was to completely liberate the territory to the North of Latakia. This task in January were not executed, as the areas and villages of Kinaba and Bdama on the border with Turkey remained under the control of opponents.

The attack on Kinaba carried out part of the army and marine corps Syria, as well as the militia forces of the "Desert Falcons", "defenders of the Fatherland" and "Hezbollah" from 31 January to 18 February, when he was captured part of Kissably.

Vsilu fierce resistance of the enemy operation was slow, as the Syrian army units were often forced to fight for the capture of boundaries without the use of armored vehicles. Itself the command of the army of Syria is very slow to respond to changes in the operational environment and missed opportunities for maneuvers.

When it raced in the fighting and large losses, and under the village Majel Kihia in one day killed 30 soldiers from the organization "Falcons of the Desert". Air strikes VKS RF, like artillery strikes, often caused inaccurate strikes due to the lack of air and artillery scouts in combat units of the Syrian army. The offensive through Basura to Blame also lasted a long time, and then change the direction of attack through Qbano did not bring any positive results. Syrian units moved slowly without maneuvers and took part in an offensive battle for the frontiers, where dozens of people were killed and wounded.

The enemy had received reinforcements from the surrounding the town of Jisr al-Suhur and Turkey.

Similarly, in the area of Deir al-Zor, in Eastern Syria where the forces of the 17th division of the 3rd army corps were completely surrounded, the situation has not changed for the better and supply of the units of the Syrian army in Deir AZ-Zor, was provided mainly by air.

In combat operations of the army of Syria, the important role played by the armed forces of the militias in the first place "falcons of the Desert", led by brothers Ayman and Mohammad Jaber.

Together with him acted and Hizbollah has troops throughout Syria, including in both the Lebanese and Syrian citizens. With "Hezbollah" was closely linked units "Defenders of the Fatherland", based on Samir Kantar, who later died.

As "Hezbollah" and "Falcons of the Desert" was composed mostly of alawites.

However, support to the government of Bashar al-Assad had, and the Syrian social nationalist party, founded by Antun Garden from Lebanon. Its armed forces consisted of volunteers from all ethnic and religious groups like the alawites, Druze and Christians, and Sunnis

The very same Syrian army is largely controlled by the old Baathists officers (the BAATH party — the ruling party).

Potential threats

The enemy has a wide range of possible impacts on the Syrian army, as with the front of his mobile combat groups, including armored cars and tanks and guerrilla action with the support of his supporters in the Sunni environment (a large part of the population of Syria is Sunni).

The enemy pays special attention to the use of improvised explosive devices in 2015, only in the coastal military area there were 700 bombings with the use of these devices.

It should also be borne in mind that ISIS unlike al-Nusra does not rely solely on local militants closely connected with the interests of local clans and tribes, but a group of volunteers, fanatically loyal to the ideas of Salafism, which in fact constitute a cult. ISIS is not so much Arab, as the international network, in which a large number of experienced, trained commanders, often of European origin with experience of service in modern armies.

ISIS tightly controls local clans and tribal groups, disarming of all who are not included in ISIS due to the existence of operational planning has the ability to perform maneuver operations. Due to the high intellectual level of its specialists, as well as experience in the war against the us military in Iraq, ISIS is able to launch broad military action in the rear of the Syrian army, which would cut off and Palmyra and Hama from the main forces of the 3rd corps of the Syrian army in HOMS.

In addition to all possible challenges of a fragile truce in Syria, there remains the problem of an open border with Turkey.

In that case, if the security and military situation in Syria will move in an undesirable direction, Russia has all possibilities to provide assistance to state agencies, as well as to quickly and effectively solve tasks.

The fight against the terrorist organization Islamic state will continue, but it does not relate exclusively to Syria, due to the fact that we are talking about an international organization which is active in different parts of the globe and has the ability to transform.

Upcoming political decisions

Regarding the peace process and political settlement of the Syrian conflict, as well as the future structure of the state, we can say that the current situation is crucial for preserving Syria as a unified state.

The Syrian leadership is aware of the requirements of the United States formally keep Syria as a single state under international control during the departure from power of Assad. In fact, it would mean that the country is divided into three parts. The federalization of these requirements would mean that the North of the country is formed of a Kurdish state entity, the South and the capital Damascus will be transferred to the "democratic" opposition, and in fact would be under international supervision, while the coastal region of Tartus and Latakia would have stayed with the alawites.

This would be similar to the Dayton agreement on establishment of Bosnia and Herzegovina is extremely complex and dysfunctional public education, in which the Executive, legislative and judicial powers, by an external international actors. The division of Syria could lead the country in the same position that is not sustainable in the long term. Syria needs to establish control over the entire territory of the country (including the Golan heights), and should be saved in its present borders as a single state. Serious consequences of the devastating war that continues in Syria, cannot be eliminated a bad compromise. The international community must return to the principles of international law, respect sovereignty and territorial integrity of States.

President Bashar al-Assad remains steadfast opponent of terror and destruction of Syria. He did not retreat from their principles even in the most difficult situations, when the country's fate was completely uncertain, and thus it became a great statesman that left his country and people in the most difficult times. However, before the Syrian politicians face serious challenges that they must solve, including a dialogue with the so-called "moderate opposition", which up to recent time they fought, that is the dialogue with those who are behind this opposition after the outbreak of the conflict in Syria.

And instead of conclusion I quote, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad: "One of the lessons we have learned. The most important lesson. Now we know that the West is unfair and is pursuing policies that are far from the principles of international law and the United Nations ". What we in Serbia have long had to learn.


Dragana Trifkovic, Director of the Centre for geostrategic studies in Belgrade, Belgrade





Tags: war , Syria , armed forces

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