Syria’s military: what does Assad have?


Here are details of Syria’s armed forces

which experts say are dominated by senior Alawite officers,

ensuring loyalty to President Bashar al-Assad.

Assad deployed the army in the main port city of Latakia

last month and around the southern city of Deraa, where protests

broke out nearly three weeks ago inspired by Arab uprisings

elsewhere in North Africa and the Middle East.

Syria’s armed forces total 295,000 active personnel, backed

by heavy artillery, tanks, warplanes and a small navy. There are

also 314,000 reservists. In a move to curb dissent last month,

Assad shortened military conscription to 18 months from 21.


Numbers: 220,000 including conscripts. Assad’s brother Maher

controls the Presidential Guard, the Republican Guard, and the

Fourth Armoured Division which together with Syria’s secret

police form the heart of the country’s security forces.

4,950 main battle tanks, 590 reconnaissance vehicles, up to

2,450 armoured infantry fighting vehicles, 1,500 armoured

personnel carriers, 3,440 artillery pieces, up to 500 mortars

and at least 4,100 surface-to-air missiles.


Numbers: 108,000. Made up of 8,000 Interior Ministry

gendarmerie and 100,000 Workers Militia or People’s Army (Baath



Numbers: 5,000

Bases located at Lakatia, Tartus and Minet el-Baida


Numbers: 100,000, including 30,000 reserves.

Combat capable aircraft: 555 Mig planes, including more than

150 fighters, more than 300 fighter-ground attack planes, 48

intelligence/surveillance planes, and 22 heavy transport planes.

Helicopters: 36 attack helicopters, 100

reconnaissance/transport helicopters, 20 transport helicopters.