Research team:

Major General Muhammad Al-Haj Ali, Principal Researcher

Company commander and commander of a mechanized infantry battalion and
commander of a mechanized brigade

Instructor at the Military College and instructor at the Higher Military Academy

Researcher in the Military Scientific Research Branch and a teacher of scientific
research methods and of national strategy and national security at the National
Defense College and the Higher Military Academy

Director of the Syrian National Defense College from 2008 until the date of his
defection from the Syrian army on August 2, 2012.

He has a number of scientific publications in the fields of military and national
strategy, national security and geopolitics,

Brigadier General Khaled Ibrahim, Research Assistant

Chief of Staff of a tank battalion

Assistant Head of the Political Orientation Department

Assistant Head of Brigade Operations Department

Lecturer at the Higher Military Academy




First: The impact of war on the Syrian Army

The impact on the Syrian army prior to the Baath takeover of power

The impact on the army during the first period of Ba’ath rule

The impact on the army during the period of Assad’s rule 1970 – 2010

Additional problems besetting the army in the context of the Syrian war

Using the army and security services to confront the popular revolution

So What is left of the Syrian army after ten years of war

The results of the armed forces’ intervention in the popular revolution

Second: The regime’s allied and auxiliary forces

Auxiliary forces

A. National Defense Forces

B. The Baath Brigades

C. Desert Hawks Brigade

D. Palestinian forces fighting on the government’s side

Regime-allied forces

The dangers of militias on the reform of the Syrian army

Third: Non-regime-held areas

The northwestern region of Syria

The northeastern region

ISIS-controlled areas

Conclusion after studying the opposition factions

Harmoon Center For Contemporary Studies

Fourth: Some countries’ attempts to restructure their army

The Spanish experience

The Indonesian Experience

The Burmese experience

Fifth: The challenges of army restructuring

The challenge of evacuating foreign forces

The challenge of facing five decades of Assad’s rule

The negative outcome of years of conflict on the army

Sixth: The foundations for restructuring the army and the roles it will play

Basics of army restructuring

Factors contributing to army restructuring

Steps to be implemented to ensure the success of army restructuring

Seven: Transitional Military Council

Tasks of the Transitional Military Council

The roles of the army in the first stage of the political transition

Ceasefire Measures

Disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration

The mechanisms used in the transition from war to peace are

The mechanism of collecting weapons and combat materiel in Syria after the war

The roles of the army in the second stage, which are its usual roles in a modern state





Syria’s biggest problem lies in that its army concerned itself with politics shortly after independence,
as Syria witnessed a series of military coups that began in 1949, the last of which
was the coup of Hafez al-Assad in November 1970. The latter established a military dictatorship
based on the Soviet formula, especially regarding the establishment of the so-called
indoctrinated army and security apparatus, the militarization of society, the nationalization of
politics and the suppression of public liberties, all of which have hindered growth of Syria for
over five decades.

Since 2011, the ideological army and security services have been used by the ruling elite,
headed by Bashar al-Assad, in the face of the Syrian people who rose up to demand freedom
and dignity, thus causing one of the greatest catastrophes of the twentieth century after World
War II.

This large army, whose goal is to protect the regime not to defend the country, was thus unable
to confront Israel’s continuous attacks. In fact, it was defeated by Israel in all the confrontations,
mainly in 1967, 1973, and in Lebanon in 1982, and when Israel attacked Hezbollah in
2006, it stood as a helpless spectator. An army that claims retaining the right to responding to
Israel’s continuous attacks on Syria, but that only has the guts to confront peaceful demonstrators
with bullets, as an execution of its superiors’ orders.

During Syria’s years of conflict which started in 2011, the situation of the army has deteriorated
even more. In addition to the repression role assigned to the military and security forces
by the ruling elite, many of its elements and leaders were killed, and the sectarian nature that
dominated the conflict soon took over the military and security forces. On a parallel note,
paramilitary militias were formed to support the regime, and Lebanese, Iraqi, Afghani, and
Iranian militias were brought in by the regime, with regular forces, mainly from Iran, Russia,
America, and Turkey, already present on Syrian soil. All of which made the political situation
even more complicated.

The re-establishing of Syria is practically impossible with such situation, and requires a reform
in the army’s roles, so army restructuring will be the subject of this study.

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