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Syria Military


The President of Syria is commander in chief of the Syrian armed forces, comprising some 320,000 troops upon mobilisation. The military is a conscripted force; males serve 24 months in the military upon reaching the age of 18. About 14,000 Syrian soldiers were deployed in Lebanon until April 27, 2005, when the last of Syria's troops left the country after three decades.

The Syrian Republican Guard is a 10,000 man bodyguard of the Syrian Army. They are a single armoured division used to protect the capital, Damascus from any domestic threats. The Guard is the only Syrian military unit allowed within the capital.

The breakup of the Soviet Union - long the principal source of training, material, and credit for the Syrian forces - may have slowed Syria's ability to acquire modern military equipment. It has an arsenal of surface-to-surface missiles capable of reaching most of the populated areas of Israel, Syria's longstanding enemy in the region. In the early 1990s, Scud-C missiles with a 500-kilometre range were procured from North Korea, and Scud-D, with a range of up to 700 kilometres, is allegedly being developed by Syria with the help of North Korea and Iran.

Syria received significant financial aid from Persian Gulf Arab states as a result of its participation in the Persian Gulf War, with a sizable portion of these funds earmarked for military spending. In addition, Syria is buying additional weapons to either counter Israel's abilities to attack it or as preparation to take back the Golan Heights at some point in the future.

The Syrian armed forces has also been involved in keeping the order in Syria, for example by fighting a Muslim Brotherhood insurrection in the 1980s, mostly notable for the Hama Massacre.


Military branches
Syrian Armed Forces: Syrian Arab Army, Syrian Arab Navy, Syrian Arab Air and Air Defence Forces (includes Air Defence Command) (2008)

Military service age and obligation
18 years of age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation - 30 months (18 months in the Syrian Arab Navy); women are not conscripted but may volunteer to serve (2004)

Manpower available for military service
males age 16-49: 5,251,875
females age 16-49: 4,966,367 (2008 est.)

Manpower fit for military service
males age 16-49: 4,242,401
females age 16-49: 4,218,648 (2008 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually
males age 16-49: 215,734
females age 16-49: 203,106 (2008 est.)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP
5.9% (2005 est.)





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