Syria's Military Capabilities and Options for Military Intervention – Københavns Universitet

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19. juni 2012

Syria's Military Capabilities and Options for Military Intervention

Centre for Military Studies presents this background paper on Syrian military capabilities, the implications for potential military intervention by other states, as well as scenarios for potential Danish military contributions.

The purpose of this paper is to briefly describe military capabilities and options in order to provide a factual background for the ongoing discussion on possible military intervention in the Syrian conflict and Denmark’s possible participation in such a conflict.

This background paper includes a short description of Syria, to set the grounds for understanding the population and military context. The paper argues that Syria is in many ways similar to Iraq and Libya, where the international community has intervened in various ways. To understand the Syrian military and its capabilities and what kind of military a possible intervention force might face, this paper summarizes its structure and capabilities, by taking a closer look at all three branches of the Syrian Military and paramilitary.

On the basis of this summary, the paper proposes two distinct scenarios for military intervention by state coalitions;

1. Operation Thunderstorm: Military intervention based on an intensive air campaign and the use of technologically superior air power, which will reduce the adversary factor to between 1:2 - 1:4,

2. Operation Dust Storm: Military intervention based on a two-step approach, this being a land and amphibious invasion with corps-level units sent from naval task forces and bases in Turkey, preceded by an intensive air campaign.

The paper concludes with a short summary of the possible options for Danish support from all three branches of the military

Click here to access the report.