Syrian Arab Army Breakdown


 I hope this brief Syrian Arab Army breakdown will be helpful for those of you trying to understand the deployment of troops to certain provinces. I cannot take full credit for this because I relied on other sources and the help of a friend who does a fantastic job researching the SAA.

The Syrian Arab Army is broken up into the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Army Corps’. There are two autonomous divisions that are not a part of those Corps’: they are the 17th Mechanized Infantry and the 18th Armored Division. There are three divisions that report directly to the Chief of Staff of the Army: the 4th Mechanized Division, Republican Guard, and the 14th and 15th Special Forces Divisions.

1st Army Corps:

They are currently located in Dar’aa, the Golan, and southern Damascus. The 1st Army Corps is currently immersed in the East Ghouta Offensive. The Corps is broken-up into the 5th and 7th Mechanized Divisions, and the 9th Armored Division. The 1st Army Corps has approximately 60,000 soldiers assigned to it.

2nd Army Corps:

Currently located in Aleppo; this Army Corps experienced the least amount defections and remains the most battle tested Coprs in the Syrian Arab Army. This Army Corps has two main divisions: the 1st Armored Division and the 10th Mechanized Division. The 2nd Army Corps is comprised of approximately 55,000 men. They are the force behind “Operation Canopus Star” in Aleppo.

3rd Army Corps:

The largest of the Army Corps’ in the Syrian Arab Army, they have also experienced the highest rate of attrition. Regardless, they stand 90,000 men strong and well-armed. They are located in the Homs, Latakia, Tartous, Idlib, Hama, Damascus (Qalamoun and city center) and recently in the Dayr el-Zor Governates. They are comprised of two main divisions: the 3rd and 11th Armored Divisions.

The 17th Mechanized Division and 18th Armored Division:

The 17th Mechanized Division is in the Raqqa Governate. They were under siege for almost one year until they broke the siege and recaptured parts of the base (Officers Barracks) from the terrorists. This division has approximately 8,500 men. Due to their reserve status, about 5,000 of these soldiers have deployed to Al-Hasakah, and Aleppo.

The 18th Armored Division is specifically in the Dayr el-Zor Governate. This is a rather small Division with only 7,000 men. Until summer 2013, they were barely used. However, the summer offensive for ISIS in Dayr el-Zor changed everything.

The Chief of Staff Divisions:

The 4th Mechanized Division is led by Maher al-Assad and they are considered to be one of the most effective fighting forces in the Syrian Arab Army. They were in Homs until the end of 2012; now, they are all over Syria. There are 4th contingents in Idlib, Aleppo, and Damascus. This Division has about 30,000 men-in-arms.

The Republican Guard is without a doubt Syria’s most famous Division. Led by three great Brigadier Generals, Issam Zahraddine (104th in Dayr el-Zor), Talal Makhlouf (President Assad’s cousin and leader of the 105th in Adra), and Mohammad Khaddur (106th in Idlib). The 104th, 105th, and 106th Brigades consist of about 10,000 men each and aggregate to 30,000 men.

The 14th and 15th Special Forces Divisions are currently stationed in the Tartous (14th) As-Sweida (15th)Governates. These Divisions comprise of 12,500 men together and they only engage in special operations.



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