The Syrian regime’s military assets
As the U.S. contemplates airstrikes on Syria, observers say the regime has scrambled to move many assets, including chemical weapons stockpiles, into hard-to-attack areas or close to large numbers of civilians. Nevertheless, there remain a number of obvious targets for U.S. strikes, most notably the air force’s 16 remaining bases, which have been used to launch bombing raids on civilians and to ferry soldiers and equipment around the country. Although Syria has acquired anti-ship and anti-aircraft missile systems from Russia, poorly trained operators, aging technology and previous Israeli airstrikes mean Syrian forces will struggle to defend the country from an anticipated sea-launched cruise missile attack. Read related article.
Syria has a large air force with air defense and ground attack capabilities. CSIS has estimated that it had 365 to 385 combat aircraft at the start of the civil war, of which around 50 percent are still in service.
Ground attack squadrons provide Assad with a key advantage over the rebels while air defense plans could be targeted to make future U.S. air interdictions less risky.
Click an air base to see squadrons on the map.
Three squadrons in unknown locations are not shown.
Approximate areas with a rebel presence
*Average size at full strength.
SOURCES: Center for Strategic and International Studies, Global Security, IHS Janes’s, Institute for the Study of War, International Institute for Strategic Studies, Nuclear Threat Initiative, RAND corporation and staff reports