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Open Source Intelligence and the Syrian Conflict

Syrian Soldiers - 2016

Syria is perhaps the most “reported on” conflict in the modern era. There is just a “torrent” of news reports, video, still pictures, social media posts, Skype interviews coming out of the country.

Every Syrian soldier and fighter has a smart phone to film their exploits ‐ but there are few “independent international journalists” on the ground. The only other places that is comparable is Yemen. How do you make sense of all this information when every faction or international player puts its own spin on events?

Read my Syrian Conflict Briefing – April 2017 (PDF)

The Syrian Air Force has been an independent service in the Syrian armed forces since its formation in 1948 but is distinct from the Air Defence Force, which controls Syria’s network of air defence radars and surface‐to‐air missile batteries.

Briefing April 2017: Assad’s Air Force (PDF)

Assad’s Air Force – A Briefing

SYAAF MiG-23 - 11th January 2016

The Syrian Arab Air Force (SyAAF) has been an independent service in the Syrian armed forces since its formation in 1948 but is distinct from the Air Defence Force, which controls Syria’s network of air defence radars and surface‐to‐air missile batteries.

Russia's Tupolev Tu-214R ISTAR platform, now operational in Syria.

Russia’s Tupolev Tu-214R ISTAR platform, now operational in Syria.

It has a long tradition of political involvement in the government of Syria, supporting the nationalist and secular Syrian Ba’ath Party. President Bashar al Assad’s father, Hafez Assad, was a former commander of the SyAAF in the 1960s and 1970s.

The SyAAF’s Intelligence Directorate is one of Syria’s most powerful security agencies. It played a major role in crushing the Muslim Brotherhood uprising in the 1980s and in 2011 was in forefront of attempts to put down the “Arab Spring” uprising.

Read my briefing document on “Assad’s Air Force” here (PDF)

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Tim Ripley

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