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Armed Forces (Syria)

Last modified: 2014-11-29 by zoltán horváth
Keywords: syria | roundel | air force | stars: 2 (green) | eagle (golden) | wreath (golden) | stars: 3 (red) |
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Ministry of Defense/Army/Navy/Air Force Flags, 2012

image from Esteban Rivera, 19 July 2012

Here's a screenshot of Syrian flags from a Al-Jazeera news channel broadcast taken on July 19. The image shows a row of four unidentified flags, all of them military-related.
Esteban Rivera, 19 July 2012

They are (left to right) the Navy, unknown (?), Army, and Air Force (the emblem is a combination of the two old Air Force flags). Nice catch, Esteban. We are lucky to have a chance document these now, being as they are likely to be toast soon along with the institutions they represent.
Eugene Ipavec, 19 July 2012

It looks like the second flag from the left, which is based on the Syrian national flag, has extra text and a coat-of-arms in the upper hoist. Since the news report is about the death of the Defence Minister and his replacement, it seems like the flag might be the Defence Ministry (or Minister's) standard. It is similar to the flags from UFE 11-19 and UFE 11-21.
Andy Shelton, 21 July 2012

The Yoopya site, whatever it is, 19 July 2012 documented this image as "Syrian General Fahad Jassim al-Freij is seen in this handout released by Syria’s national news agency SANA on July 18, 2012. REUTERS/Sana/Handout/Files". Their actual image isn't quite as detailed as our copy, but as it's not cut as narrow, it shows more of the top of the flag.
This may well be the General Fahad Jassim al-Freij releasing to the press the information that Minister of Defence Daoud Rajiha, who had been killed in the country's turmoil. An earlier photograph of the minister, shown by the Australian Broadcast Corporation, also includes the top of the flag behind him: This shows some details that aren't visible in the first picture.
Combining the two, I'd say the symbol in the canton is a wreath around a combined symbol of a foiled anchor, two crossed swords, and two spread wings. Most likely the latter are the bird that's also visible on the air force flag, just as the swords show in the Army flag and the anchor in the Navy flag. The symbol would thus combine the charges of the three branches. As for a Ministry of Defense flag, I'm not sure. In both images I found, the flag appears in relation to the ministry of defence. The flag would seem to have the position of honour over those of the three branches. Yet, a similar symbol in Lebanon represents the military general staff, rather than the ministry. This too would make sense in the context. I hope someone will be able to read the script sometime and help us out.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 01 December 2012

On the Warflags website, the flags of the United Arab Republic of 1958-61 are shown. The Air Force ensign is almost identical to the current Syrian Air Force ensign [below], which leads me to suspect other Syrian military flags might also be carryovers from the UAR period (as is, most prominently, the current Syrian national flag).
Eugene Ipavec, 27 August 2007

National Defence Force

"The National Defence Force (NDF; Arabic: قوات الدفاع الوطني‎ Quwat ad-Difāʿ al-Watanī) is branch of Syrian Armed Forces, formed after summer 2012 as a part-time volunteer reserve component of the Syrian military, organized by the Syrian government during the Syrian Civil War.
"In Syria, the ranks of pro-government paramilitary groups are growing, signaling a further decentralization of state authority. The most prominent of these is the National Defense Forces (NDF), an umbrella organization, under which several pro-government local militias operate. There are similarities with the Free Syrian Army, a brand that encompasses a wide array of opposition groups ranging from seculars to global jihadists. The reformulation of the government’s armed forces from a traditional military into militias could lead to a growth in warlordism. These units may seek to establish their power in areas where the state is absent, either due to pressure from the opposition or increasingly strained resources.
The new commanders of these paramilitary groups may seek to provide services as well as protection, which will add more players to an already complex mosaic of militias, warlords, and local powerbrokers. Having drawn most of its fighters from minority communities, the NDF are widely perceived as sectarian. As NDF units gain power and take charge of more positions - replacing the regular Syrian army.
The past year has seen a surge in the number of pro-government paramilitary groups, growing from local protection units into an estimated force of 60,000 men4 under the banner of the National Defense Forces. Skilled in urban and guerilla warfare, the increasing mobilization of these groups signals a shift in the Syrian government’s military tactics, and the fact that they are comprised mainly of religious minorities threatens to further deepen Syria’s sectarian strife. Training (is) provided to these groups by Iran and Hezbollah.
Before the formalizing of paramilitary forces’ role in the Syrian army, the groups were often used as “clean up” after government shelling of a village or urban area. Despite a move to formalize the engagement of paramilitary forces by creating, supplying, and training the NDF, they are still, at their core, community-based militias whose local interests may at times be at odds with national-level government strategies. Many are clearly sectarian in nature and some, particularly in the Alawite community, have tribal affiliations. As the conflict has progressed, they have increasingly engaged in looting and other crimes, and it is rumored that the Syrian military has had to forcefully prevent some of these groups from committing further atrocities."
Sources: https://www.cartercenter.org/resources/pdfs/peace/conflict_resolution/syria-conflict/Pro-GovernmentParamilitaryForces.pdf

Their flag is a black horizontal flag with the logo in the middle as seen in this picture (picture on the right)
Source: https://syria360.wordpress.com/2014/03/01/march-syrian-army-victories-statements-daily-updates/
The flag is seen in jpeg format: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Defence_Force_(Syria)#mediaviewer/File:Flag_of_the_National_Defense_Force.svg
Esteban Rivera, 15 November 2014

Unknown Military Flag

This photo shows a Syrian military colour (or ceremonial flag) during a parade in the Syrian army academy (photo taken presumably in the 1970's). The flag is a horizontal triband (light-dark-light) with a device in the center and fringe around.
Source: Kampf-Magazin 8: Östliche Allianz – Nahost, Eshel-Dramit (Hod Hasharon), 1980. p. 8.
Marcus Schmöger, 01 May 1997

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