Category: Military

Policy Brief: Disrupting the Syrian Regime’s Domestic Weapons Programs – May 2023

With Iranian backing, the Syrian regime has for years worked to develop and domestically produce sophisticated weapons technologies for use against Syrian civilians and in future regional conflicts—including with Israel. These technologies include unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and so-called “suicide drones,” as well as guided and unguided ballistic missile systems. Both of these weapons have been used by regime forces in Syria’s brutal 12-year conflict, and will sustain the regime’s ability to perpetuate violence and mass casualty incidents both inside and outside the country. Crucially, though, these weapons’ development and proliferation across the region by the regime’s primary backers—namely Iran, Russia and Lebanese Hezbollah—also raise the likelihood that they will be used in other theatres. A reminder of the regime’s pariah status at a time when regional states are moving towards normalization with Damascus, it is crucial that the international community consider ways to disrupt the regime’s development and proliferation of advanced weapons systems, including through sanctions and disruption of supply-chains.

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