Syria Military

Syria 1997

Syria is a country located in Asia. According to AbbreviationFinder, SY is the two-letter ISO code of Syria, and SYR is the three-letter country abbreviation for Syria.

Yearbook 1997

Syria. According to Countryaah, the national day of Syria is April 17. The talks with Israel on peace and on the Golan Heights had been in effect since February 1996. In July, Israel took steps to enact legislation that would consolidate the annexation of the Golan Heights, but at the same time came reports that the Israeli military was investigating how it could defend northern Israel without Golan. In addition, the Syrian leadership had contacts with the Israeli opposition within the Labor Party Israel Labor Party, which before it lost government power in 1996 had, in principle, promised to return the Golan in exchange for a peace agreement.

Syria Military

During the year, speculation was raised about who will succeed President Hafiz al-Asad (born 1928) when he dies. He had heart problems and underwent a prostate surgery in January. Since his son Basil died in a car accident in 1994, al-Asad lacks an obvious successor but tried to launch his second son, 33-year-old Bashar. However, he was said to have no power base in both the ruling Baath party and the military. The Syrian constitution also states that the president must be over 40 years. Most people, therefore, expect the current Vice President Abd al-Halim Khaddam to take over at al-Asad’s possible departure.

In 1999, Al-Assad was re-elected to his 7th term of office for 5 years. During one of his election speeches, the aging president declared that the government needed “new blood” to carry out the economic reforms.

In December, peace talks with Israel were resumed in Washington, but they were postponed indefinitely in January, when Syria could not guarantee that Israel would withdraw from the occupied territories in 1967 – primarily the Golan Heights.

In March 2000, all 37 members of Mahmoud el-Zouebi’s government submitted their resignation to the president. Instead, the old leader of the Baath party, Mohamed Mustafa Miro, was deployed as prime minister. He had been governor of Alleppo province until then.

On June 10, Assad died, leaving the country in mourning. He was the only president most of the population had experienced. The political maneuvers were quickly initiated in order for Assad’s only son, Bashar al-Assad to take over his father’s post. He was first appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and assumed the post of President in July.

In April 2001, the new president approved the creation of private banks, and he also approved the creation of a private radio station, albeit only broadcast music, and without political content.

The Pope visited Syria in May and at the welcome ceremony al-Assad took the opportunity to launch a violent attack against Israel, comparing the suffering of the Palestinians with the persecution of Jesus. He also asked the pope to remember to include the people of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and Palestine in his sermons. In his response, the Pope urged all parties to seek lasting peace and to build understanding and respect between Christians, Muslims and Jews.

In October 2001, with the support of the Asian and African countries, Syria gained a seat on the UN Security Council. Neither opposition from Israel nor 38 North American congressmen who urged President Bush to oppose Syria’s representation succeeded. The United States was bound because, in the wake of the New York attack, it sought support from the most influential Arab countries in its global anti-terrorist struggle.

Syria’s foreign policy was rapidly changing in 2001. Following intense pressure from the Lebanese government, Syria removed its troops from the Beirut area and withdrew them to other parts of the country. In August, Syrian Prime Minister Miro visited Iraq during the first high-level visit in nearly 20 years after Syria supported Iran during the Iraqi-Iranian war of 1980-88. In November, British Prime Minister Tony Blair visited Damuskus in an effort to secure Syrian support for the US global war on terror. Yet Blair and al-Assad were unable to come up with a common definition of the concept of terrorism, the British leader having to return home without concrete results.

In November, several dozen political prisoners from the Muslim Brotherhood were released after spending more than 20 years in prison. The release was characterized by Amnesty International as “an important step towards respect for human rights in Syria”. Nearly all the released had been held in solitary confinement during their prison time, subjected to torture and ill-treatment.

In April 2002, a Syrian radar station in Lebanon was attacked by Israeli aircraft following a partisan attack by Hezbollah. It sparked fears of a military escalation, but Israeli aggression remained unanswered on the Syrian side.

In May, North American Deputy Foreign Minister John Bolton included Syria on the axis of evil. He also accused Damascus of trying to procure weapons of mass destruction. In April 2003, a month after the start of the US war on Iraq, the United States threatened Syria with economic and diplomatic sanctions, accusing the country of hosting Iraqi refugees. The Syrian government rejected US accusations.

  • Shopareview: Offers climate information of Syria in Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter, covering maximum and minimum temperature for each of 12 months. Also includes when is best time to visit this country.


Car bombs and minefields harvest victims

November 24

Nearly 30 people lose their lives when explosives detonate in separate incidents in three places near the Turkish border. In Ain Isa, 21 members are killed by a Turkish-backed militia as they cross a minefield laid out by Kurdish-led forces, according to SOHR. In Afrin and near al-Bab, car bombs detonate. Both sites are controlled by Turkey and have been subjected to acts in the past (see 28 April 2020 and 6 October 2020). In some cases, it is believed to be jihadists affiliated with the Islamic State (IS) who remain in the area and carry out attacks.

Air strike against pro-Iranian militia

November 21st

Iranian-backed militia in easternmost Syria, near the border with Iraq, is under attack. According to SOHR, it is probably Israeli fighter jets that attack ten of the militia’s positions in the area. 14 militiamen lose their lives, eight of whom are said to be Iraqis and six Afghans. The pro-Iranian militia is reported to be moving near the border, in places formerly held by Islamic State (IS) jihadists before the Sunni extremist movement was driven from its strongholds. During the following week, air strikes will take place against more targets on the eastern border and on the outskirts of Damascus. Israel is also singled out for these attacks, which in total require at least 30 lives.

Iranians among deaths in Israeli attacks

November 18

The Israeli army states that Iranian and Syrian positions in Syria have been attacked and that this was in response to explosives being found near the Israeli military on the Golan Heights. About ten deaths are reported by SOHR, of which five are Iranian. The Golan is Syrian land that Israel has occupied since 1967, Israelis have also moved into the area since the occupation began. Israel repeatedly attacks military targets in Syria, especially those linked to Iran’s involvement in the Syrian civil war, but the Israeli military rarely confirms or comments on the operation. In this case, Israel accuses Iran of having persuaded Syrians to place the explosives on the Golan.

Families may leave dreaded camps

16 November

More than 500 people, Syrian citizens, many of them affiliated with suspected members of the Islamic State (IS), are allowed to leave the dreaded al-Hol camp. According to the Kurdish camp commander, 515 people from 120 families are returning to their home areas in the province of Dayr al-Zawr (Deir Ezzor) on the border with Iraq. About 6,000 Syrians have been allowed to leave the camp following settlements with Syrian clans (see October 15). Of the foreign nationals left in the camp, most are Iraqis. The Kurdish rulers in the area have lamented the reluctance of both Iraq and other countries to receive their own citizens.

Foreign Minister Bashar al-Assad dies

16 November

Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallim, who is also Deputy Prime Minister, has died. He has been a confidant of President Bashar al-Assad and has held ministerial posts through several government reshuffles. He was a Sunni Muslim and a member of the ruling Ba’ath party, became a minister after a long diplomatic career and in recent years attracted attention for sharp anti-Western statements. Ever since the Arab Spring broke out in 2011, he has been subject to US sanctions. Deputy Minister Faisal al-Miqdad will take over as the new Foreign Minister a few days after his death.