Syria had always regarded Lebanon as part of Greater Syria and wanted it to be obedient Lebanon.  In Late 1975, units of the Syrian PLA (Palestinian Liberation Army - auxiliary troops of the regular Syrian Army) and members of the Saiqa (the Syrian-sponsored PLO faction) were sent into Lebanon to fight on the side of Muslim forced during the height of the Civil War.

    But as the PLO and its allies were on the verge of victory, Syrian President Hafez Assad aided the loosing Christians by sending 40,000 regulars to assist them.  The objective was to prevent the PLO from establishing a state that would be strong enough to oppose Syria.  Caught between a rock and a hard place, Syria decided to keep its forces in Lebanon and consolidated their power bases in Beirut and in the Bekka Valley.  By 1981 the Syrians had control of two-thirds of Lebanon although there were still frequent classes between Syria and Christian forces.  The IDF supported the Christian forces with air strikes and Special Forces operations against Syrian forces in Lebanon which resulted in Syria placing 14 batteries of Soviet made SA-6 missile batteries in the Bekka Valley.

    By June of 1982, Syrian Army forces in Lebanon numbered 30,000.  In the Bekka Valley lay the 1st Armoured Division, comprising the 91st and 76th Tank Brigades and the 58th Mechanized Brigade. In addition there was the 62nd Independent Brigade, ten Commando Battalions, and 19 SAM missile batteries.  In Beirut and the Shouf Mountains were deployed the 85th Infantry Brigade and 20 Commando Battalions to protect the Beirut-Damascus Highway.




Syrian Infantry with a Milan ATGW



Syrian Commandos


    The Syrians made use of Soviet AFVs exclusively.  The 1982 battles in Lebanon saw the début of the T-72 which faired well against western tanks.

T-72 MBT

T-72 MBT


Armament:  1 x 125mm, 1 x 12.7mm MG, 1 x 7.62mm MGs

Crew:  3

Maximum Speed:  80 Km/h

Maximum Range 480 Km

Combat Weight:  44,500 kg

Armor:  400mm (maximum)


T-62 MBT


Armament:  1 x 115mm, 1 x 12.7mm MG, 1 x 7.62mm MGs

Crew:  4

Maximum Speed:  50 Km/h

Maximum Range 450 Km

Combat Weight:  40,000 kg

Armor:  242mm (maximum)

Abandoned Syrian T-55

T-54/55 MBT


Armament:  1 x 100mm, 1 x 12.7mm MG, 2 x 7.62mm MGs

Crew:  4

Maximum Speed:  50 Km/h

Maximum Range 510 Km

Combat Weight:  36,000 kg

Armor:  203mm (maximum)




Armament:  1 x 73mm, 1 x 7.62mm MG, 1 x Sagger ATGW

Crew:  3 + 8

Maximum Speed:  65 Km/h

Maximum Range 600 Km

Combat Weight:  13,500 kg

Armor:  33 mm (maximum)




Armament:  1 x 14.5mm MG, 1 x 7.62mm MG

Crew:  2 + 14

Maximum Speed:  80 Km/h

Maximum Range 500 Km

Combat Weight:  10,300 kg

Armor:  7 to 9 mm (maximum)




Armament:  4 x 23mm Cannons

Crew:  4

Maximum Speed:  44 Km/h

Maximum Range 450 Km

Combat Weight:  20,500 kg

Armor:  15mm (maximum)

BRDM-2 Variants


Armament: 14.5mm MG (Recon Version)
                    5 x AT-5 Spandrell ATGM (ATGW Version)
                    4 x SA-9 Gaskin (SPSAM Version)

Crew:  2-4

Maximum Speed:  100 Km/h

Maximum Range 750 Km

Combat Weight:  7,000 kg or more

Armor:  3-7mm (maximum)




MIG 23 Flogger, Syrians primary bomber


A Flight of Floggers


Syrian Combat Formations:

Mechanized Infantry Company

    Company HQ:    1 APC, 7  Infantry

        3 Rifle Platoons:

            1 Rifle Section:    1 APC, CO + 9 Infantry, 2 ATGWs (Sagger or Milan)

            2 Rifle Sections:  1 APC ea, 8 Infantry w/ AK-47, 1 RPG-7 (AK-47) and 1 RPD each

    APCs are either BMP-1 or BTR-60

Tank Company

    Company HQ: 1 MBT

    3 Platoons: 3 MBT ea

    MBTs are T-72, T-62 or T-55

Orders of Battle

1st Armored Division

  • Deployed in the Bekka Valley
  • 91st  Armored brigade  (T-62s & BTR-60s)
  • 76th  Armored brigade (T-62s & BTR-60s)
  • 58th  Mechanized brigade (BTR-60s & T-55s)
  • 62nd  Infantry brigade
  • 20 Commando Battalion (Special Infantry unit equipped with plenty of ATGW and RPGs)


7th? Infantry Division

  • Deployed in the Beirut-Damascus highway area
  • 85th Infantry brigade (Beirut)
  • 68th Infantry brigade
  • 51st  Mechanized Infantry Brigade (T-55s)


3rd Armored Division

  • Only the lead elements had contact before the June 11th ceasefire
  • 47th  Armored brigade (T-72s & BMP1s)
  • 81st  Armored brigade  (T-72s & BMP1s)
  • 21st Mechanized Infantry Brigade

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