Key players in Syria`s multi-front war
Syria`s war has in five years spiralled into a complex, multi-front conflict, with regime forces, rebels, Kurds and jihadists carving out zones of control as world powers conduct air campaigns.
Beirut: Syria`s war has in five years spiralled into a complex, multi-front conflict, with regime forces, rebels, Kurds and jihadists carving out zones of control as world powers conduct air campaigns.
Here are the main players:The Syrian army`s 300,000-strong pre-war force has been halved by deaths, defections and draft-dodging.
It now controls about a third of Syrian territory, where roughly 60 percent of the population lives.
Around 150,000 to 200,000 men serve in pro-regime militias, primarily the 90,000-strong National Defence Forces. Militias from Lebanon, Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan have also bolstered the regime forces.
Experts say Lebanon`s Shiite Hezbollah has deployed between 5,000 and 8,000 fighters in Syria.
Key regime backer Russia launched air strikes in Syria on September 30, allowing the government to regain territory lost more than three years ago.
Iran has remained a staunch ally of President Bashar al-Assad, sending military advisers and financial aid.The Free Syrian Army coalition has slowly been replaced by a myriad of mainly Islamist factions.
The rebels remain in several areas across Syria, mainly around Damascus, in the country`s south, in parts of Aleppo province and in the east of Aleppo city.
Ahrar al-Sham is among the most powerful Islamist rebel groups in Syria. Founded in 2011 and financed by Turkey and Gulf states, according to experts, it is present mostly in the northern Idlib and Aleppo provinces.
Jaish al-Islam (the Army of Islam) is the most important rebel group in Damascus province. Its stronghold is in the Eastern Ghouta region, east of the capital.
The Southern Front is a coalition of rebel groups that hold swathes of territory in Daraa province.Al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Nusra Front is the most important jihadist group in the country after its rival, IS.
It is essentially made up of Syrian jihadists and aspires to create an Islamic emirate.