Republican Guard (Syria)
|Syrian Republican Guard Forces
|Active||1976 – present|
|Allegiance||President of Syria|
|Branch||Syrian Arab Army|
|Garrison/HQ||Mount Qasioun, Damascus|
|Maj. Gen. Shoaeb Suleiman|
|Deputy Commander||Brig. Gen. Mohamed Qasem|
|Brigade Commanders||Brig. Gen. Issam Zaher Eldin (104th Brigade)
Brig. Gen. Talal Makhlouf (105th Brigade)
Brig. Gen. Rukin Mohamed Khaddor (106th Brigade)
Manaf Tlass (formerly) (105th Brigade)
The Syrian Republican Guard (Arabic: الحرس الجمهوري), also known as the Presidential Guard, is a 25,000 man armoured Division of the Syrian Army. They are a single armored division used to protect the capital, Damascus, from any domestic threats. The Guard is the only Syrian military unit allowed within the capital city centre.
The Guard was formed in 1976 when anti-Syrian Palestinian groups launched attacks on Syrian officials. Major-General Adnan Makhlouf commanded the Guard from 1976 till 1997. The Republican Guard is used mostly to protect top Syrian government officials from any external threats and to serve as a counter-weight to the other powerful military formations near the Capital, the 4th Mechanized Division, the 3rd Armoured Division, and the 14th Special Forces (Airborne) Division. It is reported[by whom?] that in order to maintain loyalty to the Syrian government, officers of the Republican Guard receive a significant share of the revenue from the Syrian oil fields in the Deir ez-Zor region, which in large part is not recorded in the country's budget. Many members of the Assad family have served in the Republican Guard. Bashar al-Assad was a Colonel, and was given control of a brigade. His younger brother Maher was also a Colonel in the Republican Guard.
The division is subdivided into the 101st and 102nd Security Regiments and the 103rd, 104th, 105th and 106th Brigades. The main units are garrisoned on Mount Qasioun overlooking Damascus. From the mountain, the Guard commands a strategic panoramic view of the city and its suburbs. The Artillery brigade, equipped with D-30 howitzers and BM-21 Grad rockets, is thus able to shell virtually any part of the city and suburbs occupied by internal armed enemy forces.
Syrian civil war
At the beginning of the Syrian civil war, the Republican Guard kept out of the conflict, with only the regular Syrian Armed Forces fighting. In June 2012 the Republican Guard clashed with rebels near Republican Guard housing compounds and bases in the suburbs of Qudsaya and al-Hamah, about 8 kilometers from central Damascus. The unit has been accused[by whom?] of engaging in human rights abuses during the conflict.
The RG uniform is distinct and different from that of the regular Army. On non-combat duty they wear red berets, red epaulettes and red lanyards along with khaki-tan shirts and brown leather belts. This makes Republican Guard soldiers easily stand out.
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