The Syrian National Army: Formation, Challenges, and Outlook


The Syrian National Army: Formation, Challenges, and Outlook

By Nawar Shaban, Analyst at Omran Center for Strategic Studies

On 30 December 2017, the Syrian Interim Government (SIG) announced the establishment of the Syrian National Army (SNA). The main goal was to unite all military factions that fought as part of the Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch military operations against the Islamic State (IS) and the Democratic Union Party (PYD). In October 2019, and prior to the launch of Operation Peace Spring in the east of the Euphrates, the merger of the National Liberation Front (NLF) and the SNA was announced, through an official ceremony in the presence of the SIG officials in Şanlıurfa, Turkey.

This discussion paper aims to clarify the key difficulties that have faced the SNA since its foundation until now. The paper will also outline potential scenarios for the SNA in future military and political realities. Figure 1 and Table 1 give an idea on the SNA’s areas of control and that of rivalling local and international actors in Aleppo, Idlib, and al-Raqqa.


The ideas expressed are of the author’s not the publisher or the author’s affiliation

Published in October 2020

All rights reserved to GCSP

Part of the Syria Transition Challenges Project

Nawar Shaban is a conflict expert at the Omran Center for Strategic Studies, where he specializes in Iranian influence in Syria, focusing on Shia militia activity. He is also a non-resident researcher at the Orsam Center.