Security Forces Reform- Press Release


Syrian Opposition Lays Groundwork for Post-Assad Political Transition

Istanbul, Turkey – On May 7 and 8, 2013, the Syrian Center for Political and Strategic Studies’ Syrian Expert House hosted a workshop to discuss security sector reform and mechanisms for building a modern national Syrian army. Syrian and international academics met with human rights activists, members of the political opposition, prominent leaders of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), and defected military commanders and senior officers. This workshop was one in a series hosted by the Syrian Expert House in an effort to develop an integrated vision of specific mechanisms for managing the post-conflict transitional and building a new free Syria.


Workshop participants discussed the current inflated size and influence of the Syrian security apparatus and  analyzed the best mechanisms to reform the security services. The Syrian Expert House concluded that these mechanisms should focus on professionalizing the service, cultivating confidence and trust in the armed forces, and protecting Syrian citizens without infringing on their rights and freedoms. Recognizing the challenges inherent in rebuilding the security apparatus, participants developed a vision for the future security system in line with the new reality imposed by the revolution. The Syria Expert House envisions a national security apparatus linked to a National Security Council, led by professional civilians, and subject to the head of the executive branch.


Colonel Fateh Hassoun, Assistant Chief of Staff of the Free Syrian Army, introduced a plan for the structure of the rebuilt Syrian national army and the General Staff.  Along with Col. Hassoun, defected senior officers provided insight on the ideal structure of the Central Command of the newly-created Supreme Military Council. The defected senior officers called for the immediate activation of the Central Command, viewing it as a way to coordinate opposition forces and form the core of a future national army.


Representatives of the Central Command made nine recommendations for the development of the future Syrian army:

1- Unite military efforts and logistical support under the Central Command, with a view to raising the volume of this support.
2- Launch a media campaign to intensify support for the Central Command, with the participation of the special information office of the Central Command and all revolutionary media institutions.
3- Develop the structure of the Central Command to accommodate high expertise and provide specialized courses in intelligence and operational strategy.
4- Provide logistical and financial support to open training camps in liberated areas to rehabilitate the military force. These rehabilitated forces will form the core of the Syrian army following the fall of the regime.
5- Draw on the background and skills of defected officers and lower rank officers.
6- Request donations from supporters to provide financial support for defectors and families of victims.
7- Create programs for reintegrating and retraining military and intelligence officers currently in neighboring countries.
8- Draw on Syria’s academic and military expertise – domestically and abroad – to staff the redeveloped Ministry of Defense.
9- Send defected pilots to other Arab and allied countries to receive training and develop and maintain their skills.



Members of the Syrian Expert House first met during October 2012 in Istanbul, Turkey at a conference widely regarded as the most inclusive gathering of the Syrian opposition to date. The Syrian Expert House was established by the Syrian Center for Political and Strategic Studies to produce thoroughly Syrian research outputs on the post-Assad political transition process. The Syrian Expert House will lay the necessary groundwork for promoting considered and deliberate reforms following the end of the Syrian conflict, and will call for a conference on the transitional phase in July. During this conference, it will review the results of its workshops and submit final reports on constitutional reform, legal reform, administrative reform, political reform, political parties and elections, economic reform, and security reform.


The Syrian Center for Political and Strategic Studies (SCPSS) is an independent, nongovernmental studies center. The SCPSS mission is to educate readers and activists about the Syrian Arab Republic from political, economic, social and strategic perspectives. SCPSS does so through sponsorship programs that tackle theoretical, applied, and social science research, and through studies, conferences, publications, symposiums, and seminars. SCPSS aims to translate major books and research papers that analyze the Syrian case in the various fields of economics, political and social science, and cultural studies.



For more information about SCPSS or the Syria Expert House, please contact Dr. Radwan Ziadeh, Executive Director of the