Security Sector Reform
Syrians know the large impact the present Syrian security apparatus makes on their political, social, and economic life. Therefore, the dismantling and rebuilding of this apparatus is considered, without exception, a vital priority for all Syrians. Therefore, the Security Sector Reform Working Group formulated a vision for the future security system, so that it will be coordinated with the new reality resulting from the revolution. The Syrian Expert House recognizes the necessity of forming a national security council, under the leadership of the ministers of defense and the interior, and the heads of the army and internal security forces. These security apparatuses must be dissolved, and some of them should merge with a new civilian security apparatus. The internal security forces apparatus should be restructured, with a focus on its professionalism, alongside the formation of cleansing committees, in order to rid the security apparatus of guilty, corrupt, and incompetent staff members.
Regarding the challenges of building a new national army in Syria, there were extensive discussions about its composition and the structuring of the general staff. The various leaders and representatives of military units in the Free Syrian Army gave a briefing to the Syrian Expert House of the situation in the field in their fronts, which included a full explanation of the liberated and non-liberated areas, alongside a description of the fighting formations from the numbers, capabilities, and the formations’ names standpoints. There was an extensive discussion about the reality on the ground in the various fronts, the role of the general staff, and the possibility of raising the standard of military work and increasing coordination between the fighting formations and the fronts. In addition, some of the defected high-ranking officers made comments about the formation of the general staff and its framework. They demanded that all the battalions and brigades that are active on the ground coordinate with them in order to form the nucleus of a modern national army in the future. Clear basics for the building a modern army would be established, including practical mechanisms for disarmament upon completion of the armed struggle and the beginning of transitional operations. In addition, modern and advanced training programs must be put in place for the military cadres belonging to the Syrian armed forces after the fall of the regime. This would guarantee a high level of professionalism and a sound belief in the protection of the country and its citizens.
For further recommendations, please see Syria Transition Roadmap.
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Major General Mohamed Hussein al-Hajj Ali
Major General Mohamed Hussein al-Hajj Ali, the team leader of this group, graduated with the rank of lieutenant general from the Military Academy in 1978. In 1981, he was transferred to the Supreme Military Academy, where he was appointed as a trainer. Between 1984 and 1985, he earned a diploma in political guidance from the Lenin Academy in the former Soviet Union. In 1986, he attended a chief battalion commander course at the College of Infantry in Aleppo, in addition to a Command Staff course at the Supreme Military Academy between 1989 and 1991. He attended Nasser Higher Military Academy in Egypt from 1993 to 1994.
He aided in the establishment of the National Defense College of the Supreme Military Academy in Damascus in 2000 and served as a trainer there until 2005, when he was appointed commander of the Mechanized Brigade. He then served as director of the National Defense College from 2008 until his defection from the Syrian Army on August 2, 2012. He received a diploma in public administration from the University of Damascus and a Ph.D. in national defense from Nasser Higher Military Academy in Egypt.
Dr. Hasan Jobran
Dr. Hasan Jobran, the senior researcher for this group, is the head of the Research and Studies Office of the Free Syrian Academics Union in Gaziantep, Turkey. Previously, he was the vice dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities for Scientific Affairs at Aleppo University. He has held positions at a number of universities and was a project advisor for the Syria 2025 project administered by the United Nations Development Program in 2006. He received a doctorate in the sociology of development and social change and a master’s degree in sociology, both from Damascus University.