Tiger Forces

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Tiger Forces
Quwwat Al-Nimr (قوات النمر)
CountrySyria Syrian Arab Republic
Branch Syrian Army
TypeLight infantry
RoleOffensive operations
SizeBattalion: ~1,000 (February 2017)[1] - >4,000 (in 2018)[2]
EquipmentAK-74M rifles
T-90 tanks
Rys LMV tactical vehicle
Maj. Gen. Suheil al-Hassan

Tiger Forces or Quwwat Al-Nimr (Arabic: قوات النمر‎) is an elite formation (special forces unit) of the Syrian Arab Army which functions primarily as an offensive unit in the Syrian Civil War. It has been described as a "hot commodity for any government offensive", but their relatively small numbers make it difficult to deploy them to multiple fronts at once.[3] Despite officially being called a division,[4] it is estimated that the actual size of the Tiger Forces is closer to a battalion.[1]


After successful operations in Latakia and Hama, Colonel Suheil al-Hassan was tasked a special project by the Syrian Armed Forces Central Command in the fall of 2013—to train and lead a Special Forces unit that would work primarily as an offensive unit. Colonel Hassan handpicked many of the soldiers that would later form the Tiger Forces.[5] On 25 December 2015, Suheil al-Hassan was promoted to major general after refusing to be brigadier general last year.[6] He played a key role in commanding Syrian troops during 2016 Aleppo campaign. Tiger Forces were tasked two times to cut the key supply lines to rebel-held Aleppo.

Since the Russian intervention, they have provided the Tiger Forces with infantry equipment; including the AK-74M and 1P87 collimator sights.[1] The Tiger Forces were one of few in the Syrian Army to first deploy Russian T-90 tanks,[7] others being the 4th Armoured Division and Desert Hawks Brigade.[8][9] In the aftermath of the December 2015 Aleppo Offensive, Tiger Forces deployed a Russian-supplied Rys LMV.[1] It was seen after defeating ISIS in the village of ‘Ayn Al-Hanish, Deir Hafer Plains.[10]

The most famous and effective tactic of the Tiger Forces is probing the enemy from multiple axes to find a weak spot, then sending a large mechanized force to that area to capture many villages at once.[11] According to Gregory Waters, they ultimately report to Major General Jamil Hassan, the director of the country’s Air Force Intelligence Directorate.[12]

In September/October 2018, reports indicated that between 6500 and 8000 Tiger Forces members will be demobilized.[13][14]


The Tiger Forces have multiple special operations "Groups/Regiments" (halfway between a company and a battalion)

Cheetah Forces[15] or Qawat al-Fahoud (قوات الفهود)[16] – The current commander is Colonel Shadi Isma’el and the deputy commander is Colonel Lu’ayy Sleitan.[15] Subunits of the Cheetah Forces include Team 3 and Team 6. Team 6 were the first soldiers that ended the 35-month long Siege of Kuweires Military Airbase,[17][18] while Team 3 along with the Desert Hawks Brigade completed the East Aleppo ISIS encirclement.[19]

Panther Forces[20] – According to Leith Fadel in 2016, the commander was Colonel Ali Shaheen,[21] and they were involved in the Palmyra offensive (March 2016), where they were redeployed to another front after it was over.[20][21] According to Waters, the "Panther Groups" are actually the Cheetahs, and are not commanded by Ali Shaheen, who instead commands the Leouth Groups.[12]

Later reports seem to suggest an altered internal structure, stating that the unit consists of the following subunits:[22][23]

  • Termah (or Tarmeh) Group/Regiment[24]
  • Taha Group,[25] officially "Taha Regiment- Assault". It is an assault unit formed in 2014, and is led by Ali Taha. The unit claimed to have 2,500 active members by mid-2018.[26]
  • Yarrob Group/Regiment
  • Shaheen Group/Regiment[27] (possibly ex-Panther Forces)[28]
  • Shabaat Group/Regiment
  • Al Hawarith Group/Regiment
  • Zaydar Group/Regiment
  • Al Shabbour Group/Regiment
  • Al-Komeet Group/Regiment[29]
  • Al-Luyouth Group/Regiment[30][better source needed]
  • Hayder Group/Regiment

The Tiger Forces consisted of as many as 24 subgroups of varying size. Tiger Forces groups/subunits were founded by prominent individuals who often also served as commanders of a particular group (the group often bearing the name of the individual who founded and/or commanded the group).[31]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Syrian Army's Tiger Forces: History And Capabilities". South Front. 14 February 2017. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  2. ^ https://www.mei.edu/sites/default/files/2018-11/TigerForces.pdf
  3. ^ Leith Fadel (10 November 2015). "Exclusive: Tiger Forces to Redeploy to Northern Hama". Al-Masdar News. Retrieved 12 February 2016.
  4. ^ Andrew Illingworth (29 July 2017). "BREAKING: First video ever of Tiger Forces inside Deir Ezzor". Al-Masdar News. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  5. ^ Leith Fadel (26 February 2015). "Who is Colonel Suheil al-Hassan of the Tiger Forces?". Al-Masdar News. Retrieved 12 February 2016.
  6. ^ Leith Fadel (15 December 2015). "Prominent Tiger Forces Commander Promoted to Major General". Al-Masdar News. Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  7. ^ Leith Fadel (28 May 2016). "Tiger Forces mobilize T-90 tanks for upcoming Aleppo offensive". Al-Masdar News. Retrieved 7 June 2016.
  8. ^ Leith Fadel (23 January 2016). "Convoy of Russian T-90 tanks arrive in southern Aleppo". Al-Masdar News. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
  9. ^ Chris Tomson (31 October 2016). "VIDEO: Syrian Army deploys T-90 tanks in the battle for Aleppo". Al-Masdar News. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  10. ^ Leith Fadel (26 January 2016). "Tiger Forces continue encirclement of ISIS in east Aleppo". Al-Masdar News. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  11. ^ Izat Charkatli (24 May 2017). "Syrian Army on verge of kicking ISIS out of Aleppo province: Map Update". Al-Masdar News. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  12. ^ a b Waters, Gregory (23 July 2018). "Tiger Forces, Part 1: The War Crimes of the "Cheetah" Groups". International Review. International Review. Retrieved 4 August 2018.
  13. ^ "Source: The "Tiger" Cancels the Contracts of 6500 of Its Troops throughout Syria". Enab Baladi. 20 September 2018.
  14. ^ http://www.syriahr.com/en/?p=104307
  15. ^ a b Leith Fadel (19 October 2015). "Cheetah Forces Capture 30km of Territory from ISIS in East Aleppo: Kuweires Airport Within Sight". Al-Masdar News. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  16. ^ "The Russian Deployment in Syria and Iraq Makes Its Presence Felt" (pDF). Files.ethz.ch. Retrieved 2017-06-23.
  17. ^ Chris Tomson (11 November 2015). "Syrian Army and Hezbollah Advance in Southern and Eastern Aleppo – Latest Map Update". Al-Masdar News. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  18. ^ Leith Fadel (10 November 2015). "Cheetah Forces Lift the Three Year Long Siege of the Kuweires Military Airbase". Al-Masdar News. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  19. ^ Leith Fadel (20 February 2016). "Tiger Forces complete the east Aleppo encirclement: 800+ ISIS fighters trapped". Al-Masdar News. Retrieved 20 February 2016.
  20. ^ a b Leith Fadel (5 March 2016). "Russian Air Force hammers ISIS' oil routes in east Homs as the Syrian Army advances on Palmyra". Al-Masdar News. Retrieved 6 June 2016.
  21. ^ a b Leith Fadel (18 April 2016). "Syrian Army cancels the Palmyra-Deir Ezzor offensive". Al-Masdar News. Retrieved 6 June 2016.
  22. ^ http://www.janes.com/images/assets/474/75474/Syrian_army_prepares_for_post-conflict_challenges.pdf
  23. ^ "A statistical breakdown of army losses in recent southern Raqqa fighting with ISIS". al-Masdar. 31 July 2017.
  24. ^ "First footage of the Syrian Army's Tiger Forces destroying jihadist militias in Hama". al-Masdar. 27 December 2017.
  25. ^ "Farsnews". en.farsnews.com.
  26. ^ Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi (7 July 2018). "The Southern Campaign: Interview with the Tiger Forces' Taha Regiment". Retrieved 9 July 2018.
  27. ^ "Syrian special forces leave west Palmyra for east Aleppo". al-Masdar. 11 February 2017.
  28. ^ "Syrian Army's Tiger Forces: History And Capabilities". SouthFront blog. 14 February 2017.
  29. ^ "Large number of Syrian Army reinforcements sent to Idlib". AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز. 2018-01-16. Retrieved 2018-01-16.
  30. ^ https://twitter.com/IvanSidorenko1/status/966005665033580546. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  31. ^ https://www.mei.edu/sites/default/files/2018-11/TigerForces.pdf

Further reading[edit]