This article relies largely or entirely on a single source. (August 2018)
|Tiger Forces |
Quwwat Al-Nimr (قوات النمر)
|Country||Syrian Arab Republic|
|Size||Battalion: ~1,000 (February 2017) - >4,000 (in 2018)|
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. Despite officially being called a division, it is estimated that the actual size of the Tiger Forces is closer to a battalion.
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. On 25 December 2015, Suheil al-Hassan was promoted to major general after refusing to be brigadier general last year. 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. The Tiger Forces were one of few in the Syrian Army to first deploy Russian T-90 tanks, others being the 4th Armoured Division and Desert Hawks Brigade. In the aftermath of the December 2015 Aleppo Offensive, Tiger Forces deployed a Russian-supplied Rys LMV. It was seen after defeating ISIS in the village of ‘Ayn Al-Hanish, Deir Hafer Plains.
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. According to Gregory Waters, they ultimately report to Major General Jamil Hassan, the director of the country’s Air Force Intelligence Directorate.
The Tiger Forces have multiple special operations "Groups/Regiments" (halfway between a company and a battalion)
Cheetah Forces or Qawat al-Fahoud (قوات الفهود) – The current commander is Colonel Shadi Isma’el and the deputy commander is Colonel Lu’ayy Sleitan. 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, while Team 3 along with the Desert Hawks Brigade completed the East Aleppo ISIS encirclement.
Panther Forces – According to Leith Fadel in 2016, the commander was Colonel Ali Shaheen, and they were involved in the Palmyra offensive (March 2016), where they were redeployed to another front after it was over. According to Waters, the "Panther Groups" are actually the Cheetahs, and are not commanded by Ali Shaheen, who instead commands the Leouth Groups.
- Termah (or Tarmeh) Group/Regiment
- Taha Group, 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.
- Yarrob Group/Regiment
- Shaheen Group/Regiment (possibly ex-Panther Forces)
- Shabaat Group/Regiment
- Al Hawarith Group/Regiment
- Zaydar Group/Regiment
- Al Shabbour Group/Regiment
- Al-Komeet Group/Regiment
- Al-Luyouth Group/Regiment[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).
- "Syrian Army's Tiger Forces: History And Capabilities". South Front. 14 February 2017. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
- Leith Fadel (10 November 2015). "Exclusive: Tiger Forces to Redeploy to Northern Hama". Al-Masdar News. Retrieved 12 February 2016.
- Andrew Illingworth (29 July 2017). "BREAKING: First video ever of Tiger Forces inside Deir Ezzor". Al-Masdar News. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
- Leith Fadel (26 February 2015). "Who is Colonel Suheil al-Hassan of the Tiger Forces?". Al-Masdar News. Retrieved 12 February 2016.
- Leith Fadel (15 December 2015). "Prominent Tiger Forces Commander Promoted to Major General". Al-Masdar News. Retrieved 5 June 2016.
- Leith Fadel (28 May 2016). "Tiger Forces mobilize T-90 tanks for upcoming Aleppo offensive". Al-Masdar News. Retrieved 7 June 2016.
- Leith Fadel (23 January 2016). "Convoy of Russian T-90 tanks arrive in southern Aleppo". Al-Masdar News. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
- Chris Tomson (31 October 2016). "VIDEO: Syrian Army deploys T-90 tanks in the battle for Aleppo". Al-Masdar News. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
- Leith Fadel (26 January 2016). "Tiger Forces continue encirclement of ISIS in east Aleppo". Al-Masdar News. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
- 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.
- Waters, Gregory (23 July 2018). "Tiger Forces, Part 1: The War Crimes of the "Cheetah" Groups". International Review. International Review. Retrieved 4 August 2018.
- "Source: The "Tiger" Cancels the Contracts of 6500 of Its Troops throughout Syria". Enab Baladi. 20 September 2018.
- 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.
- "The Russian Deployment in Syria and Iraq Makes Its Presence Felt" (pDF). Files.ethz.ch. Retrieved 2017-06-23.
- 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.
- 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.
- Leith Fadel (20 February 2016). "Tiger Forces complete the east Aleppo encirclement: 800+ ISIS fighters trapped". Al-Masdar News. Retrieved 20 February 2016.
- 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.
- Leith Fadel (18 April 2016). "Syrian Army cancels the Palmyra-Deir Ezzor offensive". Al-Masdar News. Retrieved 6 June 2016.
- "A statistical breakdown of army losses in recent southern Raqqa fighting with ISIS". al-Masdar. 31 July 2017.
- "First footage of the Syrian Army's Tiger Forces destroying jihadist militias in Hama". al-Masdar. 27 December 2017.
- "Farsnews". en.farsnews.com.
- Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi (7 July 2018). "The Southern Campaign: Interview with the Tiger Forces' Taha Regiment". Retrieved 9 July 2018.
- "Syrian special forces leave west Palmyra for east Aleppo". al-Masdar. 11 February 2017.
- "Syrian Army's Tiger Forces: History And Capabilities". SouthFront blog. 14 February 2017.
- "Large number of Syrian Army reinforcements sent to Idlib". AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز. 2018-01-16. Retrieved 2018-01-16.
- https://twitter.com/IvanSidorenko1/status/966005665033580546. Missing or empty
- Al-Souria News Who's Who: Suheil Al-Hassan, Syrian Observer, Nov 25th, 2015
- Sam Dagher Russia's Favorite Syrian Warlord: Brigadier General Suheil al-Hassan has won over Putin and played a central role in the assault on eastern Ghouta, The Atlantic 3 March 2018
- Lucas Winter Suheil al-Hassan and the Syrian Army’s Tiger Forces, Small Wars Journal