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Syrian Conflagration: The Syrian Civil War, 2011-2013

Syrian Conflagration: The Syrian Civil War, 2011-2013 Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review June 2017 Title Syrian Conflagration: The Syrian Civil War, 2011-2013
Author Tom Cooper Publisher Helion
Published 2016 ISBN 9781910294109
Format 64 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $29.95


Wracked by civil war, Syria, one scholar recently opined, has effectively ceased to exist as a state.

Internecine slaughter splintered Syria along multiple ethnic, religious and political fault lines. And external powers, including their proxies, further fostered fragmentation – simply magnifying the misery and carnage.

Against that backdrop, Tom Cooper distills the disaster in Syrian Conflagration – part of Helion's splendid "Middle East@War" series and available in North America from Casemate.

Subtitled "The Syrian Civil War, 2011-2013", Cooper's copiously illustrated, 64-page précis begins with a handy history of Syria – literally from prehistoric times. But treat some assertions with skepticism: historically disputable and prejudicial perspectives unfortunately taint some text.

A recap of "Government Forces" – conventional, special forces and irregular, with weapons – follows. Coverage includes an illuminating Syrian Order of Battle and summary of intelligence and security assets.

That sets the stage for three chapters on the insurgency's birth and spread. Cooper accents the uprising's indigenous nature – and accurately notes that "very few [local] activists involved in organizing mass protests paid attention to oppositionals [régime opponents] abroad", which I can anecdotally confirm.

Cooper chronicles, city-by-city known actions of loyalist units and insurgent forces, including the Free Syrian Army.

Actions by the Syrian Arab Air Force (SyAAF) dominate the book's fifth chapter. And this concludes with an illuminating table of régime warplane losses through July 2013.

Cooper's final section recaps the conflict's inchoate internationalization. That's where Iran and its proxies decisively enter the picture.

The picture-packed effort includes 18 of the author's superb color profiles – nine aircraft and nine armored vehicles. They'll certainly stimulate your modeling muse.

Photos, maps, and an abbreviations glossary augment the account. And a handy "Catalogue Of Armed Groups Fighting In Syria, 2011-2013", endnotes, and selected sources list capably conclude contents.

Make this superb summary your introduction to the ongoing carnage in Syria. Then hope that Cooper pens "Middle East@War" sequels on the conflict since 2013.

Roundly recommended!

My sincere thanks to Casemate Publishing for this review sample!