Syria – A Hybrid War Case Study


  • Meredith Jones University of Canberra
  • Sascha Dov Bachmann University of Canberra


The purpose of this paper is to apply the concept of hybrid warfare to the Syrian conflict. It is the position of this paper, that Syria is a hybrid war employing all strategies contained within the wider hybrid warfare classification, such as irregular warfare, asymmetric warfare, and compound warfare. The paper first reflects on the concept of hybrid warfare, before attempting to unpack the complexities of the Syrian conflict. The second part then engages in critical analysis of how each of the hybrid warfare strategies is illustrated within this all-encompassing war through the use of various strategies and battlespaces. Ultimately, this paper aims to add valuable academic consideration to the growing body of literature surrounding the Syrian conflict, to highlight that unless consideration is given to Syria as a hybrid war, encompassing several operational strategies and numerous conflicts all contained in a single territory, there will be no successful outcome for this enduring resolution.

Author Biographies

Meredith Jones, University of Canberra

Meredith Primrose Jones, LL.B, LL.M (International Security), GCHE , is a Researcher at the Oceania Cyber Security Centre and a Sessional Lecturer at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT). Meredith completed her LL.M in International Security at the Australian National University and has since held numerous roles in academia. She is currently Editorial Assistant for the Law in Context Journal – a socio-legal journal, and an Affiliate Member of the National Security Hub at the University of Canberra.

Sascha Dov Bachmann, University of Canberra

I am an international scholar, former Lieutenant Colonel (GER Army Res- with operational experience in the Balkans and as exchange officer with the US Marines) and a career professional in law and higher education. In the last 20 years I worked in various capacities and functions in the USA, the Middle East, South Africa and various European countries. I joined Canberra Law School in September 2019.  Before then I worked as an Associate Professor/Reader at Bournemouth University and the University of Lincoln in the UK after having taught as a Senior Lecture at the University of Portsmouth. I was appointed (eo) Docent (Reader) in War Studies at the Swedish Defence University in 2016. In November 2017 I was appointed (Professorial) Research Fellow at CEMIS, Faculty of Military Science, Stellenbosch University. I was educated in Germany (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) München), South Africa (Stellenbosch University and University of Johannesburg) and the United Kingdom (University of Portsmouth). I worked with and presented to NATO, US CENTCOM, US AFRICOM, the Austrian Ministry of Defence, the Swedish Defence University, the Royal Danish Defence College, the South African National Defence Force and the Australian Defence College on the subjects of Hybrid War/Threats, Lawfare, InfoOps and Targeting. My research (more than 70 academic outputs) is interdisciplinary and discusses topical issues arising from new Security Challenges of the 21st Century such as Hybrid Warfare, Information Operations, the use of Lawfare, Cyber enhanced Hybrid Warfare alongside other law topics such as International Criminal Justice, HumRts Litigation.I am a regular contributor to NATO’s Legal Advisor Web (LAWFAS) with my publications often being used as NATO reference documents. I am a Fellow of NATO SHAPE for the Asia Pacific (Hybrid Threats and Lawfare).