Russian “Military Police” in Syria – A Successful Information Operation?

By Lieutenant Colonel Andrii Melnyk, Ukrainian Army, US Central Command: Strategy Plans and Policy Directorate; Combined Strategic Analysis Group

17 July 2020


Russia is using trained Military Police (MP) in Syria—compromised of personnel with similar religious views and ethnic origins as the Syrian population—who act as “Russian peacekeepers” to achieve strategic objectives. Russian MPs serve abroad with similar units and are likely involved in Russia’s information campaign that targets the domestic consumer.

Key Points:

  • Since the end of 2016, Russia has deployed Military Police units to Syria, which are comprised of personnel with similar religious views and ethnic origins as the Syrian population.
  • Russia’s use of Military Police in Syria supports the campaign of a “Russian peacekeeper.”
  • Trained Military Police and supporting specialists are a finite resource in Russia. Training new personnel is time intensive and harmonizing Russian trained forces within the Syrian legal framework will take significant effort.


Russia continues to employ unconventional warfare methods to achieve strategic objectives in targeted countries. In Syria, Russia seeks to integrate Russian Military Police (MP) units with the Syrian Armed Forces (SAF). Interoperability with the SAF interests Russians due to their unconventional capabilitiess and involvement in information campaigns. However, Russia has a limited quantity of trained MP and supporting specialists. Consistent long-term MP investment will be required to realize this strategic outcome.

Read complete paper here.

The opinions and conclusions expressed herein are those of a number of international officers within the Combined Strategic Analysis Group (CSAG) and do not necessarily reflect the views of United States Central Command, not of the nations represented within the CSAG or any other governmental agency.