Hypothetical Chinese military intervetion in Syria

Discussion in 'Members' Club Room' started by plawolf, Sep 29, 2015.

  1. plawolf

    plawolf Brigadier

    Oct 19, 2007
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    For the sake of practicality of this thread, I am going to avoid most of the contentious parts that might see us get bogged down in heated ideological debates and arguments.

    The first thing we should establish is that this is purely a hypothetical scenario, so there is no reason to get bogged down with the likelihood of this happening, or the morality of it.

    For all intents and purposes, the decision to intervene has already been made, and this is purely a thread focused on the practicalities of what assets the PLA can deploy, where, how and to what ends.

    For the sake of context, lets just assume that an UN resolution was passed branding ISIS as a terrorist organisation and threat against world peace, and has authorised military force against ISIS to protect civilians.

    Russia has already deployed combat air and naval assets and is actively engaged in the fighting. The Iranians are supplying significant ground troops.

    The Iraqis are on side and have opened up their airspace to allow over flights of both supplies and combat assets. The Egyptians are allowing access via the Suez.

    The Syrian government has formally requested direct military assistance from China, offering the unrestricted use of any and all Syrian government controlled bases, and China has agreed.

    The date is 01.01.2016.

    Russia has made it clear it will support and match any Chinese deployment, so if China sends in ground forces, so will Russia.

    The question is, what assets should the PLA deploy, and what level of involvement? Air and naval support only, maybe with limited special forces participation and leave the ground war to the Syrians and Iranians, or full commitment, with significant ground forces as well?
  2. Lezt

    Lezt Junior Member

    May 3, 2006
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    I would suggest a more Chinese approach; as the great wall have been built to quarter off the country to negate the mobility that the nomads have, and how the KMT encirclement tactics have worked so well to drive the CCP into the long march.

    I would prefabricate in china modular container sized automated fortresses with self sufficient fuel / UPS for 180 days continuous operation. Each fortress to be armed with large auto mortars and automatic uncommon sized ammunition; like 17mm. The large mortar and uncommon sized ammunition is so that if the forts are captured, they munition is hard to transport and use.

    Mortars will shoot up to around 5 km, the self defense suite will shoot to around the 200m and an encircling minefield will deter some crafty ISIS. At each fortress will be a sensor suite data linked to each other. and the fortress will be armored against small arms, rgps and cannons up to 20mm - i.e. larger than largest man portable weapons.

    UAV armed with thermobaric weapons will patrol way-point by waypoint over each fortress, scan the space between them and data link the fortresses which will be placed at a 5 km grid.

    If the UAV detects hostiles, it will ask the fortress to engage or engage itself. if the UAV is shot at by MANPADs, the fortress sensors will detect it and send in a barrage of mortar shells. if the fortess is shot at and the UAV detects the RPG or gunfire signal, it will engage with thermobaric munitions and other fortress will chime in.

    Syria is around 200,000 km2, that will give ~8000 fortresses; with a resupply force of 20,000 men, mainly for fuel, and some munition, the entire country could be made to meet curfew requirements. Any unauthorized movements or discharge of weapons will receive a reply of mortar shells within seconds.
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  3. JayBird

    JayBird Junior Member

    Nov 22, 2012
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    Just air support with J-11B, JH-7A, SU-30MKK, Z-10 and UCAV like what the U.S does basically. Or go all out ONE MILLION PLA ground troops marching through Syria and cleanse the whole country in a week. Dr_evil_one_million_dollars.jpg
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  4. Jura

    Jura General

    Jun 23, 2013
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    hey, Lezt, I know your posts have often been thought-provoking, and this
    sure is an unorthodox occupation-tactics
    Equation likes this.
  5. Skye_ZTZ_113

    Skye_ZTZ_113 New Member
    Registered Member

    Mar 16, 2015
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    My knowledge of PLA assets is limited, so I will keep my post mainly restricted to the strategy and level of involvement.

    Given the current state of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) I don't believe that we can rule out a ground engagement by the PLA. The SAA are exhausted, deficient in materiel and manpower, with the Iraqi army being well.......no words can really describe their current state imho. Being a large country with a great deal of desert, fortresses would be a poor choice except to defend an extremely high value city/port perhaps. Desert warfare has always been about mobile units and defensive webs. Even if it was restricted to air/naval alone, the bases within the area would almost certainly be subjected to suicide/sabotage operations and the garrison units would be engaged in ground warfare anyway. The ground forces must avoid the mistakes made by some US forces in Afghanistan, where units sheltered in fortress like compounds and did not engage with the locals. That is not to say that the PLA will not need fortress like bases, but their implementation should be different.

    I would propose an expeditionary army of sorts, armed to the teeth with the best of the arsenal, and sent to eliminate the major strongholds within the area. To start off small, and not strain PLAAF logistics, I would suggest no more than 10,000 in the first month to establish an operational area to work within, and clear out the worst of the insurgency. They should be heavily supported by WZ-10 gunships and with a mission mandate to establish a safe zone of perhaps 90-100 miles radius from say....the port city of Latakia (The Russians already have an airbase there) . Alternatively, a new airbase can be constructed if necessary.

    At the risk of going off topic....the PLA forces in the region must assume that there is a significant chance that Daesh forces will 'somehow' become armed with advanced anti-air and anti-armour weapon systems, and plan accordingly. I will not go into the reasons for this here. Something will have to the done about the foreign funding, but that is outside the scope of my post and this topic imo.

    Once a forward safe zone has been established AND maintained, additional troops can be sent in as necessary. I'm aware that this sounds rather textbook-like, but it is a logical approach to the problem. Implementing it, will be as always, key to success. :rolleyes:

    This may sound controversial but imo an emphasis should be made on not necessarily eliminating enemy personnel, but reducing collateral damage and eliminating enemy equipment. Daesh have plenty of manpower, but even with ALL their stolen equipment, which must now reach mind boggling value, cannot replace their equipment losses forever. They have minimal arms industries, and certainly nothing near to the quality that would be needed to produce war vehicles in large quantities.

    However, an example should be made of Daesh military forces at some point. One cannot afford to be seen as weak when dealing with such ruthless and fanatical individuals, but also must be seen as friendly when dealing with reasonable people. The complete annihilation of the largest stronghold, after ensuring as many civilians escape as possible should suffice. When I say annihilation, I mean pancaking ala Vietnam War McNamara level carpet bombing, thermobaric charges, and SRBMs to ensure that the message is heard loud and clear that the world will no longer tolerate the existence of such radicals. Immediately afterwards, and for a long period this should be followed by a mix of hard/sort of soft counter-propaganda to ensure that the local people are well aware of /all/ the crimes that Daesh have been doing these past couple of years AND why a major intervention was necessary. This war will never be won without the 'hearts and minds' as it were, of the local people, as some people on this forum have highlighted previously. Perhaps some lessons can be learned from COIN operations in Afghanistan & no doubt the Russians can educate regarding the worst mistakes to avoid with the local people, and culturally speaking; since they have been dealing with the Syrians/Iraqis for decades. And of course, the city should be rebuilt after a time has passed and hopefully Daesh is consigned to the dustbin of history.
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  6. solarz

    solarz Brigadier

    Oct 9, 2009
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    Syria is not a Chinese problem, so I really don't see China taking the lead in military operations.

    I think Chinese deployments, if any, will be limited to supporting roles, with the aim of testing out their equipment and gaining combat experience.

    Thus, I would imagine the PLA would mostly be involved in training, logistics, recon, and maybe some airstrikes. Any ground troops would be of the special forces variety.

    I read reports that the Liaoning has docked in Syria. I don't know how credible this is, but it could be a good training opportunity for the carrier crew.

    I think the Sri Lanka civil war is a good model to look at. After decades of stalemate, an influx of Chinese weapons and training from Chinese military advisers helped the Sri Lankan army utterly crush the Tamil Tigers. I'm thinking something similar will happen in Syria.
    JayBird, Equation, t2contra and 2 others like this.
  7. Blackstone

    Blackstone Brigadier

    Jul 10, 2012
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    I see Chinese role in Syria as part of UN Peacekeeping forces, but it wouldn't happen until all sides are tired of great power struggles, and had enough of death and destruction.
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  8. Bltizo

    Bltizo Moderator
    Staff Member

    May 15, 2008
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    It ultimately depends on what China's goals are. I personally think that given what China's limited interests in Syria are, and its general past unwillingness to commit to excessive and potentially "bogged down" conflicts, China would be foolish to send in ground troops in any meaningful capacity outside of a few SOF and also defending their airbase or port if they have one.

    Also, we have to operate with the assurance that the US coalition isn't going to try and hinder China's efforts as that would inevitably change things.

    But even if China were merely to conduct coalition style precision bombing with any substance, that would be no easy task.
    -They'd have to send in at least a regiment of strikers (depending on what kind of bombing campaign they want to conduct), likely JH-7/As, but the air force would also benefit from rapidly inducting new smaller weight precision munitions as they smallest sized munition they have in service at present is the 500kg LT-2 (smaller sized munitions means more bombs on a plane on a single sortie, and thus targets to kill in a single sortie). Fortunately there are a lot of domestic suppliers with entire families of small PGMs on offer and some are supposedly tested to some degree, but those have to be bought, integrated onto all the aircraft, tested with new tactics developed and ultimately shipped to Syria.
    -I also wouldn't be comfortable if any strike force lacked fighter support, so let's say a regiment of JH-7/As supported by half a regiment of J-10s and half a regiment of J-11Bs, depending on how many airbases they have access to. Let's call it two airbases, each with 1/2 a regiment of JH-7As and 1/4 regiment of J-10 and 1/4 regiment of J-11B
    -Air refuelling will be a limitation when operating over Syria, but it's not an insurmountable one given they will be flying from bases within the country.
    -ISR is a biggy, and the air force should likely deploy some GX aircraft (let's call it two AEW&C and two SIGINT), and some MALE UAVs.
    -Defending the base (or bases) should be managed by a small detachment of army AFVs and regular troops, possibly with limited artillery presence on the base itself; air defence against possible coalition incursion, but they won't necessarily need a whole HQ-9 unit, maybe an anti-PGM unit and a MR SAM unit like HQ-16, at most
    -Supply and resupply will also be a limitation, as China's strategic airlift capabilities will be stretched simply getting everything there (personnel, spares, munitions, supplies in general, base local air defenses, etc)
    #8 Bltizo, Sep 29, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2015
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  9. Engineer

    Engineer Major

    Oct 25, 2008
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    Army of construction workers. They will be tasked with building Berlin Wall replicas around ISIS strongholds. Rapid reaction forces with short range air defences will guard the workers. An air force regiment or two will ensure air superiority in the vicinities, in case certain country tries to do funny business.
  10. Equation

    Equation Lieutenant General

    May 11, 2011
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    Any chance that Chinese contingency of Corps of Engineers and construction workers will be in collaboration with their Russian counter part in support of it? Therefore it's a coalition of forces in Syria united to keep a more stable (hopefully peace someday) country and current government together.o_O;)
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