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Video Game / Syrian Warfare

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Syrian Warfare (known as Сирия: Русская Буря; i.e. Syria: Russian Storm in the creators' language) is a Real-Time Strategy game, created by the Russian developer Cats Who Play, and released for PC through Steam on February 21st, 2017.

It is on a modified version of the Warfare and Warfare Reloaded game engine.

The main storyline is told from the perspective of Anwar Amin, who used to be a lieutenant in the Syrian police force at a small town before the civil war broke out. The conflict still hasn't reached his town at the start of the narrative; he even says it merely felt like "something happening on the other side of the TV screen" and was even able to take a leave abroad. Right after he returns, however, the terrorists finally reach his town and murder the police chief with the aid of the police chief the next town over, who has turned traitor. Nevertheless, he is able to mount effective resistance and hold on for a while. From then on, the story follows his squad's involvement in the war's crucial battlefields, both when they were on their own and after the Russian air force had started intervening in their favour.


By the end of 2017, the game also received a short downloadable campaign, Return to Palmyra, devoted to the battles around the titular ancient city, which was famously liberated from the Islamic State in 2016, then lost, and then retaken again within a year. A year later, it had also received Battlefields DLC, which included both additional missions and the Level Editor allowing the players to create their own scenarios.

Since this is a work with a clear political positioning, remember about Rule of Cautious Editing Judgement when writing about anything not directly mentioned in the narrative.


Tropes present in this game:

  • Bland-Name Product: LiveJournal, the most popular blogging platform in Russia, is represented as "Social Spider". In between missions, the player can read both the entries from Anwar's personal diary (sometimes accompanied by the historical background notes) and the posts on Social Spider, which roughly approximate the way the conflict was covered in the Russian blogosphere at the time: from the Russian opposition bloggers eagerly hoping for the repeat of "the Libyan scenario" and anticipating the domino effect reaching Moscow, to worried posts from the Russian women married to Syrians about their families being torn apart by the conflict.
  • Boring, but Practical: The Fuel/Ammo supply trucks as they allow you to keep using vehicles for longer as well as re-arm vehicles/infantry.(Particularly useful for units such as Mortar Teams who will use up their ammo rapidly.)
  • Elites Are More Glamorous: Russian Special Forces (Marines and GRU) are far more capable than your local Syrian Forces and are pretty much super-units whenever the mission gives you some, coming at Elite rank and very high stats, they always leave at the end of a mission but are far better than your own units in almost every way.
  • Enemy Exchange Program: By having units driving them at the end of a mission, you can capture enemy vehicles and bring them into the next mission, such as APCs, Tanks or even simple supply trucks, you can also sell them back into the Reserves for more Command points for other vehicles.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Wahid, the traitor from the police force, feigns politeness when he attempts to get his former colleagues Wazir and Anwar to follow him and switch sides, but loses it after he murders Wazir, yet Anwar remains defiant.
    When the new government comes in, we'll slit you and your family's throats! You understand the whole world is on our side? We have unlimited access to weapons and money! How much longer do you think you can hold out? You can't possibly combat the forces behind them.
  • Gaiden Game: Can be considered one for the Warfare Series (Warfare and Warfare Reloaded), as it uses part of the title in the English version, the same engine, mechanics and elements down to looking at social media discussing the conflict in-between missions as well as at least some of the old devs working on Syrian Warfare.
  • Gameplay Grading: At the end of each mission, the time taken to complete the mission, the losses inflicted on the enemy and the casualties suffered by your troops are tallied up to generate the number of "command points", which represent Anwar's authority as a commander.
  • Garrisonable Structures: All buildings can be garrisoned. Moreover, they are also separated into light, medium and durable to reflect the protection they offer from gunfire, and their resistance to explosive weaponry. Moreover, while regular infantry will fire from the windows, snipers will seek to take up firing positions on the roof.
  • Insistent Terminology: One Social Spider poster, Renee, converts to Islam with her boyfriend François and they change their names accordingly. She is now Fatima, and he is now Mohamed al-Fransi. She repeatedly insists on her new name when her worried friend Jean tries to knock some sense into her, and ends up defriending Jean.
  • Last Chance to Quit: Wahid, the traitorous police official, offers one to Anwar's chief Wazir.
    Wazir: It's good to see you, Wahid. Who are these people? Why are they armed? (referring to a squad of a dozen gunmen behind Wahid.)
    Wahid: It's good to see you too, Wazir. These are my new friends and, if you're smart, they'll be yours too.
    Wazir: What are you talking about?
    Wahid: The times are changing. These men are a new force I am working with. In times like these, it's better to be a free agent, Wazir. They've got funds, weapons, and basically endless support from abroad. You watch TV, you know what's going on. The government is falling. I'm offering you the chance to join the winning side before it's too late. They won't touch you or your men. They might cut up a few of Christians in your town, but that's just for show. It won't be significant, and they'll make you the leader. What do you say?
    Wazir: You were easily bought. You still can't forgive the higher-ups for not making you a colonel and sending you to Damascus, can you? And now's your chance to get revenge, eh, Wahid? You won't be working in my town, not while I and my men are around!
    • After Anwar mounts a successful defence and repels the first waves of terrorists, Wahid contacts him directly through Wazir's leftover police radio and makes a similar offer directly to him, threatening to back it up with the arrival of the main forces.
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard: The fate of police chief Wazir, shot soon after he defies the offer to switch sides in the speech above.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Wahid, the traitorous police official, absolutely doesn't mind if any Christians get killed by the fanatical terrorists he is allied with so long as he gets money and power in the new Syria.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Wazir, Anwar's police chief in the tutorial mission, who is unfailingly polite and makes sure to ask Anwar about how he spent leave in Lebanon.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilised: Since the narrative is told from a loyalist perspective, this is to be expected. The first rebel leader we see does his best to appear reasonable as he makes his pitch, yet still lets slip "his new friends" with limitless foreign backing may kill a few Christians in the town just to teach them a lesson and he doesn't care about that.
  • Shown Their Work: The Newswires in-between missions often discuss real events that happened, such as Lucas Kinney (Son of a Hollywood director) joined Al-Qaeda in 2015.
  • Smoke Out: Smoke grenades can be deployed to obscure the opponents' vision and thus dramatically slash their accuracy, as well as increase the time they spend aiming, and thus lower their rate of fire. Moreover, deploying smoke grenades at the right time will interrupt the targeting of guided missiles like TOW or Javelin.
  • Stock Footage: The opening of the game has the POV character, Anwar, narrate his story over the real news clips of the early demonstrations and the responses from various politicians on the world stage.
  • Subsystem Damage: Every vehicle is divided into multiple zones that receive damage separately, as shown with two schematics: a side-view and a top-down one.
  • Suicide Attack: Vehicles filled with explosives and driven by suicide bombers appear from the first mission onwards.
  • Universal Driver's License: Downplayed. While practically every infantry is considered capable enough to drive both civilian cars and other light vehicles, tanks and other tracked vehicles can only be driven by the dedicated personnel.