This Syrian T-55 looks more ready to retake the Golan Heights circa 1967 than engage in modern mechanized combat. One of the reasons the Syrian civil war has been so destructive and violent is the utter amount of surplus military hardware that was kicking around the country.
The last semi-accurate report by IISS stated that the Syrian Arab Army had in its active/semi-active inventory around 4,900 main battle tanks of various kinds, putting them in 4th place for most active MBTs in the world behind the US, China and Russia. The tank in question, one of roughly 2,200 various models of T-55 in service with the SAA (T-55, T-55AM, T-55AMV, plus local DIY variants as of the civil war), was of a model originally designed in the Soviet Union at the tail end of WWII and designated the T-54, the latest in a series of successful tanks starting with the T-34 (which remained in service from 1940 in the USSR until present-day in some countries), which was upgraded and turned into the T-44 before finally morphing into the T-54/55. Thus, the vehicle was designed with outgunning Nazi tanks at the end of the war, tanks like the Panther and Tiger II, but also with mass production in mind to compete with the sheer numbers of Western tanks coming off the line.
With what was some of the thickest armor and the largest caliber gun on a tank in the world at the time, the T-54/55 sent fear down the spines of NATO commanders in Europe. Thus, when the tanks began turning up in Syrian stockpiles around 1957, commanders in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) became understandably nervous. The tanks in service today are largely replacement vehicles shipped to Syria from the USSR to compensate Syria for losses in the 1973 Yom Kippur war, but it is possible that this tank in particular is a survivor of at least that war and possibly others.
The T-54/55; designed for combat against NATO, purchased by Syria for desert mechanized warfare against the Israelis, and pressed into service by the SAA as a machine used by Syrians to kill their fellow Syrians. Finally, it was captured at least once by one of the various rebel factions. Anyway there’s your little history lesson for the day, hope you enjoyed it.