Who: Bashar al-Assad’s Ba’ath Party government vs. the Free Syrian Army and Syrian Islamic Liberation Front, supported by the Mujahideen.
What: An uprising, followed by a civil war.
Why: Began as a peaceful protest of al-Assad’s regime, the opposition seeking to oust him.
When: March 15th, 2011 – ongoing.
“It’s when the ‘international community’ expresses ‘concern’ about your ‘situation’ that your situation is well and truly f**ked.” – Michael D Weiss
The Syrian civil war started as a peaceful demonstration in March 2011 during the Arab Spring, with protesters demanding the resignation of Bashir al-Assad, whose family had been in power since 1971, and the end of Ba’ath Party rule (yep, same as Saddam Hussein). When the Syrian Army was deployed in April and soldiers fired on demonstrators, the protests erupted into armed rebellion. The UN estimates a death toll of 92,900-100,000, with 4 million Syrians displaced, 1.5 million fleeing the country, and tens of thousands imprisoned and reports of the use of torture and chemical weapons by al-Assad’s forces. The war has deeply divided the international community. With Iran and Russia supporting the al-Assad regime and the US and the bulk of NATO supporting the rebels, intervention is a sticky issue. Since May 2013 Russia and the United States have been trying to organize another peace conference in Geneva in an attempt to broker peace in the region.