Syrian Civil War 2011-Now

Parties Involved

Important Figures!

  • The Syrian government (President Bashar al-Assad)
  • Barack Obama (President of the United States)
  • Riad al-Asaad (Commander of the Free Syrian Army)
  • Wael al-Halqi (Prime Minister of Syria)
  • There is also Vladimir Putin (President of Russia)
  • Ban Ki-moon (United Nations (UN) Secretary-General)

Who Is On Who's Side?

Many minor religious groups side with the government such as Shia Iran and Lebanon-based Hezbollah while a large majority of the rebels fighters are Sunni Muslim. “Assad and his supporters are primarily Alawite, a Shia Islamic sect, while the majority of the country is Sunni.” There are a smaller amount of government supporters than there are for other groups.

Foreign Parties

The USA is in support of the rebels and fighting ISIS. They are mostly staying away from attacking the Assad government. Russia is supporting the government and sending reinforcements to them. Lebanese members of Hezbollah and Iranian and Afghan fighters are fighting on the side of the government also.

History On The War


The whole war started in early 2011 with protests towards resignation of President Bashar al-Assad. At first it was just protests but that quickly escalated into a full blown war with over 120,000 deaths and more than 2.4 million people leaving the country by early 2014.

On April 25, 2011, military forces with tanks moved into Daraa to obtain control and tame the protesters. For more than a week, troops stayed in the city. On April 30, they shot at a gathering of demonstrators, killing six of them.The incident drew attention from all around the world, and members of Assad's party even resigned from their posts to protest the violent attacks on Syrian citizens.

In July 2011, defectors from the military announced the formation of the Free Syrian Army.

By mid-July 2011, more than 1 million protesters had joined in the demonstrations across Syria.

On July 31 army tanks and troops launched an attack on protesters in Hama that left more than 100 people dead. This led some of the protesters to form their own military, known as the Free Syrian Army, made mainly of army officers and troops who chose to side with the rebels after refusing to use violence against civilians.


Both protests and government violence against protesters escalated in 2012, hundreds of thousands of Syrians continuously took to the streets in cities throughout the country and faced deadly consequences from security forces.

Fighting spreads to Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, in the summer of 2012.

President Assad was ready to accept the Arab League–brokered peace deal in November 2012, but a violent outbreak the next day between security forces and protesters in Homs stopped him. Witnesses said Syrian tanks fired on the crowd, killing between 10 to 20 people in the street.

On November 27 the Arab League followed through on its threat of suspending Syria and approved economic penalties.


In march, after moving in on the north, rebel forces capture Raqqa, a city in Syria located about 160 kilometres east of Aleppo.

On June 24 the Obama administration made the announcement that they would be supplying the Syrian Army with direct lethal military aid.

In August-September Assad releases a chemical weapons attack in Damascus that kills hundreds of civilians. Under international pressure, in October Syria destroys its chemical weapons production equipment.

By September 2013, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) announced that the number of Syrian refugees had passed 2 million, including roughly 1 million children. In late 2013, the UN estimated that by the end of 2014, there would be more than 4 million Syrian refugees.


By early 2014, more than 120,000 people had been killed and millions injured. In the early January, Ayman al-Zawahiri issued a public call for an end to the fighting among fellow jihadist groups.

In February peace talks led by UN-Arab League mediator Lakhdar Brahimi in Geneva ended without a breakthrough to any of the people in attendance.

Syria's presidential election took place on 3 June. Voting took place only in government-controlled areas. All ballots were tallied and Assad came out victorious with more than 88.7% of the vote.

On 23 September, a U.S.-led coalition, which includes several Arab nations, began air strikes against Islamic State at main locations in Syria. The first bombings by drones and battleships targeted training areas, storage facilities, and armed vehicles along the Turkish border.

On July 3, Isis takes control of Syria’s largest oil field, al-Omar. But on September 23, US-led coalition began air strikes against Isis in Syria.


In January the UN estimated Syria’s conflict has killed at least 220,000 people and uprooted nearly a third of the population from their homes. On the 26th, with the help of US air strikes, Kurdish fighters took control of Kobani.

On the 3rd of February, Isis released a video of captured Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kaseasbeh being burned to death in a cage.

In Early September, Russia began air strikes against non-government targets. Ceasefire between government and rebel forces also began in September.

Two suicide bombers from the Islamic State killed 102 people at a peace rally in Ankara, Turkey on October 10. Again on 12 November, two Islamic State suicide bombers killed forty-three people and injured two hundred in an attack on Beirut, Lebanon. The following night, shootings and suicide bombers attacked in Paris, France, killing at least 130 and injuring hundreds.


In January, Russia was accused of deadly attacks against civilians in its efforts to help the Assad regime fight militant rebels. On 9 January, Russian air strikes on the town of Maarat al-Numaan left at least 80 dead, including an undiscovered number of civilians. Again on January 11, a Russian air strike on the town of Ain Jara struck a school building and killed at least 12 children.

In mid-February, air strikes on hospitals and schools in northern Syria killed about 50 people. The President of Doctors Without Borders (PDWB) declared that the attacks were carried out by, "either the government or Russia." UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned that the attacks violated international law.

On 27 February, the end of hostilities took effect. In March, Putin announced that Russia would begin removing its troops out of Syria. However, by April, U.S. officials said only a "slight reduction" in the numbers of Russian troops.

On April 25, President Obama announced that about 250 Special Forces soldiers would be sent to Syria to help militias in their fight against Islamic State. Obama said that the soldiers would not be involved in combat, but would provide smarts and training for the militias to defeat the Islamic State.

The rebel city of Aleppo was hit by air strikes that killed at least 15 and damaged 3 medical facilities in July.

The Aleppo campaign effectively drove rebels from the city by the end of December 2016.


The war has this point now dragged on for over five years, killing an estimated 450,000 people.

The now raging question that 2017 will hopefully bring the answer to is, will the fall of Aleppo mean peace, or just a new phase of war?

President Trump is expected to continue to focus on the Islam. He has also expressed little interest in maintaining support for the rebels.

Causes of The War

Causes of the war

President Assad

Many people believe that president Assad was the original cause of the war. Citizens say that when he was elected president and started sending military tanks into the cities is what caused the whole war.


Many government figures believe that the protesters are the reason for the war. If the protesters had not started the protests in the beginning than Assad would not have had to use forces to stop them thus not leading to the war.

Effects of The War

Inside Syria

Children and adults alike are dying of starvation and toxic fumes from crumbling buildings in Syria everyday. Once beautiful cities are now crumbling pieces of ruble destroyed by suicide bombers and military tanks. ''If you ask the children about their dreams, they will tell you, 'We dream of bananas, apples, chicken.' Those are their dreams.'' says Bassem Ayoub an activist in Aleppo. Children have so little food that they are dreaming about it. Over 2 million people have been forced out of their homes due to the war.

Outside Syria (Refugee Crisis)

Syria’s war has created the worst immigration crisis of our time. Half the country’s population have been killed or forced to flee their homes. 3.5 million Syrians are in need of humanitarian assistance. Among those escaping the conflict, most of them have found refuge in neighboring countries or within Syria itself.

Many Syrian refugees are living in Jordan and Lebanon, where Mercy Corps has been helping them since 2012.

Families walk for miles at night to avoid being shot at by snipers or being caught by soldiers who will kidnap young men to fight for their cause.


Al Jazeera. “Syria's Civil War Explained from the Beginning.” News; Al Jazeera, Al Jazeera Media Network, 7 Feb. 2017, Accessed 5 Apr. 2017.

Mercy Corps. “Quick Facts: What You Need to Know about the Syria Crisis.” Mercy Corps, Mercy Corps, 9 Mar. 2017, Accessed 5 Apr. 2017.

Rubin, Alissa J. "Assad's Prize If He Prevails: Syria in Tatters." New York Times, 29 Nov. 2016, p. A1(L). Accessed 5 Apr. 2017.

Staff. “Syrian Civil War Timeline: Tracking Five Years of Conflict.” The Independent, Independent Digital News and Media, 13 Mar. 2016, Accessed 5 Apr. 2017.

"Syrian Civil Unrest." Global Issues in Context Online Collection, Gale, 2016. Global Issues in Context, Accessed 5 Apr. 2017.

"Syrian Civil War." Worldmark Modern Conflict and Diplomacy, edited by Elizabeth P. Manar, vol. 2: Japanese Invasion of China to Yugoslav Wars, Gale, 2014, pp. 499-505. Global Issues in Context, Accessed 5 Apr. 2017.

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