Who are the parties of the conflict?
The government of Syria is fighting against all of the various rebel groups that are against the Syrian government. The United States supports the Free Syrian Army and gives them military aid to fight the government of Syria. Russia supplies the Syrian government with military aid, and carry out air strikes on the rebel groups who are against the Syrian government. This means that both the United States and Russia are involved with the conflict as well. There are also many groups within Syria that are involved with the conflict. The Free Syrian Army is the rebel army who is fighting mainly against the government of Syria. They are backed by the United States government. The Syrian government has their own army as well, which is backed by the government of Russia.
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is also involved in the war. They are an extremist group that is fighting in Syria. In an article it said, "In Syria, the Kurdish People(tm)s Protection Units (YPG) and Kurdish-majority coalition Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have been two of the most effective forces in limiting the expansion of Islamist movement Isis" ("Turkish air strikes"). This shows that the Kurdish people (Kurds) play a big role in the Syrian conflict. The Syria Conquest Front, which was once a part of al-Qaeda, is also involved in the conflict. Al-Qaeda is one of the terror groups that is also part of the Syrian Civil War.
What is the history of the conflict?
When Bashar al-Assad, son of the former Syrian president Hafez al-Assad, became the president of Syria in 2000 after his father died, people wanted him to make the Syrian government a democracy. His father had suppressed the pro-democracy protesters during his presidency, and Bashar al-Assad did the same.
Starting on March 15, 20ll, protesters held large, pro-democracy demonstrations. When this happened, Bashar al-Assad responded first by having police arrest thousands of the demonstrators, and then resorted to violence after a couple of days of more demonstrations.
On April 21, 2011 Bahar al-Assad ended the state of emergency that Syria had been under for 50 years, but people continued to protest, and the government became even more violent against the protesters. Later that year, Syrian protesters formed their own army, called the Free Syrian Army (FSA). By the end of November in 2011, it was estimated that over 4,000 people had been killed in the conflict, which officially made it a civil war.
People carry a protester who was killed by Syrian security forces
In June 2014, the Obama administration in the US announced that it would supply the Syrian rebels with military aid. In February 2014, the Syrian government took over the city of Homs, which had once been a stronghold for the rebels. When the presidential election in Syria took place on June 3, 2014 Bashar al-Assad was re-elected. In September 2014 the US-led coalition started a series of air strikes against the the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
On September 10, 2015 the government of Russia announced that it was "strengthening its military commitment to the Assad regime in addition to offering more advisory and humanitarian assistance" ("Syrian Civil Unrest"). Also in September 2015, Russia led their first air strikes. Instead of targeting ISIS, "The Russian attacks instead hit rebel factions opposed to Assad and backed by the United States" ("Syrian Civil Unrest").
On September 12, 2016 a ceasefire went into effect that was made by the US and Russia that included most of the rebel groups, while excluding ISIS and the Syria Conquest Front so that the governments could still attack them.
What are the causes of the conflict?
The people of Syria wanted the government to become a democracy, but the president of Syria, Bashar al-Assad, would not allow it to happen. He suppressed the pro-democracy protesters just like his father had done when he was president before Bashar al-Assad. Because of this, pro-democracy protesters made large demonstrations aimed at the government, starting in March of 2011.
The government responded first by arresting protesters, and when the demonstrations continued, the government resorted to violence. The Syrian Civil War was started because of protests against the government by people who just wanted to have more of a say in what their government did. Eight months after the first protests, in November of 2011, the conflict had officially become a civil war because over 4,000 people had been killed.
What are the effects of the conflict?
The Syrian Civil War has a lot of effects on places both in and outside of Syria. Because of the war, officials have estimated that as of 2016, about 400,000 people had been killed, 4 million people had fled the country, and 7.6 million people had been forced out of their homes but are still in Syria.
Homes were destroyed airstrikes and people were forced from their homes
ISIS has institutionalized sex slavery in Syria, and execute their opponents in horrible ways. They slaughter innocent civilians and destroy sites of heritage in cities that they take over.
These are members of the Free Syrian Army, which is an army made up of Syrian Rebels
Acts of terrorism in other countries have also been linked back to the conflict in the Middle East. In the US, Donald Trump placed an order to ban all Muslims from entering the country because of the terrorist attacks that were linked back to the conflict in Syria. Because of what has happened in Syria and other countries, Muslims are now banned from entering the US.