Investigating the Syrian Civil Conflict

The Syrian Civil War is a complex conflict that has been going on for many years. It began in 2011 and is still being fought to this very day. In short, the war had officially broke out when the president of the Syrian government, Bashar al-Assad, had tortured and killed innocent peaceful protesters. When the war began there were two main sides, the Syrian government run by Bashar al-Assad, and the Free Syria Army also known as the rebel group. Moreover, the history of the war is complex and deeply rooted but significant in understanding the causes and effects of the war.

The Syrian Civil War is currently being fought by four main sides. The first side being the Government ruled by Bashar al-Assad. Bashar is known for human rights violations such as murder, torture, and inhumane treatment of citizens of Syria.

“What began as a protest movement aimed at ousting President Bashar al-Assad (1965–) developed into a brutal, ongoing, factional civil war.” (“Syrian Civil Unrest”)

The next side of the war is the Rebels. the free army of the rebels came to be when president Bashar al-Assad had tortured and killed hundreds of peaceful protesters and imprisoned many more. After some time, extreme jihadists side with the rebels and therefor joined the conflict. Assad actually encouraged the extremists to side with the rebels in order to taint their movement and make them look bad. Their main objective is to fight against the unfair acts of the government and to gain rights as human beings.

The third side of the war is ISIS. ISIS plays an important role in the war. They originally branched from the terrorist group Al-Qaeda. after ISIS has established themselves, they soon after split into ISIS ans the al-Nursa Front. as a consequence, they became the enemy groups. ISIS's main focus is taking land from any of the opponents and taking control of anyone who stands in their way.

The final side of the war is the Kurds. The Kurds are a major ethnic group in the Middle East, but do not posses their own country. For this reasoning, they are unwanted and almost all of the other groups have shown violence against them.

As the war goes on, several other countries have been affected and have joined the brutal conflict. Al-Qaeda saw potential in the chaos in Syria, and sent fighters to join in. Once they had established themselves, they split into ISIS and the al-Nusra Front, which are enemy groups, but ISIS controls more than half of Syria. Russia and Iran supported Assad through supplying money, military aid, and advisers. There are also many countries that have joined in on the conflict, and those include...

  • “United States — The U.S. supports the moderate rebel groups and has begun conducting airstrikes against ISIS, while maintaining its opposition to Assad" (Zorthian)
  • "Turkey — Turkey has been a major supporter of anti-Assad groups. The country was initially reluctant to confront ISIS themselves, since that would provide indirect support to Kurdish fighters who are supported by Kurdish groups outlawed in Turkey." (Zorthian)
  • "Saudi Arabia and Qatar — Both countries support anti-Assad groups and have conducted airstrikes against ISIS, alongside other Arab nations such as Jordan.” (Zorthian)
  • "Kurds — Syrian Kurds have received support from Kurds in Iraq, Turkey and the Kurdish diaspora." (Zorthian)

The history of the Syrian Civil War's is truly complex and drawn out. There are several events that occurred from the time span between when the war started and now. As previously mentioned, the war started in 2011 and is still going on today in 2017.

  • "2000 June - President Assad dies and is succeeded by his second son, Bashar." (“Syria profile - Timeline”)
  • 2011 March - The syrian government shot protesters in the city of Deraa who protested for freedom, which then sparked a violent unrest around the entire country.
  • 2011 May - Army tanks go into areas such as Deraa, Banyas, Homs and the suburbs of Damascus to try to dismantle unplanned protests.
  • 2012 July - The Free Syrian Army blows up three security chiefs in and conquers Aleppo in the north.
  • "2013 December - US and Britain suspend "non-lethal" support for rebels in northern Syria after reports that Islamist rebels seized bases of Western-backed Free Syrian Army." (“Syria profile - Timeline”)
  • "2014 September - US and five Arab countries launch air strikes against Islamic State around Aleppo and Raqqa." (“Syria profile - Timeline”)
  • 2015 September - Russia carries out its first air strikes in Syria, saying they target the Islamic State group, but the West and Syrian opposition say it overwhelmingly targets anti-Assad rebels.
  • 2016 November - pro-government forces supported by Russian bombers smashed through rebel lines on the east side of Aleppo.
  • "2017 January - Russia, Iran and Turkey agree to enforce a ceasefire between the government and non-Islamist rebels, after talks between the two sides in Kazakhstan." (“Syria profile - Timeline”)

Syrian Civil War causes

The tense history of the war helped lead up to the cause of the conflict, but one of the main reasons why the war was started was because of Bashar Al-Assad's unjust actions towards the civilians of Syria and members of a peaceful protest. In the beginning of the war, a lack of freedoms and civil rights caused the citizens to resent the Syrian government. “Starting in December 2010 and continuing through the spring of 2011, anti-government demonstrations across the Arab world brought sudden and sweeping changes to the political landscape of the Middle East… what began as a protest movement aimed at ousting President Bashar al-Assad (1965–) developed into a brutal, ongoing, factional civil war.” (“Syrian Civil Unrest”) Another thing that people speculated could have played into the start of the war could have been global warming. According to Middle-Eastern news outlet, Al Jezeera, "A severe drought plagued Syria from 2007-10, spurring as many as 1.5 million people to migrate from the countryside into cities, which exacerbated poverty and social unrest."

Syria's Civil was has had extreme effects on let alone Syria, but also the rest of the world. according to Global Issues in Context, as of May 2016, officials estimated upward 400,000 people had been killed in the Syrian conflict, and over 4 million had fled the country. About 7.6 million people had been forced from their homes but remained within Syria.” (“Syrian Civil Unrest”)

In the picture shown, You can see that people's houses have been destroyed due to this war. The government and the rebels are destroying homes with firearms, throw-able explosives, and other destructive methods.

A huge effect of the war has been the millions of Syrians currently facing becoming refugees. According to the organization World Vision, as many as 13.5 million people in Syria need humanitarian assistance due to Civil War currently taking place in Syria. The article also states that 5 million Syrians are refugees, and 6.3 million are displaced within Syria; half of those affected are children.

Cited Sources:

Al Jazeera. “Syria's Civil War Explained from the Beginning.” Al Jazeera, Al Jazeera Media Network, 7 Feb. 2017, www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/05/syria-civil-war-explained-160505084119966.html. Accessed 28 Mar. 2017.

"Aleppo falls apart; Syria." The Economist, 3 Dec. 2016, p. 39(US). Global Issues in Context, link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A472368135/GIC?u=nhais_hsao&xid=72a95368. Accessed 5 Apr. 2017.

“Syria Profile - Timeline.” BBC News, BBC, 1 Mar. 2017, www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-14703995. Accessed 5 Apr. 2017.

"Syrian Civil Unrest." Global Issues in Context Online Collection, Gale, 2016. Global Issues in Context, link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/CP3208520407/GIC?u=nhais_hsao&xid=4a68839f. Accessed 4 Apr. 2017.

World Vision Inc. “Syria Refugee Crisis: Facts You Need to Know.” World Vision, World Vision Inc., 16 Mar. 2017, www.worldvision.org/refugees-news-stories/syria-refugee-crisis-war-facts. Accessed 5 Apr. 2017.

Zorthian, Julia. “Who's Fighting Who In Syria.” Time, Time Inc., 7 Oct. 2016, time.com/4059856/syria-civil-war-explainer/. Accessed 4 Apr. 2017.

Souleiman, Delil. “A Kurdish Woman in Qamishli.” Time, Getty Images, Hasakeh , 13 Dec. 2015, time.com/war-through-syrian-eyes/. Accessed 1 Apr. 2017.

Brabo, Manu. “Free Syrian Army Soldier.” L.A. Times, Associated Press, 13 Nov. 2016, www.latimes.com/visuals/photography/la-fg-living-under-siege-life-in-aleppo-pictures-20161213-htmlstory.html. Accessed 1 Apr. 2017.

Karwashan, Youssef. “Residents Fleeing the Violence.” These 27 Heart-Wrenching Photos Tell the Story of Syria's Civil War, Getty Images, Aleppo, 13 Dec. 2016, www.latimes.com/visuals/photography/la-fg-living-under-siege-life-in-aleppo-pictures-20161213-htmlstory.html. Accessed 1 Apr. 2017.

Al-Masri, Karam. “Syrian Rubble.” Time, Getty Images, time.com/war-through-syrian-eyes/. Accessed 1 Apr. 2017.

Ourfalian, George. “Al Shaar Neighborhood Lies in Ruins.” Getty Images, Aleppo, 13 Dec. 2017, www.latimes.com/visuals/photography/la-fg-living-under-siege-life-in-aleppo-pictures-20161213-htmlstory.html. Accessed 1 Apr. 2017.

El Halebi, Beha. “A Boy Runs after Airstrikes .” Time, Getty Images, Aleppo, 24 Apr. 2016, time.com/war-through-syrian-eyes/. Accessed 1 Apr. 2017.

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