There are many different people involved in the Syrian Civil War. The four main groups are: the Kurds, the rebels, ISIS, and dictator president Bashar al-Assad. They are all backed by different governments all around the world.
Both the rebels and Kurds are backed by the US, but the rebels are also backed by the Gulf States, Jordan, and Turkey. President Assad is backed by Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah. ISIS is not officially backed by any government.
The rebels are the main enemy of Assad. They oppose him because of the many years of oppression. Jihadist extremists joined the the rebels, and from that, al-Qaeda formed. In 2012, the Kurds became a group because they wanted the right to self-govern, and they saw this as an opportunity to rise up and fight. In 2014, ISIS is formed after it breaks away from the rebels due to internal disputes.
This picture shows female Kurdish soldiers fighting in the Civil War. This further shows the separation between the opposing groups. In an area where females are typically considered the "weaker" sex, it's important to see that one of groups is actually involving them in the war.
The war first started in 2011 when president Bashar al-Assad had shots fired into peaceful demonstrations. The people began fighting back, and some of Syria's own troops joined them. This uprising then became a civil war. The protesters called themselves the Free Syrian Army, and by 2013, the Middle East was divided, with the Sunnis supporting the rebels and the Shias supporting Assad.
In August of 2013, the war changed. Assad murdered more than 1,700 civilians using chemical warfare, which forced the Unites States of America in intervene. The US backs the rebels, who end up splitting and another group is formed: ISIS. ISIS only wants to fight the rebels, not Assad. Then, in 2015, Russia joined the war. Russia backs Assad and the Syrian government, and is therefore against the rebels. They bombed the rebels, which enforces the tension between Russia and the US, seeing as the rebels are backed by the US.
The issues in Syria gained attention worldwide, and many governments began calling for Assad's resignation, mainly for his use of violence against his own citizens. On April 4th, 2017, Assad once again committed a war crime. He used chemical warfare on his own citizens in the rebel-held town of Idlib, killing 72 people and injuring more. In retaliation, the president of the United States, Donald Trump, sent over fifty missals to Syria, directed towards Assad and the Syrian government. The government has yet to respond.
Although the first shots were fired in 2011, the war was actually beginning over ten years before that. In 2000, the president of Syria, Hafez al-Assad, passed away. He was a strict ruler, and his death brought hope to the people that they would finally be free of oppression. His son, Bashar al-Assad, became the new president. He told the people that Syria would be a democracy, and gained many supporters. However, these were empty promises. As he entered office, more and more people became aware of his falsities, and the protests began.
The Syrian Civil War has killed at least 250,000 people. Over five million people have fled the country, and another six million have been displaced within Syria.
The war doesn't just affect Syria. Neighboring countries are afraid the fighting will spread, and their own people will be murdered. Also, many of the refugees have fled to nearby countries, especially Lebanon and Jordan. These places have been quickly overwhelmed and are in need of both emergency and long-term assistance.