Syria

 Free Syrian Army fighters take their positions during clashes with government forces in Qusair, Homs province, Syria, Sunday, Jan. 20, 2013.

A country lying south of Turkey and west of Iraq, Syria has historically been a region of unrest. Syria was part of the Arab Spring, the movement in which Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen saw rulers overthrown. President Bashar al-Assad has been in power since 2000, and his family has controlled Syria since 1971.

What began as a widespread protest in March of 2011 became a full-fledged civil war. Syrian rebels are attempting to oust Assad and his Ba'ath Party which has ruled for almost fifty years. The rebels are disorganized have no clear military structure, but have so far managed to stay operational. As the conflict progresses, the weekly death toll has gone from under one hundred to nearly one thousand.

At the beginning of Syria's civil war, president Obama called for an end to the violence and called on both rebel and government forces to lay down arms. A peace treaty was attempted in April of 2012, but due to infractions on both sides, the arrangement failed. The Obama Administration has resisted calls to intervene militarily, but the U.S. is now materially assisting the rebels and there are media reports that the U.S. and some its European allies are secretly providing the insurgents with training.

Lebanese Army Slowly Crushing Extremists Near Syria Border

In this June 19, 2016 photo, a Lebanese army soldier stand guard at the edge of the town of Arsal, on the Syrian border, in northeast Lebanon. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

ARSAL, Lebanon — In a remote corner of Lebanon near the border with Syria, Lebanese troops have been quietly making steady progress, fighting against Islamic extremists holed up in the rugged mountains. It is a fight less visible than the U.S.-led war against the Islamic State group in Syria, Iraq and Libya. But hardly a day passes without army... more

Russia Says US Failed to Provide Syrian Opposition Locations

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, second from left, visits a Syrian air facility on June 18, where Russian warplanes are based. (Vadim Savitsky/Russian Defense Ministry Press Service pool photo via AP)

MOSCOW -- The Russian military has rejected the Pentagon's accusations that it targeted U.S.-backed Syrian opposition forces, saying the U.S. failed to warn about their locations. Russian Defense Ministry spokesman, Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, said the area targeted in the June16 strike was 300 kilometers (186 miles) away from locations earlier... more

Pentagon Concerned about Russian Strikes vs. US-Backed Syrian Forces

Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said that U.S. military concerns about Russian attacks on anti-ISIL forces in Syria would be addressed through "ongoing diplomatic discussions." (DoD photo/Glenn Fawcett)

The Pentagon voiced "strong concerns" over Moscow's bombing of US-backed forces in southern Syria, a spokesman said on June 18. U.S. military officials holding a video conference with Russia "expressed strong concerns about the attack on the coalition-supported counter-ISIL forces at the Al-Tanf garrison, which included forces that are particip... more

US Should Bomb Assad: Dissident Diplomat Cable

This photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA shows Syrian President Bashar Assad speaking during an interview with the Iran's Khabar TV, in Damascus, Syria, Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015. SANA via AP

Dozens of U.S. diplomats think America should launch military strikes against the Syrian government, according to a State Department document, breaking ranks with President Barack Obama's policy on the bloody civil war. The so-called "dissent channel" cable urges attacks against Bashir al-Assad's regime for its persistent violations of a shaky ... more

France, Belgium Alerted to Possible Arrival of Militant Fighters

Russian police officers walk through a square in downtown Lille, Wednesday, June 15, 2016. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)

PARIS — Police have been alerted to the possibility that small groups of extremists have left Syria for France and Belgium with plans to stage attacks, but have not raised threat levels, as authorities work to determine how credible the information is. Belgian intelligence services sent a note to French counterparts about the possible groups, a... more

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