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.

With Incentives and Brute Force, IS Subdues Tribes

Sunni Muslim prisoners 600x400

BEIRUT  — The Islamic State group is employing multiple tactics to subdue the Sunni Muslim tribes in Syria and Iraq under its rule, wooing some with gifts — everything from cars to feed for their animals — while brutally suppressing those that resist with mass killings. The result is that the extremists face little immediate threat of an uprisi... more

US, Coalition Executes more than 1,000 Airstrikes against ISIS

A F/A-18F Super Hornet lands aboard the aircraft carrier USS Bush after conducting strike missions against ISIL, September 23, 2014. (Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Brian Stephens/U.S. Navy)

U.S. and coalition warplanes have stepped up the air campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in recent weeks, boosting the number of airstrikes to well over 1,000 since the bombing and missile attacks began on Aug. 8, Pentagon officials said. Through Nov. 19, a total of 1,006 airstrikes were conducted – 561 against targe... more

A-10s Return to Iraq after Air Force Tries to Retire Fleet

Several A-10 Thunderbolts II arrive in support of regional military activities including Operation INHERENT RESOLVE (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jared Marquis)

A-10s returned to the Middle East to fly missions against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militant groups in support of Iraqi ground troops, the New York Times reported. Several A-10 Warthogs assigned to the Indiana Air National Guard transferred from a deployment to Afghanistan and started arriving in Kuwait on Nov. 17. The day ... more

UN: Islamic State Group Got Up To $45M in Ransoms

UNITED NATIONS — The Islamic State group which controls a large swath of Syria and Iraq has received between $35 million and $45 million in ransom payments in the past year, a U.N. expert monitoring sanctions against al-Qaida said Monday. Yotsna Lalji told a meeting of the U.N. Security Council's Counter-Terrorism Committee that an estimated $1... more

Pentagon Operation Name for Islamic State Fight Inspires Criticism

An F/A-18 Super Hornet launches from the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson as it conducts flight operations in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations supporting Operation Inherent Resolve on Oct. 27, 2014. Alex King/Navy

REPORTING FROM WASHINGTON -- During World War II, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill urged military leaders to come up with valiant names for battles so no mother of a fallen soldier need say her son was killed "in an operation called 'Bunnyhug' or 'Ballyhoo.' " More than 70 years later, Pentagon officials faced a similar problem when the... more

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