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.
ANKARA, Turkey -- As Kurdish rebels in northern Syria rack up wins against the Islamic State group, Turkish media is abuzz with talk of a long-debated military intervention to push the Islamic militants back from the Turkish border -- a move that will also outflank any Kurdish attempts to create a state along Turkey's southern frontier. Presid... more
WASHINGTON — Fewer than 100 Syrian rebels are currently being trained by the U.S. military to fight the Islamic State group, a tiny total for a sputtering program with a stated goal of producing 5,400 fighters a year. The training effort is moving so slowly that critics question whether it can produce enough capable fighters quickly enough to ... more
U.S. Central Command maintained Friday that ISIS counter-attacks in northeastern Syria which inflicted heavy casualties were diversionary and meant to offset recent losses. "We assess these were limited, localized attacks" in Kobani and Hasakah and not part of a broader offensive intended to seize and hold ground, said Air Force Col. Pat Ry... more
BEIRUT — Islamic State militants in Syria stormed government-held neighborhoods in the predominantly Kurdish northeastern city of Hassakeh on Thursday morning, capturing several areas of the city, officials and state media said. The attack came after the Islamic State group suffered several setbacks in northern Syria against Kurdish forces over... more
The U.S. Department of Defense announced Monday it is making monthly payments to moderate Syrian rebels being trained to fight the Islamic State. The United States, Turkey, Jordan, Qatar and Saudi Arabia agreed in February to participate in the training and fielding of a moderate Syrian opposition force. The first group of about 90 fighters beg... more