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.

Syria Kurds, Arabs Form Joint Military Force

A fighter from the Kurdish People Protection Unit (YPG) guards a checkpoint in the Syrian town of Ain Issi, on July 10, 2015 (AFP Photo/Delil Souleiman)

Syria's leading Kurdish militia and several Arab rebel groups that have fought alongside it have formalised their alliance in a new group called the Syrian Democratic Forces. The formation of the alliance comes after Washington said it was abandoning a plan to train and equip rebels to fight the Islamic State group and could provide the US with... more

As Turkish Protesters Scuffle with Police, Syrian Jets Lock onto F-16s

Protesters gather in Ankara, Turkey, on Oct. 11, 2015, after trying to reach the site of suicide bombings killed 95 people and wounded hundreds in the country's deadliest attack in years. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

ANKARA, Turkey -- Scuffles broke out Sunday in the Turkish capital as police used tear gas to prevent pro-Kurdish politicians and other mourners from laying carnations at the site of two suspected suicide bombings that killed 95 people and wounded hundreds in Turkey's deadliest attack in years. Police held back the mourners, including the pro-K... more

Islamic State Group Seizes Villages North of Aleppo City

Syrian forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad take their position during a clashes againstSyrian rebels, in Aleppo, Syria.

BEIRUT -- Islamic State militants seized several villages from rival insurgents north of Aleppo city Friday, in a surprise attack that came despite intensive Russian airstrikes that Moscow insists are targeting the extremist group, activists said. Iranian state media reported that a senior commander in Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard was ki... more

Russian Air Force 'Hits 60 Terror Targets' in New Syria Strikes

Sukhoi Su-34 (Vitaly V. Kuzmin)

Russia's air force hit more than 60 "terrorist targets" in Syria over the past 24 hours, Moscow's military said Friday, significantly ramping up its bombing campaign in the war-torn country. "Sixty-seven sorties have been carried out from the Hmeimim air base" in Syria, the deputy head of the Russian General Staff, Lieutenant General Igor Makus... more

Pentagon Giving up on Building New Syrian Rebel Force

Syrian rebels with tank.

LONDON  — The U.S. is abandoning its goal of training a new force of moderate Syrian rebels and will focus on equipping and supporting established rebels groups already fighting against the Islamic State group inside Syria, officials said Friday. The change, which has not yet been officially announced, reflects the failure of the current approa... more

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