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.

Turkey, US to Provide Air Protection to Syrian Rebels

In this image taken from video obtained from the Ugarit News, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, Free Syrian Army fighters aim their weapons during clashes, in Damascus countryside, Syria on Monday, March 25, 2013.

ANKARA, Turkey -- Turkey and the U.S. have agreed in "principle" to provide air protection to Syrian rebels being trained and equipped to fight Islamic State militants, once they enter Syrian territory for battle, Turkey's foreign minister said. The two countries agreed in February to train and equip up to 15,000 Syrians under the $500 million ... more

US Concludes Airstrike in Syria Killed Two Children

In this Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012 photo, smoke rises from residential buildings due heavy fighting between Free Syrian Army fighters and government forces in Aleppo, Syria.

WASHINGTON — Two children were likely killed during an American airstrike targeting al-Qaida-linked militants in Syria last year, and two other adults were wounded, according to an investigation released Thursday by the U.S. military. The 76-page report concludes that the strikes were designed to destroy Khorasan Group extremists, bomb-making e... more

Kaine: Congress Must Stop Being "Spectator" in US War on Terrorists

Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va.

With Islamic State terrorists gaining ground in recent days in Iraq and Syria, U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine stepped up his criticism Thursday of Congress' failure to debate and vote on America's involvement in the undeclared war. During a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill where some senators and witnesses were critical of the admin... more

US: ISIS Head of Oil Operations Killed in Syria Raid

In this undated file image posted on a militant website on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014, fighters from the al-Qaida linked Islamic State group, march in Raqqa, Syria. (AP Photo/File)

Before the sun had risen, the commandos flew back to Iraq where Abu Sayyaf's wife, Umm Sayyaf, was being questioned in U.S. custody, officials said. Abu Sayyaf was described by one official as the IS "emir of oil and gas," although he also was targeted for his known association with the group's leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. U.S. officials said... more

US Conducts Raid on ISIS in Syria, Kills Top Official

Members of the 1st Special Forces Group

U.S. personnel overnight killed a key Islamic State leader in a raid in eastern Syria, the White House said Saturday morning. The U.S. team, based in Iraq, killed leader Abu Sayyaf and captured his wife, Umm Sayyaf, said National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan. Abu Sayyaf was a senior ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant)... more

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