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.

15 Percent of Syrian Sarin Chemicals Destroyed

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Associated Press | Jul 19, 2014

WASHINGTON -- The Pentagon says 15 percent of the main Syrian chemical weapons on board the U.S. cargo vessel MV Cape Ray have been destroyed. The crew is working first to neutralize the raw material for sarin nerve gas, which makes up 581 metric tons of the chemical material on the ship. Mustard gas accounts for the remaining 19 metric tons o... more

Pentagon Asks for $500M to Train Syrian Rebels

Syrian rebels with tank. | Jul 16, 2014

Top Pentagon officials argued Wednesday for $500 million to train moderate Syrian rebels along with $53.4 billion in Afghan war funding at a Congressional hearing. The Pentagon has put together a plan to train a force of about 2,300 moderate Syrian rebels who are fighting the pro-Assad and Al Qaeda connected militias in the Syrian civil war,... more

Army Team Begins Destroying Syrian Chemicals

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Baltimore Sun | Jul 08, 2014

WASHINGTON -- A team of chemists and engineers from Aberdeen Proving Ground has begun to neutralize chemicals from Syria's weapons stocks, the Pentagon said Monday. The work is taking place aboard the container ship MV Cape Ray under heavy security at an undisclosed location in international waters. The ship left Gioia Tauro, Italy, with 600 to... more

Ship Carrying Syrian Weapons Arrives in Italy

A Danish ship, the Ark Futura, carrying hundreds of tons of Syrian chemical weapons steamed into the southern Italian port of Gioia Tauro for a rendezvous with a U.S. cargo vessel that will destroy the toxic material.

Associated Press | Jul 02, 2014

GIOIA TAURO, Italy -- A Danish ship carrying hundreds of tons of Syrian chemical weapons steamed into the southern Italian port of Gioia Tauro on Wednesday for a rendezvous with a U.S. cargo vessel that will destroy the toxic material. Escorted by an Italian coast guard vessel and a helicopter buzzing overhead, the Ark Futura pulled into port ... more

Envoy Says Iraq Can't Wait for US Military Aid

In this, June 9, 2014 image taken from video obtained from the Iraqi Military, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, armed Iraqi military soldiers gather in the northern city of Mosul, Iraq. (AP Photo/Iraqi Military)

Associated Press | Jul 01, 2014

WASHINGTON — Iraq is increasingly turning to other governments like Iran, Russia and Syria to help beat back a rampant insurgency because it cannot wait for additional American military aid, Baghdad's top envoy to the U.S. said Tuesday. Such alliances underscore that the Obama administration risks seeing some of its main global opponents join ... more

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