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 Shoots Down Russian Warplane

This frame grab from video by Haberturk TV, shows a Russian warplane on fire before crashing on a hill as seen from Hatay province, Turkey, Nov. 24, 2015. Turkey shot down the Russian warplane, claiming it had violated Turkish airspace. (Haberturk TV)

BEIRUT -- NATO will hold an emergency meeting after Turkey shot down a Russian attack aircraft along the Syrian border that Ankara said had violated its airspace. Tuesday's meeting of the North Atlantic Council, the alliance's main decision-making body, will be held at Turkey's request, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity b... more

Clinton: No Troops in Syria, Even if Attack on US Soil

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks at the Brookings Institution in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2015. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

NEW YORK -- Hillary Rodham Clinton vowed to keep American troops out of Syria in a sweeping foreign policy address, saying she would resist sending forces to fight Islamic militants even if there's another terrorist attack within the US. Offering a detailed assessment of the conflict in Syria, the 2016 Democratic presidential front-runner said ... more

Marine Chief Says Strategy Needed After Islamic State Defeat

Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Robert Neller, speaks to sailors and Marines during a visit to Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Okinawa, on Monday, Nov. 23, 2015. (William Hester/U.S. Marine Corps)

CAMP KINSER, Okinawa -- Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller told Marines here Monday that they could rout the Islamic State group from Iraq and Syria, but it is up to politicians to determine what comes next. Marines asked Neller about U.S. policy regarding the Islamic State during a series of town halls here on his first visit t... more

Russia's Putin in Iran for Talks Set to Focus on Syria

In this Monday, Nov. 23, 2015 photo released by an official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, right, listens to Russian President Vladimir Putin during their meeting in of

TEHRAN, Iran -- Russia's President Vladimir Putin visited Tehran on Monday for talks with Iranian leaders that focused on the Syrian crisis and an international peace plan intended to end the conflict. During his meeting with Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, both Putin and the top cleric warned against any effort to impose a politi... more

Ellsworth's B-1 Bombers Dropping Bombs at Record Pace

RAPID CITY, S.D. -- B-1 bombers from Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota have been dropping bombs at a record pace this year as part of an escalated assault on Islamic State targets, authorities say. The 34th Bomb Squadron dropped about 2,200 bombs on targets in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria during a six-month deployment that ended in July, ... more

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