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.

Kurdish Fighters Rout ISIS Militants from Town Near Iraq

Kurds photo

BEIRUT — Backed by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes, Kurdish fighters fought their way Friday into a northeastern Syrian town that was a key stronghold of Islamic State militants, only days after the group abducted dozens of Christians in the volatile region, Syrian activists and Kurdish officials said. The victory marks a second blow to the extr... more

US Looks to Aid Syrian Refugees Amid Security Concerns

In this Feb. 21, 2015 file photo, Syrian refugees gather near their tent after recent stormy weather and snowfalls at Zaatari Syrian refugee camp in Mafraq, Jordan. (AP Photo/Raad Adayleh, File)

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration's commitment to take in potentially thousands of Syrian refugees is raising national security concerns among law enforcement officials and some congressional Republicans who fear clandestine radicals could slip into the country among the displaced. The administration has vowed to help those who fled the civ... more

Meet the US Generals Ramping up the Training Mission in Iraq and Syria

U.S. Army Lt. Gen. James L. Terry speaks to Marines at Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan in April 2013. (Marine photo)

The U.S. Army generals charged with strengthening Iraqi and Syrian forces to dislodge Islamic militants from vast stretches of both countries are poised to ramp up the effort in coming months. As the top U.S. commander in Iraq, Army Lt. Gen. James Terry oversees the American troops who will train an increasing number of Iraqi security forces as... more

Islamic State Militants Abduct Dozens of Christians in Syria

Fighters from the Islamic State group parade in their northern Syrian stronghold, Raqqa. AP/Raqqa Media Center

BEIRUT — Islamic State militants have abducted at least 70 Christians, including women and children, after overrunning a string of villages in northeastern Syria, activists and relatives said Tuesday. The Sunni extremist group, which follows a radical interpretation of Islam, has repeatedly targeted religious and ethnic minorities in Syria and ... more

Some Signs of Tension Emerge Among Islamic State Militants

fighters from ISIL

BEIRUT — As the Islamic State group tries to expand and take root across the Middle East, it is struggling in Syria — part of its heartland — where it has stalled or even lost ground while fighting multiple enemies on several fronts. Signs of tension and power struggles are emerging among the ranks of its foreign fighters. The extremists rema... more

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