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.
WASHINGTON -- The United States will send 400 troops to train moderate Syrian rebels this spring. Pentagon spokesman Maj. James Brindle confirmed the planned deployment early Friday morning. The U.S. plan was first reported by Defense One on Thursday. Last month, President Barack Obama signed into law a massive defense policy bill that endors... more
The U.S. effort to recruit and train "moderate" Syrian opposition group fighters to combat ISIS could involve the deployment of upwards of 1,000 U.S. troops to training sites in the Middle East, the Pentagon said Friday. The initial Pentagon announcement on Thursday said that "Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar have agreed to host training site... more
UNITED NATIONS — The U.N. representative of the opposition Syrian National Coalition demanded Wednesday that the United Nations take down a new photo exhibit sponsored by the Syrian government, saying Syria is using it to "whitewash the regime's war crimes." The "My Homeland" exhibit opens Thursday with photographs of a ruined Aleppo, includin... more
BEIRUT — U.S.-led coalition warplanes carried out more than a dozen airstrikes overnight in and around the Islamic State group's de facto capital in northeastern Syria, three activist groups said Friday. The air raids on the outskirts of Raqqa were the heaviest coalition strikes on the city along the Euphrates River since Islamic State group m... more
WASHINGTON — The Pentagon is giving hundreds of troops thousands of dollars in back pay for flying airstrike and surveillance missions over Syria since mid-September, due to an oversight in danger pay guidelines, defense officials said Wednesday. Acting Assistant Defense Secretary Stephanie Barna signed a new memo this week designating the airs... more