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.

Peshmerga Troops Start Entering Syrian Border Town

Peshmerga troops

SURUC, Turkey — Activists say 10 Iraqi peshmerga fighters have entered a northern Syrian border town, the first from among a group of 150 Kurdish troops on their way into the embattled Kobani. Kobani-based activist Musrafa Bani says 10 fighters entered the town. He says the rest will follow gradually on Thursday because the border crossing poin... more

Syrian Rebels Enter Kurdish Town from Turkey

Smoke and flames rise from an Islamic State fighters' position in the town of Kobani. (AP Photo)

MURSITPINAR, Turkey -- For the first time since the Islamic State group launched an offensive on the Syrian border town of Kobani last month, a small group of Syrian rebels on Wednesday entered the embattled town from Turkey in a push to help Kurdish fighters there battle the militants, activists and Kurdish officials said. The group of around ... more

Iraqi Kurdish Fighters to Head to Syria

Kurdish Peshmerga

IRBIL, Iraq -- Dozens of Iraq's Kurdish peshmerga fighters will fly to Turkey on Tuesday and from there cross into the Syrian border town of Kobani to help fellow Kurds fight Muslim militants, a spokesman for the Kurdish force said. According to the spokesman, Halgurd Hekmat, the peshmerga fighters will leave the city of Irbil, in Iraq's semi-a... more

Women on Front Lines in Syria, Iraq Against IS

Kurdish women Peshmerga fighters

SURUC, Turkey  — Just over a year ago, Afshin Kobani was a teacher. Now, the Kurdish Syrian woman has traded the classroom for the front lines in the battle for Kobani, a town besieged by fighters from the Islamic State extremist group. The 28-year-old Kurdish fighter, who uses a nom de guerre, said she decided to join the fight in her hometown... more

Pentagon: Counter-IS Campaign Costs $424 Million

WASHINGTON — The U.S. military has spent $424 million so far in its military campaign against the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq, the Pentagon said Tuesday. The Pentagon's press secretary, Rear Adm. John Kirby, said the cost has averaged about $7.6 million a day since the bombing began in Iraq on Aug. 8. President Barack Obama expanded t... more

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