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.
Stars and Stripes | Dec 11, 2013
AL UDEID AIRBASE, Qatar — Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel wrapped up his five-country trip to the Middle East on Tuesday in a meeting with troops at a critical U.S. air hub that once dared not speak its name. But the former “airbase in Southwest Asia,” as Stars and Stripes and other publications for years referred to Al Udeid Airbase, Qatar, at t... more
Associated Press | Dec 09, 2013
DAMASCUS, Syria - Syrian troops seized a key opposition-held town Monday along a major north-south highway critical for transporting the government's chemical weapons stocks to a port where they could be shipped out for destruction by the international community. The government has been cooperating with chemical weapons inspectors, and the capt... more
Associated Press | Dec 06, 2013
THE HAGUE, Netherlands - The international chemical weapons watchdog announced Friday it has verified the destruction of all of Syria's unfilled munitions - another milestone along the road to eradicating President Bashar Assad's chemical weapons program by mid-2014. The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said in a statement t... more
Military.com | Dec 05, 2013
The destruction of Syria's chemical weapons stockpiles at sea will be an all-civilian operation by U.S. Defense Department personnel with the toxic waste from the destruction process to be disposed of in third-country landfills, Pentagon officials said Thursday. "Our assessment is that the risks from the neutralization process is very low" ... more
Associated Press | Dec 02, 2013
BEIRUT - Within minutes of opening a Twitter account this past week, the leader of Syria's main Western-backed opposition group received an onslaught of criticism. "Welcome to Twitter Mr. Western Puppet," one comment to Ahmad al-Jarba read. Others called him a Saudi stooge and scorned the opposition's perceived ineffectiveness. The comments re... more