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.

UK Minister: Illogical to Attack ISIS in Iraq But Not Syria

File Photo shows Defence Secretary Michael Fallon listening to Royal Marines at the Armed Forces Day National Event in Guildford, Britain, 27 June 2015. (Photo: British Ministry Of Defense)

LONDON -- Britain's defense minister says lawmakers should consider expanding Royal Air Force airstrikes against the Islamic State from Iraq into Syria. Defense Secretary Michael Fallon told the House of Commons on Thursday that there was a case for taking action in Syria, but the government would "not bring a motion to this House on which the... more

Syria's Kurds Warn Turkey Not to Intervene Militarily

In this Jan. 30, 2015, file photo, a Syrian Kurdish sniper looks at the rubble in the Syrian city of Ain al-Arab, also known as Kobani. AP photo

BEIRUT -- Syria's main Kurdish party warned Turkey on Wednesday that any military intervention would threaten international peace and said the country's main Kurdish militia is ready to face any "aggression." Meanwhile, a Syrian rebel group released a video showing 18 Islamic State militants being shot in the backs of their heads. The stateme... more

As Kurds Gain in Syria, Turkey Ponders Military Action

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ANKARA, Turkey -- As Kurdish rebels in northern Syria rack up wins against the Islamic State group, Turkish media is abuzz with talk of a long-debated military intervention to push the Islamic militants back from the Turkish border -- a move that will also outflank any Kurdish attempts to create a state along Turkey's southern frontier. Presid... more

Sputtering Start to US Military's Training of Syrian Rebels

In this Dec. 17, 2012, file photo, Syrian rebels attend a training session in Maaret Ikhwan near Idlib, Syria. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen, File)

WASHINGTON — Fewer than 100 Syrian rebels are currently being trained by the U.S. military to fight the Islamic State group, a tiny total for a sputtering program with a stated goal of producing 5,400 fighters a year. The training effort is moving so slowly that critics question whether it can produce enough capable fighters quickly enough to ... more

US Central Command Plays Down ISIS Counter-Attacks

Turkish soldiers stand as smoke billows from the Syrian town of Ayn al-Arab or Kobani following the attacks by IS militants as seen from the Turkish side of the border in Suruc, Turkey, Thursday, June 25, 2015. (AP Photo)

U.S. Central Command maintained Friday that ISIS counter-attacks in northeastern Syria which inflicted heavy casualties were diversionary and meant to offset recent losses. "We assess these were limited, localized attacks" in Kobani and Hasakah and not part of a broader offensive intended to seize and hold ground, said Air Force Col. Pat Ry... more

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