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.

US Commander Hails Anti-ISIS Kurdish Group Opposed By Turkey

Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Kevin Killea, then commander of the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab, in July 2014 speaks about the Advanced Warfighting Experiment in Hawaii. (Marine Corps photo)

Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Kevin Killea, then commander of the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab, in July 2014 speaks about the Advanced Warfighting Experiment in Hawaii. (Marine Corps photo) A U.S. commander’s praise Friday for the Syrian Kurdish group fighting ISIS widened a growing rift with Turkey on the use of the Air Force base at Incirlik in the... more

Mullah Omar's Death: Taliban's Loss, Islamic State's Gain

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

Mullah Omar's death poses an existential crisis for the Afghan Taliban, analysts say, potentially presaging a splintering of the movement as the Islamic State group gains a toehold among insurgents enthralled by its battlefield prowess. The group has suffered a string of recent defections to IS, with some insurgents voicing disaffection with th... more

NATO Backs Turkey as Country Expands Fight Against ISIS and Kurds

Turkey-Syria border

NATO on Tuesday gave its strong backing to Turkey's fight against "terrorism" at an emergency meeting called to discuss Ankara's strikes against Islamic State fighters and Kurdish rebels. The talks in Brussels came as President Tayyip Erdogan insisted that Turkey would press on with the dual offensive against two mutually hostile groups despite... more

White House Defends Turkish Deal Following Attacks on Kurds

Kurdish police fortify a checkpoint at the entrance to the oil rich city of Ramlan, around which oil fields are located, in Syria's mainly Kurdish northeastern area on the border with Turkey and Iraq on October 20, 2013. (AFP PHOTO /FABIO BUCCIARELLI)

Pentagon and Obama administration officials on Tuesday defended the deal with Turkey to start flying missions against ISIS from Incirlik airbase even after Turkey has started attacking Kurdish militants in Northern Iraq. "Absolutely not," said Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, when asked if Turkey's agreement to allow the U.S. to... more

US, Turkey Aim for ISIS-Free Zone in Northern Syria

Police officers patrol as Turkish police raided homes in Haci Bayram neighborhood in the capital Ankara, Turkey, Monday, July 27, 2015. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

BEIRUT — The United States and Turkey are finalizing plans for a military campaign to push the Islamic State group out of a strip of Syrian territory along the Turkish border, a move that would further embroil Turkey in Syria's civil war and set up a potential conflict with U.S.-backed Kurdish forces. A U.S. official said Monday that the creat... more

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