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.

Kerry: Progress with Russia on Syria Despite Military Doubts

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, left, talks with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry during the 6th East Asia Summit Foreign Minister's meeting in Vientiane, Laos, July 26, 2016. (AP photo/Sakchai Lalit)

VIENTIANE, Laos — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said progress is being made with Russia on a potential military partnership that could strengthen a faltering truce in Syria despite grave doubts expressed by the Pentagon and joint chiefs of staff. Speaking Tuesday after meeting Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Laos, Kerry made no... more

Joint Chiefs Chairman: Don't Trust Russia to Help End Syrian War

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and U.S. Marine Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, hold a press conference at the Pentagon, July 25, 2016. (DoD Photo by Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Dominique A. Pineiro)

Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford said Monday that he doesn't trust the Russians to live up to agreements and was wary of plans to cooperate with them on ending Syria's civil war. At a Pentagon news conference with Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, Dunford said he was well aware of Secretary of State John Kerry's ongoing efforts to reach... more

Syria Regime Pounds Aleppo on Eve of Geneva Meeting

Map shows the location of Aleppo, Syria. (AFP)

Syria's regime intensified air strikes on rebel-held areas of Aleppo province Monday as a UN envoy prepared to meet US and Russian officials to try to revive peace talks. France called for an immediate humanitarian truce in Aleppo city after civilian deaths in the provincial capital and after four hospitals were bombed there on Sunday. On Mond... more

Eisenhower Restarts Operations against Islamic State

An F/A-18E Super Hornet assigned to the Sidewinders of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 86 prepares to launch from the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower in the Arabian Gulf Friday, July 22, 2016. (BOBBY BALDOCK/U.S. NAVY)

MANAMA, Bahrain -- The aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower and the embarked Carrier Air Wing 3 renewed operations against the Islamic State group on Friday, after a brief break while transiting from the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf, a Navy statement said. From June 28 to July 8, Ike launched 116 sorties from the Eastern Mediterranean... more

Russian Warplanes Reportedly Bombed US Base in Syria

A Russian air force Sukhoi SU-30Sm in flight.The war against ISIL is giving Russia an opportunity to test its weapons and military doctrine.

Russian warplanes reportedly bombed a secret military base in Syria used by elite American and British forces last month. The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that the Russian strike on the CIA-linked site was part of a campaign by Russia to pressure the White House to agree to closer cooperation in the Syrian skies, U.S. military and inte... more

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