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.

US Airdrops Arms to Kurdish Militia on Syrian Border

Smoke from a fire rises after a shell landed in Kobani in Syria as fighting intensifies between Syrian Kurds and the militants of Islamic State group, Oct. 6, 2014 (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

REPORTING FROM WASHINGTON -- The U.S. military said late Sunday it used cargo planes to drop weapons, ammunition and medical supplies to Kurdish militia forces in the Syrian border town of Kobani to help them in their fight against Islamic State militants, who have been trying to overrun the town for weeks. The aircraft delivered arms and suppl... more

Kerry: 'Irresponsible' Not to Aid Kurds Against ISIS

John Kerry arrives at airport

JAKARTA, Indonesia — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday the Obama administration decided to airdrop weapons and ammunitions to "valiant" Kurds fighting Islamic State extremists in the Syrian border town of Kobani because it would be "irresponsible" and "morally very difficult" not to support them. Speaking in the Indonesian capital ... more

US Still Searching for Credible Allies in Syria

syria rebels tank 600x400

WASHINGTON -- Despite years of diplomacy and a CIA operation to vet and train moderate rebels, the U.S. finds itself without a credible partner on the ground in Syria as it bombs the Islamic State group. That's a potentially serious flaw in its strategy to ultimately defeat the militants. Obama administration officials have long conceded that ... more

Kobani Key to US Strategy Against Islamic State

Smoke from a fire rises after a shell landed in Kobani in Syria as fighting intensifies between Syrian Kurds and the militants of Islamic State group, Oct. 6, 2014 (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

WASHINGTON -- Dusty and remote, the Syrian city of Kobani has become an unlikely spoil in the war against Islamic State militants -- and far more of a strategic prize than the United States wants to admit. Perched on Turkey's border, the city of about 60,000 has been besieged for weeks by IS fighters. Kobani is now a ghost town: the U.N. estima... more

Former Iraqi Pilots Train ISIS Fighters on MiG Jets

Mig-23

BEIRUT — The Islamic State group has captured and is test flying, with the help of former Iraqi air force pilots, several fighter jets captured earlier from air bases belonging to the Syrian army, a Syrian activist group said Friday. The report by the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights could not be independently confirmed, and U... more

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