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.

UN Syria Envoy Tells Russia: Leave Aleppo Corridors 'to Us'

Staffan de Mistura, UN Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Syria, speaks at the European headquarters of the United Nations, in Geneva, Switzerland, Thursday, July 28, 2016. (Martial Trezzini/Keystone via AP)

GENEVA — The U.N. special envoy for Syria on Friday urged Russia to leave the creation of humanitarian corridors around Aleppo to the United Nations and its partners, issuing a gentle snub to Moscow, which had made the proposal a day earlier as pro-government troops tightened their encirclement of rebel-held parts of the northern Syrian city. R... more

Captured Intel Offers Deep Look inside ISIS: Gen. Votel

In this Feb. 24, 2007, file photo, then-U.S. Brig. Gen. Joseph Votel listens in front of an Afghan national flag during a meeting with Afghan officials in an Afghan military base in Kabul, Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq, File)

The head of U.S. Central Command said Thursday that a recent trove of captured intelligence out of Syria is providing a "deeper" insight into the Islamic State's war machine. "I think it is extraordinarily important. ... It is beginning to provide us deeper understanding of certainly their tactics and techniques," Gen. Joseph Votel, CENTCOM com... more

At Least 14 Civilians Killed in US Airstrikes in Iraq, Syria: Centcom

A man looks on as Syrian civil defense workers search for survivors following reported air strikes on July 17, 2016 in the neighborhood of Karm Homad in Aleppo (Thaer Mohammed/AFP)

U.S. Central Command released the results of several casualty assessments Thursday showing that at least 14 civilians were killed and one was injured in six separate U.S. airstrikes from July 28 last year through April in Iraq and Syria. The results were in response to queries from reporters at a Pentagon briefing Wednesday at which it was anno... more

Syria Nusra Front Leader Claims No More Ties with Al-Qaida

Nusra Front leader Mohammed al-Golani in an undated photo released online on Thursday, July 28, 2016.(militant photo via AP)

BEIRUT — The leader of Syria's Nusra Front said in a recording aired Thursday that his group is changing its name, claiming it will have no more ties with al-Qaida in an attempt to undermine a potential U.S. and Russian air campaign against its fighters. The announcement is the first time that an entire branch of al-Qaida has said it is leaving... more

Russia, Syria Blockade Aleppo, Offer Corridors Out

FILE - In this June 18, 2016 file photo, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu visits the Hemeimeem air base in Syria. (Vadim Savitsky/Russian Defense Ministry Press Service pool photo via AP, File)

BEIRUT — After months of fighting to encircle its opponents in Aleppo, Syrian authorities backed by Russia on Thursday offered safe corridors out for residents and rebels in the northern city's besieged quarters, underlining the government's determination to seal off the metropolis and force an eventual surrender by the opposition. Many residen... more

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