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.

Graphic Briefing at UN on Suspected Syria Chlorine Attacks

Rubble covers a deserted street during a government-escorted visit to Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus, Syria, Thursday, April 9, 2015. AP photo

UNITED NATIONS -- U.N. Security Council members were moved to tears Thursday as the first eyewitness to the latest suspected chlorine attacks on civilians in Syria emerged from the country to give a graphic eyewitness account of dying children. A Syrian doctor who treated victims from a half-dozen attacks over the past month, Mohamed Tennari, w... more

Boehner: 'Virtually Impossible' to Pass Obama Force Request

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio leaves the House chamber

WASHINGTON — House Speaker John Boehner said Tuesday it will be "virtually impossible" for Congress to approve President Barack Obama's proposed authority for military force against Islamic State militants. In a meeting with a handful of reporters, the Republican leader said Obama's proposal for new authority is stalled months after Obama requ... more

US Vets Return to Mideast to Battle Past and Present Demons

In this Feb. 26, 2015 photo, Jamie Lane, 29, an American veteran, poses for a picture in front of an Iraqi Army Humvee captured and later abandoned by Islamic State militants in Tel Hamis, Syria. (Courtesy Jamie Lane via AP)

BAGHDAD — A decade after his first Iraq tour, former U.S. Marine Jamie Lane has returned to the battlefields of the Middle East to fight a still unvanquished enemy and wrestle with the demons of his past. The 29-year old from Mt. Pleasant, Michigan served as a machine gunner from 2004 to 2008, mainly in the western Anbar province, where he saw ... more

ISIS Militants Battle Armed Groups in Syria Refugee Camp

In this file photo taken Monday, June 23, 2014, militants from the Islamic State parade in a commandeered Iraqi security forces armored vehicle on a main street in Mosul, Iraq. (AP Photo, File)

BEIRUT — ISIS militants fought Friday against armed groups inside a refugee camp in the Syrian capital, Damascus, and have made new advances inside the camp, Palestinian officials and activists said. The militants with the Islamic State of Syria and Iraq (ISIS) stormed the Yarmouk camp on Wednesday, marking the Islamic State's deepest foray yet... more

Arab League Unveils Joint Military Force Amid Yemen Crisis

Saudi Foreign Minister Saud bin Faisal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud attends a meeting of Arab foreign ministers in Sharm el Sheik, South Sinai, Egypt, on Thursday, March 26, 2015. Thomas Hartwell/AP

SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt -- A two-day Arab summit ended Sunday with a vow to defeat Iranian-backed Shiite rebels in Yemen and the formal unveiling of plans to form a joint Arab intervention force, setting the stage for a potentially dangerous clash between U.S.-allied Arab states and Tehran over influence in the region. Arab leaders taking turns ... more

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