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.
Associated Press | Dec 13, 2013
UNITED NATIONS - Chemical weapons were probably used in four locations in Syria this year, in addition to the confirmed attack near Damascus in August that forced the government to abandon its secret chemical stockpile, U.N. inspectors have said. In a report released Thursday, the experts, led by Swedish professor Ake Sellstrom, examined seven ... more
Associated Press | Dec 13, 2013
DAMASCUS, Syria - Syria is hitting back at Saudi Arabia for supporting rebels who want to topple President Bashar Assad by promoting an English-language movie that depicts the founder of the monarchy as a bloodthirsty womanizer. "King of the Sands" opened to much fanfare under tight security Thursday at the Damascus Opera House despite calls fr... more
Military.com | Dec 12, 2013
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Thursday that infighting among rebel factions in Syria left the U.S. in doubt on how to continue support for rebels in the ongoing civil war that has killed more than 120,000 and sent millions of refugees into neighboring countries. "It's not an easy choice between the good guys and the bad guys here," Hagel s... more
Stars and Stripes | Dec 11, 2013
AL UDEID AIRBASE, Qatar — Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel wrapped up his five-country trip to the Middle East on Tuesday in a meeting with troops at a critical U.S. air hub that once dared not speak its name. But the former “airbase in Southwest Asia,” as Stars and Stripes and other publications for years referred to Al Udeid Airbase, Qatar, at t... more
Associated Press | Dec 09, 2013
DAMASCUS, Syria - Syrian troops seized a key opposition-held town Monday along a major north-south highway critical for transporting the government's chemical weapons stocks to a port where they could be shipped out for destruction by the international community. The government has been cooperating with chemical weapons inspectors, and the capt... more