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.

Pentagon: Counter-IS Campaign Costs $424 Million

WASHINGTON — The U.S. military has spent $424 million so far in its military campaign against the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq, the Pentagon said Tuesday. The Pentagon's press secretary, Rear Adm. John Kirby, said the cost has averaged about $7.6 million a day since the bombing began in Iraq on Aug. 8. President Barack Obama expanded t... more

Denver Teens' Travel Stirs Terror Appeal Concerns

apartment complex

DENVER — The case of three teenage girls being investigated for trying to join Islamic State militants poses vexing questions for U.S. officials about the use of social media by terror groups to recruit people inside the United States, experts said Wednesday. A Colorado school official said the Denver area girls — two sisters ages 17 and 15, an... more

FBI: 3 Teen Denver Girls May Have Tried to Join Jihadis in Syria

fighters from ISIL

DENVER -- Authorities are investigating whether three teenage girls from suburban Denver who may have been trying to join Islamic State militants in Syria have friends or associates with similar intentions. A U.S. official said the evidence gathered so far made it clear that the girls -- two sisters, ages 17 and 15, and their 16-year-old frien... more

Report: US Policy Shifts From Killing ISIS Fighters to Saving Kobani

Smoke and flames from an airstrike by the U.S.-led coalition rise in Kobani, Syria, as seen from a hilltop on the outskirts of Suruc, at the Turkey-Syria border, on Monday. (AP photo)

U.S. and Kurdish commanders are collaborating closely to ensure that the Syrian border town of Kobani does not fall to Islamic State militants, in a change of earlier policy, according to a published report. According to The Wall Street Journal, U.S. and Syrian Kurdish military leaders are coordinating air and ground operations around Kobani, w... more

Syria's Assad Exploits US War against ISIS

In this Friday, Jan. 11, 2013 file photo, rebels from al-Qaida affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra sit on a truck full of ammunition at Taftanaz air base, which was captured by the rebels in Idlib province, northern Syria. Citizen photo via AP

BEIRUT — Syrian President Bashar Assad is taking advantage of the U.S.-led coalition's war against the Islamic State group to pursue a withering air and ground campaign against more mainstream rebels elsewhere in the country, trying to recapture areas considered more crucial to the survival of his government. As U.S. and allied jets swoop free... more

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