Against the backdrop of a devastating three-year drought, economic woes, extensive social unrest, and the presence of non-state armed groups such as ISIS, the uprising in Syria began as part of the Arab Spring in 2011, when protestors sought the end to President al-Assad’s regime. The government responded with harsh military measures that only accelerated the call for change. Military defectors then loosely organized the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and many civilian Syrians took up arms to join the opposition. Today, the FSA is still embroiled in battle with the Syrian Government’s Army, or the Syrian Arab Army (SAA). The FSA is supported by the United States, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries. The Assad regime and the SAA, with the help of Russia, Iran, and Iranian-backed Hezbollah, have as of mid-2018 recaptured most of Syria’s territory. Meanwhile, since its defeat in Raqqa October 2017, ISIS’s power has been substantially diminished. Nonetheless, the insurgent group and other non-state armed groups (see below) still maintain a presence in Syria. An effective ceasefire proves to be elusive as Syria’s Civil War is perpetually complicated by scourges of terrorism and the five proxy battles between Israel vs. Iran, Turkey vs. Kurds, U.S. vs. Turkey, Russia vs. U.S., and Secularists vs. Islamists.
Primary Terrorist Presence in Syria –
Other Groups Engaged in the Conflict:
U.S. Sanctions in Syria – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government and the Syrian Arab Army (SAA):
Human Rights, Humanitarian and Refugee Crises:
Other restrictions on Humanitarian Aid: