5 Things to Know About the Conflict in Syria

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Over the last few weeks, news coverage has been saturated with reports out of war-torn Syria. Since the conflict reached its height when Syrian President Bashar al-Assad reportedly used chemical weapons against the citizens of his own country, speculation has increased in regards to if and when the US and our allies will intervene.
And while media coverage has ensured that most have at least now heard of the conflict in Syria, the truth of the matter is, many people are for the most part still unaware and uninformed about the details of the conflict, and about the nation itself.

5 Where Is It?

This seems basic, but when it comes to Syria, there are plenty who know that terrible things are happening there, but don’t really know where “there” is. Syria is a small country in the Middle East, which sits on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea. It is bordered mostly by Turkey to the north, and Iraq to the east, and also shares borders with Lebanon, Jordan and Israel. Syria is home to roughly 22 million people, most of whom are Islamic Arabs.

4 What Happened?

Following revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, peaceful Syrian protests against the country’s dictatorship began to pop up in early 2011. In what can only be summed up as an absolutely insane reaction, the government began combating these peaceful demonstrations by opening fire on protestors. Activists were killed, kidnapped, raped and tortured, and when they began fighting back, what started as a mere protest had erupted into a full-blown civil war.

3 Mass Casualties

Since the conflict began back in 2011, the lives of many Syrian citizens have been turned upside down or worse yet, their lives have been taken. In the last two years, more than 100,000 people, many of whom were innocent civilians, have been killed as a result of the war. In addition to the massive death toll, the nation’s infighting has also resulted in an astonishing amount of refugees. According to recent numbers, more than 2 million people have been forced to flee Syria over the last two years, and more than 4 million have been displaced inside the nation’s borders.

2 Chemical Weapons

While the conflict in Syria has obviously been raging for quite some time now, the recent increase in coverage and demand for international intervention has been spurred on mostly by the Syrian government’s reported use of chemical weapons against civilians. Following attacks that left hundreds dead, the Syrian government tried to pin the blame on the country’s rebel forces. President Obama and the U.S. government have made it clear however, that they believe Assad and the Syrian government are the ones responsible, and that such unconscionable attacks may indeed necessitate an international response.

1 What Now?

While President Obama is urging congress to reach a resolution that will authorize the use of military force against Syria, it’s still hard to say exactly what would come of it. The main issue being that no one seems to believe that our intervention will actually change the tide of the war in Syria. A ground invasion would likely only accelerate the killing in the region, and the more likely scenario of launching an air strike wouldn’t do much to slow the conflict overall. Instead, the launching of missiles would more likely serve as retribution against Assad for allegedly using chemical weapons, and hopefully serve as a deterrent against any military leader using such methods in the future.

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