[TL;DR: Peaceful uprising turned four-year war in the Middle East. 250,000 dead. 9 million fled their homes.]

The latest: Russia has ramped up its involvement in the conflict and its backing of President Assad. Troops have been seen bringing in artillery and working on a few airbases, according to several sources.

Nestled in the Middle East region, Syria has continuously been in the midst of an ongoing deadly conflict with hundreds of thousands dead, millions of refugees and nearly half of its population displaced.

Along with the sweep of the the Arab Spring revolutions, protests calling for democratic reform and the toppling of President Bashar al-Assad rose in the country’s capital of Damascus and the nation’s largest city of Aleppo in the spring of 2011. The Syrian government responded with a brutal and deadly crackdown.

Out of the peaceful protest demonstrations demanding the overthrow of Assad and his government came an armed rebellion inspired by the violent response of the regime. Several rebel groups and defectors from the Syrian Armed Forces formed the Free Syrian Army, thus starting a civil war in the country.

Massacres, widespread violence, and destruction have occurred across the nation between several fractions since then, including the Free Syrian Army, the Syrian regime, Lebanon-based Islamist militant group Hezbollah, al-Qaida’s Syrian affiliate Jabhat-al Nusra Front, Syrian Kurdish forces, and the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL).

Putting a strain on the region, violence has spilled over into Turkey, Lebanon, and Iraq. Refugees have also fled to neighboring Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, and Iraq.



The Conflict Journal’s latest on Syria

Chemical weapons handover delayed again

Report: United Nations resolution on Syria humanitarian aid

Additional resources: Syria Deeply | Wikipedia | Crisis Group | Human Rights Watch

[Photo by Basma/United Kingdom Foreign Office]