Underlying Conditions

In December 2018, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), estimated the death toll since the start of the war to be as high as 560,000. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) 6.6 million Syrians have been displaced internally and 5.6 million around the world. More than 13 million people in Syria are in need of humanitarian aid and over 500,000 children are trapped in besieged areas.

Conflict Summary

Currently, three campaigns drive the conflict: violence between the Syrian government and opposition forces, violence between Turkey and the Kurdish People’s Protection Group (YPG) which forms the backbone of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), and coalition efforts to defeat the Islamic State. Though the Baghdadi era of ISIS ended when the leader blew himself up during a U.S. raid of northern Syria in October 2019, officials warn that ISIS still remains a significant threat in the region. Two weeks after the raid U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper announced plans to keep approximately six hundred troops stationed in Syria in order to both defeat Islamic State militants and secure oil fields in the region. Under various agreements with Russia, Turkey has been tasked with the removal of HTS and other al-Qaeda affiliated groups in the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib. However, they have historically failed and been accused of possessing a reluctance “to treat the jihadi factions it has backed, and allowed to use its borders, as terrorist groups.”


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Parties Involved

Assad Regime

The Assad regime was installed in 1971 when the Ba’athist party member and military officer Hafez Al-Assad rose to power in the wake of a military coup, later persecuting their opponents. Power was handed over to Hafez Al-Assad’s son, Bashar Al-Assad, upon his death in 2000. The regime is receiving political, economic and military life support from Russia, Iran and Hezbollah.

National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Force

 A Syrian opposition coalition formed in 2012 out of the Syrian National Council in Doha, Qatar. The coalition seeks the end of Bashar al-Assad's rule and the establishment of a modern, civil, democratic state. In 2013, the coalition formed the Syrian Interim Government and named the Free Syrian Army (FSA) as its main defense. Dozens of countries recognize the coalition as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people.


Feb 06

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