The Syrian Civil War IntroductionThe Syrian Civil War is an ongoing multi-sided armed conflict in Syria in which internationalinterventions have taken place. The war grew out of the unrest of the 2011 Arab Spring andescalated to armed conflict after President Bashar al-Assad's government violently repressedprotests calling for his removal. The war is now being fought among several factions: the SyrianGovernment and its various supporters, a loose alliance of Syrian Arab rebel groups, the SyrianDemocratic Forces, Salafi jihadist groups (including al-Nusra Front) who often co-operate withthe rebels, and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)1. The factions receive substantialsupport from foreign actors, leading many to label the conflict a proxy war waged by bothregional and global powers. Syrian opposition groups formed the Free Syrian Army and seizedcontrol of the area surrounding Aleppo and parts of southern Syria. Over time, factions of the Syrian opposition split from their original moderate position to pursuean Islamist vision for Syria as al-Nusra Front and ISIL. In the north, Syrian government forceslargely withdrew to fight the FSA, allowing the Kurdish YPG to move in and claim de factoautonomy. In 2015 the YPG joined forces with Arab, Assyrian, Armenian and some Turkmengroups forming the Syrian Democratic Forces, while most Turkmen groups remained under FSAlabel2. International organizations have accused the Syrian government, ISIL and otheropposition forces of severe human rights violations and of multiple massacres. The conflict hascaused a considerable displacement of population. On 1 February 2016, a formal start of the UN-1Ziadeh, Radwan (2011). Power and Policy in Syria: Intelligence Services, Foreign Relations and Democracy in theModern Middle East. London: I. B. Tauris.2Wright, Robin (2008). Dreams and Shadows: The Future of the Middle East. New York: Penguin Press. pp. 212–261.
mediated Geneva Syria peace talks was announced by the UN; however, fighting continuesunabated.Syria became an independent republic in 1946, although democratic rule ended with a coup inMarch 1949, followed by two more coups the same year. A popular uprising against military rulein 1954 saw the army transfer power to civilians. From 1958 to 1961, a brief union with Egyptreplaced Syria's parliamentary system with a highly centralized presidential regime. The secularBa'ath Syrian Regional Branch government came to power through a successful coup d'état in1963. The next several years Syria went through additional coups and changes in leadership. InMarch 1971, Hafez al-Assad, an Alawite, declared himself President, a position that he held untilhis death in 2000. Since 1970, the secular Syrian Regional Branch has remained the dominantpolitical authority in what had been a one-party state until the first multi-party election to thePeople's Council of Syria was held in 20123.
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- Fall '16
- Andrea DeBois
- Psychology, Syrian government