Syria War Updates
The Syrian civil war (Arabic: الأزمة السورية "Syrian crisis"), also called the Syrian uprising,is an ongoing armed conflict in Syria between forces loyal to the Ba'ath government and those seeking to oust it. The conflict began on 15 March 2011, with popular demonstrations that grew nationwide by April 2011. These demonstrations were part of the wider Middle Eastern protest movement known as the Arab Spring. Protesters demanded the resignation of President Bashar al-Assad, whose family has held the presidency in Syria since 1971, as well as the end of the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party rule since 1963.
In April 2011, the Syrian Army was deployed to quell the uprising, and soldiers fired on demonstrators across the country. After months of military sieges, the protests evolved into an armed rebellion. Opposition forces, mainly composed of defected soldiers and civilian volunteers, remain without central leadership. The conflict is asymmetrical, with clashes taking place in many towns and cities across the country.
The Arab League, United States, European Union, and other countries condemned the use of violence against the protesters. The Arab League suspended Syria's membership because of the government's response to the crisis, but granted the Syrian National Coalition, a coalition of Syrian political opposition groups, Syria's seat on 6 March 2013.
In June 2013, the death toll surpassed 100,000 according to the United Nations. According to various opposition activist groups, between 80,350 and 106,425 people have been killed of which about half were civilians, but also including 65,100 armed combatants consisting of both the Syrian Army and rebel forces, up to 1,000 opposition protesters and 1,000 government officials. By October 2012, up to 28,000 people had been reported missing, including civilians forcibly abducted by government troops or security forces. According to the UN, about 4 million Syrians have been displaced within the country and 1.8 million have fled to other countries.
In addition, tens of thousands of protesters have been imprisoned and there are reports of widespread torture and terror in state prisons. International organizations have accused both government and opposition forces of severe human rights violations. UN investigations have concluded that the government's abuses are the greatest in gravity, frequency and scale.