Syrian Civil War

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Syrian Civil War
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{{pp-sock|small=yes}}{{short description|Ongoing multi-sided armed conflict in Syria}}{{Use dmy dates|date=April 2018}}{{Syrian Civil War infobox}}The Syrian Civil War (, al-ḥarb al-ʾahlīyah as-sūrīyah) is an ongoing multi-sided civil war in Syria fought between the Ba'athist Syrian Arab Republic led by President Bashar al-Assad, along with domestic and foreign allies, and various domestic and foreign forces opposing both the Syrian government and each other in varying combinations.NEWS,weblink Syria's civil war explained from the beginning, Al Jazeera, 29 April 2017,weblink" title="">weblink 30 April 2017, no, dmy-all, The war is currently the 2nd deadliest of the 21st century.WEB,weblink 8 Deadliest Wars of the 21st Century, Encyclopedia Britannica, en, 2019-07-30, The unrest in Syria, part of a wider wave of the 2011 Arab Spring protests, grew out of discontent with the Syrian government and escalated to an armed conflict after protests calling for Assad's removal were violently suppressed.WEB,weblink Syria: The story of the conflict, 11 March 2016, BBC News, 21 June 2018,weblink 22 June 2018, no, dmy-all, WEB,weblink Syrian Troops Open Fire on Protestors in Several Cities, 25 March 2011, The New York Times, 23 May 2018,weblink 21 June 2018, no, dmy-all, The war, which began on 15 March with major unrest in Damascus and Aleppo,NEWS,weblink Mid-East unrest: Syrian protests in Damascus and Aleppo, 2011-03-15, BBC News, 2013-03-15, en-GB, dmy-all,weblink 21 July 2018, no, is being fought by several factions: the Syrian Armed Forces and its international allies, a loose alliance of mostly Sunni opposition rebel groups (including the Free Syrian Army), Salafi jihadist groups (including al-Nusra Front), the mixed Kurdish-Arab Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), with a number of countries in the region and beyond being either directly involved or providing support to one or another faction (Iran, Russia, Turkey, the United States, as well as others).Iran, Russia, and Hezbollah support the Syrian Arab Republic and the Syrian Armed Forces militarily, with Russia conducting airstrikes and other military operations since September 2015. The U.S.-led international coalition, established in 2014 with the declared purpose of countering ISIL, has conducted airstrikes primarily against ISIL as well as some against government and pro-government targets. They have also deployed special forces and artillery units to engage ISIL on the ground. Since 2015, the U.S. has supported the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria and its armed wing, the SDF, materially, financially, and logistically. Turkey is directly involved in operations against the Syrian government since August 2016, not only participating in airstrikes against ISIL alongside the U.S.-led coalition, but also actively supporting the Syrian opposition and occupying large swaths of northwestern Syria while engaging in significant ground combat with ISIL, the SDF, and the Syrian government. Between 2011 and 2017, fighting from the Syrian Civil War spilled over into Lebanon as opponents and supporters of the Syrian government traveled to Lebanon to fight and attack each other on Lebanese soil, with ISIL and Al-Nusra also engaging the Lebanese Army. Furthermore, while officially neutral, Israel has conducted airstrikes against Hezbollah and Iranian forces, whose presence in southwestern Syria it views as a threat.NEWS,weblink U.S.-Russian ceasefire deal holding in southwest Syria, 9 July 2017, Reuters, 2017-11-07,weblink 21 September 2018, no, dmy-all, International organizations have accused virtually all sides involved, including the Ba'athist Syrian government, ISIL, opposition rebel groups, Russia,WEB,weblink Russia accused of war crimes in Syria at UN security council session, The Guardian, 18 March 2019,weblink 1 April 2019, no, dmy-all, and the U.S.-led coalitionWEB,weblink US-led strikes on Raqqa may amount to war crimes, Amnesty says, Angela, Dewan, Hillary, McGann, 5 June 2018, CNN, 5 June 2018,weblink 5 June 2018, no, dmy-all, of severe human rights violations and massacres.WEB,weblink As Atrocities Mount in Syria, Justice Seems Out of Reach, Anne Barnard, Ben, Hubbard, Ian, Fisher, 15 April 2017, The New York Times, 18 May 2017,weblink 17 May 2017, no, dmy-all, The conflict has caused a major refugee crisis. Over the course of the war, a number of peace initiatives have been launched, including the March 2017 Geneva peace talks on Syria led by the United Nations, but fighting continues.JOURNAL, Lundgren, Magnus, 2016, Mediation in Syria: Initiatives, strategies, and obstacles, 2011–2016,weblink Contemporary Security Policy, 37, 283–298, 20 January 2017,weblink 2 February 2017, no, dmy-all, {{clear left}}{{Campaignbox Syrian Civil War}}{{Ba'athism sidebar| expanded= History}}


Assad government

{{See also|Al-Assad family|Bashar al-Assad}}The secular Ba'ath Syrian Regional Branch government came to power through a successful coup d'état in 1963. For several years Syria went through additional coups and changes in leadership,NEWS, Wilson, Scott,weblink Syria escalates attacks against demonstrators, The Seattle Times, 25 April 2011, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 29 April 2011, until in March 1971, Hafez al-Assad, an Alawite, declared himself President. The secular Syrian Regional Branch remained the dominant political authority in what had been a one-party state until the first multi-party election to the People's Council of Syria was held in 2012.WEB,weblink Assad says Syria 'able' to get out of crisis, Al Jazeera, 25 May 2012, 11 June 2012,weblink" title="">weblink 7 June 2012, no, dmy-all, On 31 January 1973, Hafez al-Assad implemented a new constitution, which led to a national crisis. Unlike previous constitutions, this one did not require that the president of Syria be a Muslim, leading to fierce demonstrations in Hama, Homs and Aleppo organized by the Muslim Brotherhood and the ulama. The government survived a series of armed revolts by Islamists, mainly members of the Muslim Brotherhood, from 1976 until 1982.Upon Hafez al-Assad's death in 2000, his son Bashar al-Assad was elected as President of Syria. Bashar and his wife Asma, a Sunni Muslim born and educated in Britain,NEWS, Golovnina, Maria,weblink Asma al Assad, a "desert rose" crushed by Syria's strife, Reuters, 19 March 2012, 8 August 2013,weblink" title="">weblink 23 September 2013, no, dmy-all, initially inspired hopes for democratic reforms; however, according to his critics, Bashar failed to deliver on promised reforms.NEWS, Syrian Protesters Clash With Security Forces,weblink 1 April 2011, 19 December 2013, The New York Times, Liam Stack, J. David Goodman,weblink" title="">weblink 13 May 2013, no, dmy-all, President Al-Assad maintained in 2017 that no 'moderate opposition' to his rule exists, and that all opposition forces are jihadists intent on destroying his secular leadership; his view was that terrorist groups operating in Syria are 'linked to the agendas of foreign countries'.WEB,weblink President Bashar al-Assad interview with Croatian newspaper Vecernji List,, 12 April 2017,weblink 13 April 2017, yes, dmy-all,


The total population in July 2018 was estimated at 19,454,263 people; ethnic groups – approximately Arab 50%, Alawite 15%, Kurd 10%, Levantine 10%, other 15% (includes Druze, Ismaili, Imami, Nusairi, Assyrian, Turkmen, Armenian); religions – Muslim 87% (official; includes Sunni 74% and Alawi, Ismaili, and Shia 13%), Christian 10% (mainly of Eastern Christian churchesWEB,weblink Syria, U.S. Department of State, 11 July 2016, dmy-all, – may be smaller as a result of Christians fleeing the country), Druze 3%, Jewish (few remaining in Damascus and Aleppo).WEB,weblink The World Factbook: Syria, CIA Library, 21 December 2018,weblink 21 December 2018,

Socioeconomic background

Socioeconomic inequality increased significantly after free market policies were initiated by Hafez al-Assad in his later years, and it accelerated after Bashar al-Assad came to power. With an emphasis on the service sector, these policies benefited a minority of the nation's population, mostly people who had connections with the government, and members of the Sunni merchant class of Damascus and Aleppo. In 2010, Syria's nominal GDP per capita was only $2,834, comparable to Sub-Saharan African countries such as Nigeria and far lower than its neighbors such as Lebanon, with an annual growth rate of 3.39%, below most other developing countries.CEIC Data {{Webarchive|url= |date=14 December 2017 }}.The country also faced particularly high youth unemployment rates.WEB,weblink Youth Exclusion in Syria: Social, Economic, and Institutional Dimensions, Journalist's Resource, 11 August 2012,weblink" title="">weblink 14 June 2012, no, dmy-all, At the start of the war, discontent against the government was strongest in Syria's poor areas, predominantly among conservative Sunnis.NEWS, Rebels in Syria's largest city of Aleppo mostly poor, pious and from rural backgrounds,weblink 28 January 2013, Fox News Channel, Associated Press, 16 October 2012,weblink" title="">weblink 7 December 2012, no, dmy-all, These included cities with high poverty rates, such as Daraa and Homs, and the poorer districts of large cities.


This coincided with the most intense drought ever recorded in Syria, which lasted from 2006 to 2011 and resulted in widespread crop failure, an increase in food prices and a mass migration of farming families to urban centers.Kelley, C. P., Mohtadi, S., Cane, M. A., Seager, R., & Kushnir, Y. (2015). Syria had also received in the same period around 1.5 million refugees from Iraq. By 2011, Syria was facing steep rises in the prices of commodities and a clear deterioration in the national standard of living. This migration strained infrastructure already burdened by the influx of some 1.5 million refugees from the Iraq War.NEWS,weblink Researchers Link Syrian Conflict to a Drought Made Worse by Climate Change, Fountain, Henry, 2 March 2015, The New York Times, 1 May 2017, 0362-4331,weblink 25 April 2017, no, dmy-all, The drought has been linked to anthropogenic global warming.WEB,weblink Climate change in the Fertile Crescent and implications of the recent Syrian drought, 17 March 2015, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 31 August 2018,weblink" title="">weblink 30 August 2018, no, dmy-all, WEB,weblink Syria: Climate Change, Drought and Social Unrest, 29 February 2012, The Center for Climate & Security, 1 May 2017,weblink 14 April 2017, no, dmy-all, JOURNAL, Gleick, Peter H., 2014-07-01, Water, Drought, Climate Change, and Conflict in Syria,weblink Weather, Climate, and Society, 6, 3, 331–340, 10.1175/wcas-d-13-00059.1, 14 April 2018,weblink" title="">weblink 27 August 2017, no, dmy-all, Adequate water supply continues to be an issue in the ongoing civil war and it is frequently the target of military action.NEWS,weblink Aleppo water supply cut as Syria fighting rages, 8 September 2012, BBC News, 1 May 2017,weblink" title="">weblink 30 July 2017, no, dmy-all,

Human rights

The human rights situation in Syria has long been the subject of harsh critique from global organizations."World Report 2010 Human Rights Watch World Report 2010" {{Webarchive|url= |date=18 November 2016 }}, p. 555. The rights of free expression, association and assembly were strictly controlled in Syria even before the uprising.Human Rights Watch World Report 2005 Events of 2004, Human Rights Watch 2005. {{ISBN|1-56432-331-5}}. The country was under emergency rule from 1963 until 2011 and public gatherings of more than five people were banned.NEWS, Syria's Assad vows to lift emergency law by next week,weblink 16 April 2011, 1 January 2014, Reuters,weblink" title="">weblink 2 January 2014, no, dmy-all, Security forces had sweeping powers of arrest and detention.WEB,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink 28 February 2012, yes, Amnesty International, 2009, Syria, 1 February 2012, Despite hopes for democratic change with the 2000 Damascus Spring, Bashar al-Assad was widely regarded as having failed to implement any improvements. A Human Rights Watch report issued just before the beginning of the 2011 uprising stated that he had failed to substantially improve the state of human rights since taking power.NEWS,weblink The Guardian, Ian, Black, Syrian human rights record unchanged under Assad, report says, 16 July 2010, London, 13 December 2016,weblink 13 August 2016, no, dmy-all,


Protests, civil uprising, and defections (March–July 2011){{See|Timeline of the Syrian Civil War#Protests, civil uprising, and defections (March–July 2011)}}Initial armed insurgency (July 2011 – April 2012){{See|Timeline of the Syrian Civil War#Initial armed insurgency (July 2011 – April 2012)}}Kofi Annan ceasefire attempt (April–May 2012){{See|Timeline of the Syrian Civil War#Kofi Annan ceasefire attempt (April–May 2012)}}Third phase of the war starts: escalation (2012–2013)){{See|Timeline of the Syrian Civil War#Third phase of the war starts: escalation (2012-2013)}} Rise of the Islamist groups (January–September 2014){{See|Timeline of the Syrian Civil War#Rise of the Islamist groups (January–September 2014)}}US intervention (September 2014 – September 2015){{See|Timeline of the Syrian Civil War#U.S. intervention; offensives by rebel groups (September 2014 – September 2015)}}Russian intervention (September 2015 – March 2016), including first partial ceasefire{{See|Timeline of the Syrian Civil War#Russian intervention and government offensive (30 September 2015 – February 2016)}}Aleppo recaptured; Russian/Iranian/Turkish-backed ceasefire (December 2016 – April 2017)(File:Syrian civil war 01 08 2016.png|thumb|240px|Military situation in August 2016){{See|Timeline of the Syrian Civil War#Aleppo recaptured; Russian/Iranian/Turkish-backed ceasefire (December 2016 – April 2017)}}Syrian-American conflict; de-escalation Zones (April 2017 – June 2017){{See|Timeline of the Syrian Civil War#Syrian-American conflict; de-escalation Zones (April 2017 – June 2017)}}ISIL siege of Deir ez-Zor broken; CIA program halted; Russian forces permanent (July 2017–Dec. 2017){{See|Timeline of the Syrian Civil War#ISIL siege of Deir ez-Zor broken; CIA program halted; Russian forces permanent (July 2017–Dec. 2017)}}Army advance in Hama province and Ghouta; Turkish intervention in Afrin (January–March 2018){{See|Timeline of the Syrian Civil War#Army advance in Hama province and Ghouta; Turkish intervention in Afrin (January–March 2018)}}Douma chemical attack; U.S.-led missile strikes; Southern Syria offensive (April 2018 – August 2018){{See|Timeline of the Syrian Civil War#Douma chemical attack; U.S.-led missile strikes; Southern Syria offensive (April 2018 – August 2018)}}Idlib demilitarization; Trump announces US withdrawal; Iraq strikes ISIL targets (September–December 2018){{See|Timeline of the Syrian Civil War#Idlib demilitarisation; Trump announces US withdrawal; Iraq strikes ISIL targets (September–December 2018)}}ISIL attacks continue; US states conditions of withdrawal (January 2019–present){{See|Timeline of the Syrian Civil War#ISIL attacks continue; US states conditions of withdrawal (January 2019–present)}}


There are numerous factions, both foreign and domestic, involved in the Syrian Civil War, including ISIL,NEWS,weblink ISIS reportedly massacres dozens in Syrian village, 31 March 2015, CBS News, Associated Press, 23 February 2019,weblink 1 April 2019, no, dmy-all, the Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army,WEB,weblink Syrian rebels build an army with Turkish help, face challenges, Khalil Ashawi, Reuters, 13 August 2018,weblink 13 August 2018, no, dmy-all, pro-government Christian militias,Louisa Loveluck, and Roland Oliphant, "Russia transporting militia groups fighting Islamic State to frontlines in Syria" {{Webarchive|url= |date=23 February 2019 }}, Telegraph 17 Nov 2015 al-Qaeda in Syria,NEWS,weblink Turkey and Saudi Arabia alarm the West by backing Islamist extremists the Americans had bombed in Syria, Kim Sengupta, The Independent, 12 May 2015, 15 September 2017,weblink" title="">weblink 13 May 2015, no, dmy-all, Kurdish-dominated YPG militia,WEB,weblink Trump to Arm Syrian Kurds, Even as Turkey Strongly Objects, New York Times, 9 May 2017, 23 February 2019,weblink 10 May 2017, no, dmy-all, or Shia sectarian militias from Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan, many of whom are aligned against each other. Both the Syrian government and the opposition have received support, militarily and diplomatically, from foreign countries leading the conflict to often be described as a proxy war.NEWS, Germany, SPIEGEL ONLINE, Hamburg, Battle for Aleppo: How Syria Became the New Global War,weblink Der Spiegel, 11 October 2016, Syria has become a proxy war between the US and Russia, 4 April 2017,weblink" title="">weblink 5 April 2017, no, dmy-all, NEWS, O'Connor, Tom, Iran's military leader tells U.S. to get out of Persian Gulf,weblink Newsweek, 31 March 2017, The Gulf Arab faction, especially Saudi Arabia, has been engaged in a proxy war of regional influence with Iran, 4 April 2017,weblink" title="">weblink 5 April 2017, no, dmy-all,

Foreign involvement

{{See also|Foreign involvement in the Syrian Civil War|Foreign fighters in the Syrian and Iraqi Civil Wars}}(File:SyrianCivilWarMap.png|thumb|240px|Map of countries surrounding Syria (red) with military involvement{{legend|blue|Countries that support the Syrian government}}{{legend|Green|Countries that support the Syrian rebels}}{{Legend|Yellow|Countries that are divided in their support}})The major parties supporting the Syrian Government are Iran,NEWS, Iran Spends Billions to Prop Up Assad,weblink Bloomberg, 9 June 2015, 23 February 2019,weblink" title="">weblink 26 April 2016, no, dmy-all, Russia and the Lebanese Hezbollah. Syrian rebel groups received political, logistic and military support from the United States,NEWS, Syrian rebels: US sends more arms against Iran threat,weblink al-Jazeera, 31 May 2017, 23 February 2019,weblink 24 February 2019, no, dmy-all, NEWS, Donald Trump ends covert CIA aid to Syrian rebels in 'win' for Russia,weblink The Independent, 20 July 2017, 23 February 2019,weblink 24 February 2019, no, dmy-all, Turkey,NEWS, Weiss, Michael, 22 May 2012, Syrian rebels say Turkey is arming and training them,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink 5 March 2016, The Telegraph, 30 June 2012, London, yes, dmy-all, Saudi Arabia,WEB,weblink Saudi Arabia just replenished Syrian rebels with one of the most effective weapons against the Assad regime, Business Insider, 21 October 2015,weblink" title="">weblink 22 October 2015, no, dmy-all, Qatar,NEWS,weblink Qatar bankrolls Syrian revolt with cash and arms, Roula Khalaf, Abigail Fielding Smith, yes, Financial Times, 16 May 2013, 3 June 2013,weblink" title="">weblink 7 June 2013, no, dmy-all, {{subscription required}} Britain, France,NEWS, Memmott, Mark, As Talks Continue, CIA Gets Some Weapons To Syrian Rebels,weblink 10 December 2013, NPR, 13 November 2013,weblink" title="">weblink 14 December 2013, no, dmy-all, Israel and the Netherlands.NEWS, IDF chief finally acknowledges that Israel supplied weapons to Syrian rebels,weblink The Times of Israel, 14 January 2019, 31 January 2019,weblink 1 February 2019, no, dmy-all, NEWS, Dutch govt under fire for Syria opposition support,weblink MSN, 11 September 2018, 31 January 2019,weblink 1 February 2019, yes, dmy-all, Under the aegis of operation Timber Sycamore and other clandestine activities, CIA operatives and U.S. special operations troops have trained and armed nearly 10,000 rebel fighters at a cost of $1 billion a year since 2012.NEWS, U.S. has secretly provided arms training to Syria rebels since 2012,weblink Los Angeles Times, 21 June 2013, 3 October 2015,weblink" title="">weblink 22 November 2015, no, dmy-all,


{{further|Iraqi Civil War (2014–2017)|Timeline of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant events in 2014}}In June 2014, members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) crossed the border from Syria into northern Iraq, and took control of large swaths of Iraqi territory as the Iraqi Army abandoned its positions. Fighting between rebels and government forces also spilled over into Lebanon on several occasions. There were repeated incidents of sectarian violence in the North Governorate of Lebanon between supporters and opponents of the Syrian government, as well as armed clashes between Sunnis and Alawites in Tripoli.NEWS,weblink Syrian War Plays Out Along a Street in Lebanon, The New York Times, 24 August 2012, Damien, Cave, 25 February 2017,weblink" title="">weblink 15 February 2017, no, dmy-all, Starting on 5 June 2014, ISIL seized swathes of territory in Iraq. As of 2014, the Syrian Arab Air Force used airstrikes targeted against ISIL in Raqqa and al-Hasakah in coordination with the Iraqi government.WEB,weblink Syria pounds ISIS bases in coordination with Iraq, The Daily Star Newspaper – Lebanon, 1 April 2015,weblink" title="">weblink 18 March 2015, no, dmy-all,

Advanced weaponry and tactics

{{See also|Equipment of the Syrian Army|List of military equipment used by Syrian opposition forces}}File:Destroyed neighborhood in Raqqa.png|thumb|Much of Raqqa suffered extensive damage during the battle of Raqqa in June–October 2017]]

Chemical weapons

{{See also|Syria chemical weapons program|Destruction of Syria's chemical weapons}}Sarin, mustard agent and chlorine gas have been used during the conflict. Numerous casualties led to an international reaction, especially the 2013 Ghouta attacks. A UN fact-finding mission was requested to investigate alleged chemical weapons attacks. In four cases UN inspectors confirmed the use of sarin gas.WEB, Facts About Sarin,weblink Centers for Disease Control, 7 October 2015,weblink" title="">weblink 14 April 2003, no, dmy-all, In August 2016, a confidential report by the United Nations and the OPCW explicitly blamed the Syrian military of Bashar al-Assad for dropping chemical weapons (chlorine bombs) on the towns of Talmenes in April 2014 and Sarmin in March 2015 and ISIS for using sulfur mustard on the town of Marea in August 2015.Syria Used Chlorine in Bombs Against Civilians, Report Says {{Webarchive|url= |date=22 April 2017 }}, The New York Times, Rick Gladstone, 24 August 2016. Retrieved 25 August 2016.The United States and the European Union have accused the Syrian government of conducting several chemical attacks. Following the 2013 Ghouta attacks and international pressure, the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons began. In 2015 the UN mission disclosed previously undeclared traces of sarin compounds in a "military research site".NEWS,weblink UN inspectors find undeclared sarin-linked chemicals at Syrian military site, The Telegraph, 9 May 2015, 9 May 2015, Louisa Loveluck, London,weblink" title="">weblink 18 May 2015, no, dmy-all, After the April 2017 Khan Shaykhun chemical attack, the United States launched its first attack against Syrian government forces.In June 2019, United States Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Michael Mulroy stated that the United States “will respond quickly and appropriately,” if the regime uses chemical weapons again. He added that Bashar al-Assad has done more than any other to destabilize the region by "murdering his own people" and that both Russia and the Syrian regime have shown no concern for the suffering of the Syrian people creating one of the "worst humanitarian tragedies in history".WEB, Carey, Glen, U.S. Warns Syrian Forces Against Chemical Weapons in Idlib Fight,weblink,

Cluster bombs

Syria is not parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions and does not recognize the ban on the use of cluster bombs. The Syrian Army is alleged to have begun using cluster bombs in September 2012. Steve Goose, director of the Arms Division at Human Rights Watch said "Syria is expanding its relentless use of cluster munitions, a banned weapon, and civilians are paying the price with their lives and limbs", "The initial toll is only the beginning because cluster munitions often leave unexploded bomblets that kill and maim long afterward."WEB,weblink Syria: Mounting Casualties from Cluster Munitions, Human Rights Watch, 16 March 2013, 4 December 2016,weblink 5 December 2016, no, dmy-all,

Thermobaric weapons

Russian thermobaric weapons, also known as "fuel-air bombs", have been used by the government side during the war. On 2 December 2015, The National Interest reported that Russia was deploying the TOS-1 Buratino multiple rocket launch system to Syria, which is "designed to launch massive thermobaric charges against infantry in confined spaces such as urban areas."WEB,weblink Russia's Lethal Thermobaric Rocket Launchers: A Game Changer in Syria?, The National Interest, 4 December 2015,weblink" title="">weblink 15 October 2016, no, dmy-all, One Buratino thermobaric rocket launcher "can obliterate a roughly {{convert|200|by|400|m|ft|abbr=off}} area with a single salvo".WEB,weblink Russia's Lethal Thermobaric Rocket Launchers: A Game Changer in Syria?, Dave Majumdar, 2 December 2015, The National Interest, 23 October 2016,weblink" title="">weblink 15 October 2016, no, dmy-all, Since 2012, rebels have said that the Syrian Air Force (government forces) is using thermobaric weapons against residential areas occupied by the rebel fighters, such as during the Battle of Aleppo and also in Kafr Batna.Syria rebels say Assad using 'mass-killing weapons' in Aleppo – Israel News, Ynetnews {{Webarchive|url= |date=12 July 2013 }}. (20 June 1995). A panel of United Nations human rights investigators reported that the Syrian government used thermobaric bombs against the strategic town of Qusayr in March 2013.NEWS, Cumming-Bruce, Nick, U.N. Panel Reports Increasing Brutality by Both Sides in Syria,weblink The New York Times, 4 June 2013, 25 February 2017,weblink" title="">weblink 25 February 2017, no, dmy-all, In August 2013, the BBC reported on the use of napalm-like incendiary bombs on a school in northern Syria.NEWS,weblink Syria crisis: Incendiary bomb victims 'like the walking dead', BBC News, 1 April 2015,weblink" title="">weblink 7 April 2015, no, dmy-all,

Anti-tank missiles

File:Army of Glory fighter launch a BGM-71 TOW missile.png|thumb|An Army of Glory fighter launches a BGM-71 TOW anti-tank missile at a Syrian government position during the 2017 Hama offensive2017 Hama offensiveSeveral types of anti-tank missiles are in use in Syria. Russia has sent 9M133 Kornet, third-generation anti-tank guided missiles to the Syrian Government whose forces have used them extensively against armour and other ground targets to fight Jihadists and rebels.WEB,weblink Russia Delivers Kornet Anti-Tank Guided Missiles To Syria, 23 October 2016, 20 August 2015,weblink" title="">weblink 24 August 2015, no, dmy-all, U.S.-made BGM-71 TOW missiles are one of the primary weapons of rebel groups and have been primarily provided by the United States and Saudi Arabia.WEB, Saudi Arabia just replenished Syrian rebels with one of the most effective weapons against the Assad regime – Business Insider,weblink Business Insider, 12 February 2016,weblink" title="">weblink 15 February 2016, no, dmy-all, The U.S. has also supplied many Eastern European sourced 9K111 Fagot launchers and warheads to Syrian rebel groups under its Timber Sycamore program.NEWS,weblink US arms shipment to Syrian rebels detailed, Jeremy Binnie, Neil Gibson, Jane's Defence Weekly, IHS, 8 April 2016, 3 December 2016,weblink" title="">weblink 5 December 2016, no, dmy-all,

Ballistic missiles

In June 2017, Iran attacked ISIL targets in the Deir ez-Zor area in eastern Syria with Zolfaghar ballistic missiles fired from western Iran,WEB,weblink Iran says it hit targets in Syria with Zolfaghar ballistic missiles – Jane's 360,, 19 June 2017,weblink" title="">weblink 19 June 2017, no, dmy-all, WEB,weblink Iran's Revolutionary Guard strikes Syria for Tehran attacks, CNBC, 18 June 2017, 15 September 2017,weblink" title="">weblink 22 June 2017, no, dmy-all, in the first use of mid-range missiles by Iran in 30 years.WEB,weblink Iran Fires at Militants in Syria in First Use of Mid-range Missiles in 30 Years, Gili, Cohen, Reuters, The Associated, Press, 18 June 2017, Haaretz, 18 June 2017,weblink" title="">weblink 18 June 2017, no, dmy-all, According to Jane's Defence Weekly, the missiles travelled 650–700 kilometres.

Media coverage

The Syrian Civil War is one of the most heavily documented wars in history, despite the extreme dangers that journalists face while in Syria.WEB,weblink Syria's war may be the most documented ever. And yet, we know so little., PRI, 19 December 2016, 4 March 2017,weblink 4 March 2017, no, dmy-all, WEB,weblink Five years in Syria: History's most documented war, Haaretz, 4 March 2017,weblink" title="">weblink 12 March 2017, no, dmy-all,

ISIL and al-Qaeda executions

On 19 August, American journalist James Foley was executed by ISIL, who claimed it was in retaliation for the United States operations in Iraq. Foley was kidnapped in Syria in November 2012 by Shabiha militia.WEB,weblink N.H. Family: Missing Journalist James Foley In Syrian Prison, Curt Nickisch, 3 May 2013, WBUR, 2 October 2014,weblink" title="">weblink 6 October 2014, no, dmy-all, ISIL also threatened to execute Steven Sotloff, who was kidnapped at the Syrian-Turkish border in August 2013.WEB,weblink ISIL Beheads American Photojournalist James Foley, Polly Mosendz, The Wire, 2 October 2014,weblink" title="">weblink 28 September 2014, no, dmy-all, There were reports ISIS captured a Japanese national, two Italian nationals, and a Danish national as well.WEB,weblink Islamic State militants seize four more foreign hostages in Syria, Martin Chulov, The Guardian, 2 October 2014,weblink" title="">weblink 9 October 2014, no, dmy-all, Sotloff was later executed in September 2014. At least 70 journalists have been killed covering the Syrian war, and more than 80 kidnapped, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.WEB,weblink James Foley's killers pose many threats to local, international journalists, Committee to Protect Journalists, 20 August 2014, 21 August 2014, yes,weblink 21 August 2014, On 22 August 2014, the al-Nusra Front released a video of captured Lebanese soldiers and demanded Hezbollah withdraw from Syria under threat of their execution.WEB,weblink Captured soldiers: They will kill us, if Hezbollah remains in Syria, The Daily Star Newspaper – Lebanon, 2 October 2014,weblink" title="">weblink 6 October 2014, no, dmy-all,

International reactions

{{See also|Vetoed UN resolutions on Syria}}File:Esther Brimmer Speaks at Human Rights Council Urgent Debate on Syria (3).jpg|thumb|Esther Brimmer (U.S.) speaks at a United Nations Human Rights CouncilUnited Nations Human Rights CouncilDuring the early period of the civil war, The Arab League, European Union, the United Nations,NEWS,weblink UN chief slams Syria's crackdown on protests, Al Jazeera, 18 March 2011, 2 February 2012,weblink" title="">weblink 30 January 2012, no, dmy-all, and many Western governments quickly condemned the Syrian government's violent response to the protests, and expressed support for the protesters' right to exercise free speech.WEB,weblink Minister Cannon Condemns Ongoing Violence in Yemen, Bahrain and Syria, Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada, 21 March 2011, 7 June 2015,weblink" title="">weblink 26 June 2015, no, dmy-all, Initially, many Middle Eastern governments expressed support for Assad, but as the death toll mounted, they switched to a more balanced approach by criticizing violence from both government and protesters. Both the Arab League and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation suspended Syria's membership. Russia and China vetoed Western-drafted United Nations Security Council resolutions in 2011 and 2012, which would have threatened the Syrian government with targeted sanctions if it continued military actions against protestors.NEWS,weblink China and Russia veto UN resolution condemning Syria, BBC, 5 October 2011, 21 June 2018,weblink 30 September 2018, no, dmy-all,

Sectarian threats

(File:Syria Ethno-religious composition..jpg|thumb|Map of Syria's ethno-religious composition in 1976)The successive governments of Hafez and Bashar al-Assad have been closely associated with the country's minority Alawite religious group,NEWS, Syria: Sunnis Threatening to Massacre Minority Alawites,weblink Arutz Sheva, 23 December 2011, 11 March 2011, Elad, Behari,weblink" title="">weblink 10 January 2012, no, dmy-all, an offshoot of Shia, whereas the majority of the population, and most of the opposition, is Sunni. Alawites started to be threatened and attacked by dominantly Sunni rebel fighting groups like al-Nusra Front and the FSA since December 2012 (see Sectarianism and minorities in the Syrian Civil War#Alawites).A third of 250,000 Alawite men of military age have been killed fighting in the Syrian civil war.NEWS,weblink In Syria's war, Alawites pay heavy price for loyalty to Bashar al-Assad, The Daily Telegraph, Sherlock, Ruth, 7 April 2015, London, 5 April 2018,weblink" title="">weblink 7 April 2015, no, dmy-all, In May 2013, SOHR stated that out of 94,000 killed during the war, at least 41,000 were Alawites.NEWS,weblink Syria Death Toll Likely As High As 120,000, Group Says, Reuters, 14 May 2013, 6 October 2013, Mariam, Karouny,weblink" title="">weblink 13 October 2013, no, dmy-all, Many Syrian Christians reported that they had fled after they were targeted by the anti-government rebels.NEWS,weblink Syria's Christians Flee Kidnappings, Rape, Executions, Dettmet, Jamie, 19 November 2013, The Daily Beast, 20 November 2013,weblink" title="">weblink 19 November 2013, no, dmy-all, (See: Sectarianism and minorities in the Syrian Civil War#Christians.)Al Jazeera reported that "The Druze accuse rebels of committing atrocities against their community in Syria ... Syria's Druze minority has largely remained loyal to President Bashar al-Assad since the war began in 2011."NEWS,weblink Druze attack Israeli ambulance carrying wounded Syrians, 23 June 2015, Al Jazeera, 26 June 2015,weblink" title="">weblink 28 July 2015, no, dmy-all, As militias and non-Syrian Shia—motivated by pro-Shia sentiment rather than loyalty to the Assad government—have taken over fighting the opposition from the weakened Syrian Army, fighting has taken on a more sectarian nature. One opposition leader has alleged that the Shia militias often "try to occupy and control the religious symbols in the Sunni community to achieve not just a territorial victory but a sectarian one as well"NEWS, Nelson, Lara, The Shia jihad and the death of Syria's army,weblink 11 October 2016, Middle East Eye, 18 November 2015, Without the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Lebanese Hezbollah the army could not stand up. [For example, in "the largest and most important military force for Assad in southern Syria" – Division 9,] Seventy percent of the troops ... are Iranian troops or Lebanese Hezbollah, the rest are shabiha. Only two to three percent are regular Syrian soldiers.,weblink" title="">weblink 14 November 2016, no, dmy-all, —allegedly occupying mosques and replacing Sunni icons with pictures of Shia leaders.According to the Syrian Network for Human Rights human rights abuses have been committed by the militias including "a series of sectarian massacres between March 2011 and January 2014 that left 962 civilians dead".

Crime wave

(File:Aleppo hospital.PNG|thumb|right|Doctors and medical staff treating injured rebel fighters and civilians in Aleppo)As the conflict has expanded across Syria, many cities have been engulfed in a wave of crime as fighting caused the disintegration of much of the civilian state, and many police stations stopped functioning. Rates of theft increased, with criminals looting houses and stores. Rates of kidnappings increased as well. Rebel fighters were seen stealing cars and, in one instance, destroying a restaurant in Aleppo where Syrian soldiers had been seen eating.NEWS, Cave, Damein, Crime Wave Engulfs Syria as Its Cities Reel From War,weblink 26 August 2012, The New York Times, 9 August 2012,weblink" title="">weblink 13 August 2012, no, dmy-all, By July 2012, the human rights group Women Under Siege had documented over 100 cases of rape and sexual assault during the conflict, with many of these crimes believed to have been perpetrated by the Shabiha and other pro-government militias. Victims included men, women, and children, with about 80% of the known victims being women and girls.WEB,weblink The ultimate assault: Charting Syria's use of rape to terrorize its people, Women Under Siege, 11 July 2012, 27 August 2012,weblink" title="">weblink 15 July 2012, no, dmy-all, Local National Defense Forces commanders often engaged "in war profiteering through protection rackets, looting, and organized crime". NDF members were also implicated in "waves of murders, robberies, thefts, kidnappings, and extortions throughout government-held parts of Syria since the formation of the organization in 2013", as reported by the Institute for the Study of War.WEB,weblink The Regime's Military Capabilities: Part 1, ISW, Kozak, Christopher, 26 May 2015, 31 May 2015, Local NDF commanders often engage in war profiteering through protection rackets, looting, and organized crime. NDF members have been implicated in waves of murders, robberies, thefts, kidnappings, and extortions throughout regime-held parts of Syria since the formation of the organization in 2013.,weblink" title="">weblink 27 May 2015, no, dmy-all, Criminal networks have been used by both the government and the opposition during the conflict. Facing international sanctions, the Syrian government relied on criminal organizations to smuggle goods and money in and out of the country. The economic downturn caused by the conflict and sanctions also led to lower wages for Shabiha members. In response, some Shabiha members began stealing civilian properties and engaging in kidnappings.WEB, Asher, Berman, Criminalization of the Syrian Conflict,weblink Institute for the Study of War, 27 October 2012,weblink" title="">weblink 18 October 2012, no, dmy-all, Rebel forces sometimes rely on criminal networks to obtain weapons and supplies. Black market weapon prices in Syria's neighboring countries have significantly increased since the start of the conflict. To generate funds to purchase arms, some rebel groups have turned towards extortion, theft, and kidnapping.

Cultural heritage

In January 2018 Turkish air strikes have seriously damaged an ancient Neo-Hittite temple in Syria's Kurdish-held Afrin region. It was built by the Arameans in the first millennium BC.NEWS,weblink Turkish strikes 'damage ancient temple', 29 January 2018, BBC News, 30 January 2018,weblink" title="">weblink 29 January 2018, no, dmy-all, File:Temple of Bel, Palmyra 02.jpg|thumb|The Temple of BelTemple of BelAs of March 2015, the war has affected 290 heritage sites, severely damaged 104, and completely destroyed 24. Five of the six UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Syria have been damaged.NEWS, Al Rifai, Diana, Haddad, Mohammed, What's left of Syria?,weblink 21 March 2015, Al Jazeera, 17 March 2015,weblink" title="">weblink 20 March 2015, no, dmy-all, Destruction of antiquities has been caused by shelling, army entrenchment, and looting at various tells, museums, and monuments.Cunliffe, Emma. "Damage to the Soul: Syria's cultural heritage in conflict" {{Webarchive|url= |date=10 July 2012 }}. Durham University and the Global Heritage Fund. 1 May 2012. A group called Syrian Archaeological Heritage Under Threat is monitoring and recording the destruction in an attempt to create a list of heritage sites damaged during the war and to gain global support for the protection and preservation of Syrian archaeology and architecture.Fisk, Robert. "Syria's ancient treasures pulverised" {{Webarchive|url= |date=10 March 2015 }}. The Independent. 5 August 2012.UNESCO listed all six Syria's World Heritage sites as endangered but direct assessment of damage is not possible. It is known that the Old City of Aleppo was heavily damaged during battles being fought within the district, while Palmyra and Krak des Chevaliers suffered minor damage. Illegal digging is considered a grave danger, and hundreds of Syrian antiquities, including some from Palmyra, appeared in Lebanon. Three archeological museums are known to have been looted; in Raqqa some artifacts seem to have been destroyed by foreign Islamists due to religious objections.NEWS,weblink Syrian War Takes Heavy Toll at a Crossroad of Cultures, 16 April 2014, 18 April 2014, The New York Times, Anne, Barnard,weblink" title="">weblink 17 April 2014, no, dmy-all, In 2014 and 2015, following the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, several sites in Syria were destroyed by the group as part of a deliberate destruction of cultural heritage sites. In Palmyra, the group destroyed many ancient statues, the Temples of Baalshamin and Bel, many tombs including the Tower of Elahbel, and part of the Monumental Arch.NEWS, Palmyra's Temple of Bel destroyed, says UN,weblink 3 September 2015, BBC News, 1 September 2015,weblink" title="">weblink 3 September 2015, no, dmy-all, The 13th-century Palmyra Castle was extensively damaged by retreating militants during the Palmyra offensive in March 2016.NEWS, Said, H., Raslan, Rasha, Sabbagh, Hazem, Palmyra Castle partially damaged due to ISIS acts, plans to restore it to its former glory,weblink Syrian Arab News Agency, 26 March 2016,weblink" title="">weblink 27 March 2016, ISIL also destroyed ancient statues in Raqqa,WEB, Threats to Cultural Heritage in Iraq and Syria,weblink US Department of State, 3 September 2015, 23 September 2014, dmy-all, and a number of churches, including the Armenian Genocide Memorial Church in Deir ez-Zor.NEWS, Hayrumyan, Naira, Middle East Terror: Memory of Armenian Genocide victims targeted by ISIS militants,weblink 3 September 2015, ArmeniaNow, 24 September 2014,weblink" title="">weblink 5 September 2015, no, dmy-all, The war has inspired its own particular artwork, done by Syrians. A late summer 2013 exhibition in London at the P21 Gallery showed some of this work, which had to be smuggled out of Syria.NEWS, David Batty,weblink Syrian art smuggled from the midst of civil war to show in London, The Guardian, 22 June 2013, 13 December 2016,weblink 18 November 2016, no, dmy-all,

Human toll

{{Human toll of Syrian Civil War}}


(File:Syrian refugees in lebanon.jpg|thumb|Syrian refugees in Lebanon living in cramped quarters (6 August 2012))3.8 million have been made refugees. {{As of|2013}}, 1 in 3 of Syrian refugees (about 667,000 people) sought safety in Lebanon (normally 4.8 million population)."Syrian Refugees in Lebanon {{Webarchive|url= |date=22 July 2016 }}," The New York Times, 5 September 2013 Others have fled to Jordan, Turkey, and Iraq. Turkey has accepted 1,700,000 (2015) Syrian refugees, half of whom are spread around cities and a dozen camps placed under the direct authority of the Turkish Government. Satellite images confirmed that the first Syrian camps appeared in Turkey in July 2011, shortly after the towns of Deraa, Homs, and Hama were besieged.WEB,weblink Syrian refugee camps in Turkish territory tracked by satellite,, 20 June 2013,weblink" title="">weblink 6 October 2014, no, dmy-all, In September 2014, the UN stated that the number of Syrian refugees had exceeded 3 million.NEWS,weblink Syrian refugees top 3 million, half of all Syrians displaced: U.N., Reuters, 2 October 2014, 29 August 2014,weblink" title="">weblink 6 October 2014, no, dmy-all, According to the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Sunnis are leaving for Lebanon and undermining Hezbollah's status. The Syrian refugee crisis has caused the "Jordan is Palestine" threat to be diminished due to the onslaught of new refugees in Jordan. Greek Catholic Patriarch Gregorios III Laham claims more than 450,000 Syrian Christians have been displaced by the conflict."Syrian Civil War Causes One-Third of Country's Christians to Flee Their Homes {{Webarchive|url= |date=12 September 2014 }}". The Algemeiner Journal. 18 October 2013. As of September 2016, the European Union has reported that there are 13.5 million refugees in need of assistance in the country.WEB,weblink Syrian Refugees, 13 January 2017,weblink" title="">weblink 9 November 2015, no, dmy-all,

Internally displaced

The violence in Syria caused millions to flee their homes. As of March 2015, Al-Jazeera estimate 10.9 million Syrians, or almost half the population, have been displaced.


(File:Total deaths during the syrian civil war (October 2013).png|thumb|right|Total deaths over the course of the conflict in Syria (18 March 2011 – 18 October 2013) based on data from the Syrian National CouncilWEB,weblink Syrian Martyrs شهداء سورية, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 4 April 2016, )On 2 January 2013, the United Nations stated that 60,000 had been killed since the civil war began, with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay saying "The number of casualties is much higher than we expected, and is truly shocking."NEWS,weblink U.N.'s Syria death toll jumps dramatically to 60,000-plus, 3 January 2013, CNN, 29 January 2013,weblink" title="">weblink 28 January 2013, no, dmy-all, Four months later, the UN's updated figure for the death toll had reached 80,000.NEWS,weblink Syria death toll at least 93,000, says UN, BBC News, 13 June 2013, 21 June 2018,weblink 31 August 2018, no, dmy-all, On 13 June 2013, the UN released an updated figure of people killed since fighting began, the figure being exactly 92,901, for up to the end of April 2013. Navi Pillay, UN high commissioner for human rights, stated that: "This is most likely a minimum casualty figure." The real toll was guessed to be over 100,000.WEB,weblink More than 2,000 killed in Syria since Ramadan began, Times of Oman, 25 July 2013, 27 August 2013, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 4 September 2013, NEWS, U.N. says Syria death toll has likely surpassed 100,000,weblink Los Angeles Times, 13 June 2013, Patrick J., McDonnell, 13 August 2013,weblink" title="">weblink 12 July 2013, no, dmy-all, Some areas of the country have been affected disproportionately by the war; by some estimates, as many as a third of all deaths have occurred in the city of Homs.NEWS,weblink Syria crisis: Solidarity amid suffering in Homs, BBC, 29 January 2013, 29 January 2013,weblink" title="">weblink 29 January 2013, no, dmy-all, One problem has been determining the number of "armed combatants" who have died, due to some sources counting rebel fighters who were not government defectors as civilians.WEB, Enders, David,weblink Deaths in Syria down from peak; army casualties outpacing rebels', 6 November 2012, 14 November 2012,weblink" title="">weblink 13 November 2012, yes, dmy-all, At least half of those confirmed killed have been estimated to be combatants from both sides, including 52,290 government fighters and 29,080 rebels, with an additional 50,000 unconfirmed combatant deaths. In addition, UNICEF reported that over 500 children had been killed by early February 2012,NEWS,weblink 400 children killed in Syria unrest, Arab News, 8 February 2012, 28 January 2013, Geneva,weblink" title="">weblink 30 October 2012, no, dmy-all, and another 400 children have been reportedly arrested and tortured in Syrian prisons;WEB, Peralta, Eyder,weblink Rights Group Says Syrian Security Forces Detained, Tortured Children: The Two-Way, NPR, 3 February 2012, 5 April 2018,weblink" title="">weblink 27 April 2015, no, dmy-all, both of these claims have been contested by the Syrian government. Additionally, over 600 detainees and political prisoners are known to have died under torture.NEWS,weblink The New York Times, Kareem, Fahim, Hundreds Tortured in Syria, Human Rights Group Says, 5 January 2012, 12 March 2013,weblink" title="">weblink 13 May 2013, no, dmy-all, In mid-October 2012, the opposition activist group SOHR reported the number of children killed in the conflict had risen to 2,300,WEB,weblink Fighting Continues in Syria, Arutz Sheva, 16 October 2012, 25 October 2012,weblink" title="">weblink 18 October 2012, no, dmy-all, and in March 2013, opposition sources stated that over 5,000 children had been killed.WEB,weblink Statistics for the number of martyrs, 3 June 2013, Violations Documenting Center, 26 August 2014,weblink" title="">weblink 3 March 2013, no, dmy-all, In January 2014, a report was released detailing the systematic killing of more than 11,000 detainees of the Syrian government.WEB, Ian Black, Middle East editor,weblink Syrian regime document trove shows evidence of 'industrial scale' killing of detainees, The Guardian, 21 May 2014,weblink" title="">weblink 3 February 2014, no, dmy-all, (File:Wounded civilians arrive at hospital Aleppo.jpg|thumb|Wounded civilians arrive at a hospital in Aleppo, October 2012)On 20 August 2014, a new U.N. study concluded that at least 191,369 people have died in the Syrian conflict.NEWS,weblink More than 191,000 dead in Syria conflict, U.N. finds, Laura Smith-Spark, CNN, 22 August 2014, CNN, 1 April 2015,weblink" title="">weblink 11 April 2015, no, dmy-all, The UN thereafter stopped collecting statistics, but a study by the Syrian Centre for Policy Research released in February 2016 estimated the death toll to be 470,000, with 1.9m wounded (reaching a total of 11.5% of the entire population either wounded or killed).NEWS, Report on Syria conflict finds 11.5% of population killed or injured,weblink The Guardian, 11 February 2016, 11 February 2016, Ian, Black,weblink" title="">weblink 11 February 2016, no, dmy-all, A report by the SNHR in 2018 mentioned 82000 victims that had been forcibly disappeared by the syrian regime, added to 14.000 confirmed deaths due to torture.WEB, By Acknowledging the Death of 836 Forcibly-Disappeared Syrians at its hands, the Syrian Regime Convicts itself, yet the Security Council Does Nothing,weblink, Approximately 82,000 Forcibly Disappeared and 14,000 Died due to Torture at the hands of the Syrian Regime,

Human rights violations

File:Ghouta massacre1.JPG|thumb|Victims of the Ghouta chemical attackGhouta chemical attackAccording to various human rights organizations and United Nations, human rights violations have been committed by both the government and the rebels, with the "vast majority of the abuses having been committed by the Syrian government".WEB,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink yes, 16 August 2013, UN must refer Syria war crimes to ICC: Amnesty, GlobalPost, 20 March 2014, According to three international lawyers,Sir Desmond de Silva QC, former chief prosecutor of the special court for Sierra Leone, Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, the former lead prosecutor of former Yugoslavian president Slobodan Milošević, and Professor David Crane, who indicted President Charles Taylor of Liberia at the Sierra Leone court Syrian government officials could face war crimes charges in the light of a huge cache of evidence smuggled out of the country showing the "systematic killing" of about 11,000 detainees. Most of the victims were young men and many corpses were emaciated, bloodstained and bore signs of torture. Some had no eyes; others showed signs of strangulation or electrocution.WEB,weblink, 2 October 2014, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 6 October 2014, Experts said this evidence was more detailed and on a far larger scale than anything else that had emerged from the then 34-month crisis.NEWS,weblink EXCLUSIVE: Gruesome Syria photos may prove torture by Assad regime, 21 January 2014, CNN, 21 January 2014,weblink" title="">weblink 22 January 2014, no, dmy-all, UN reported also that "siege warfare is employed in a context of egregious human rights and international humanitarian law violations. The warring parties do not fear being held accountable for their acts." Armed forces of both sides of the conflict blocked access of humanitarian convoys, confiscated food, cut off water supplies and targeted farmers working their fields. The report pointed to four places besieged by the government forces: Muadamiyah, Daraya, Yarmouk camp and Old City of Homs, as well as two areas under siege of rebel groups: Aleppo and Hama.WEB,weblink Report of the independent international commission of inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, 12 February 2014, 7 March 2014,weblink" title="">weblink 21 May 2014, no, dmy-all, WEB,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink 13 July 2015, yes, UN decries use of sieges, starvation in Syrian military strategy | The New Age Online, The New Age, South Africa, 5 March 2014, 20 March 2014, In Yarmouk Camp 20,000 residents are facing death by starvation due to blockade by the Syrian government forces and fighting between the army and Jabhat al-Nusra, which prevents food distribution by UNRWA.NEWS,weblink Yarmouk update: Nusra's apparent return complicates UNRWA's hopes for food program, 3 March 2014, 6 March 2014,weblink" title="">weblink 6 March 2014, no, dmy-all, In July 2015, the UN quietly removed Yarmouk from its list of besieged areas in Syria, despite not having been able deliver aid there for four months, and declined to explain why it had done so.NEWS, Dyke, Joe, 24 July 2015, Yarmouk camp no longer besieged, UN rules,weblink IRIN, 28 July 2015,weblink" title="">weblink 27 July 2015, no, dmy-all, ISIS forces have been accused by the UN of using public executions, amputations, and lashings in a campaign to instill fear. "Forces of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham have committed torture, murder, acts tantamount to enforced disappearance and forced displacement as part of attacks on the civilian population in Aleppo and Raqqa governorates, amounting to crimes against humanity", said the report from 27 August 2014.WEB,weblink Syria and Isis committing war crimes, says UN, 27 August 2014, The Guardian, 29 August 2014,weblink" title="">weblink 28 August 2014, no, dmy-all, Enforced disappearances and arbitrary detentions have also been a feature since the Syrian uprising began.NEWS,weblink syrias disappeared, 11 November 2014, 11 November 2014, BBC News,weblink" title="">weblink 11 November 2014, no, dmy-all, An Amnesty International report, published in November 2015, accused the Syrian government of forcibly disappearing more than 65,000 people since the beginning of the Syrian Civil War.NEWS,weblink Amnesty accuses Syrian regime of 'disappearing' tens of thousands, The Daily Telegraph, Loveluck, Louisa, 5 November 2015, 30 June 2016,weblink" title="">weblink 27 April 2016, no, dmy-all, According to a report in May 2016 by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, at least 60,000 people have been killed since March 2011 through torture or from poor humanitarian conditions in Syrian government prisons.Monitor: 60,000 dead in Syria government jails {{Webarchive|url= |date=22 May 2016 }} Al JazeeraIn February 2017, Amnesty International published a report which accused the Syrian government of murdering an estimated 13,000 persons, mostly civilians, at the Saydnaya military prison. They said the killings began in 2011 and were still ongoing. Amnesty International described this as a "policy of deliberate extermination" and also stated that "These practices, which amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity, are authorised at the highest levels of the Syrian government."WEB,weblink Syria: 13,000 secretly hanged in Saydnaya military prison – shocking new report, Amnesty International, 21 February 2017,weblink 22 February 2017, no, dmy-all, Three months later, the United States State Department stated a crematorium had been identified near the prison. According to the U.S., it was being used to burn thousands of bodies of those killed by the government's forces and to cover up evidence of atrocities and war crimes.WEB,weblink US accuses Syria of killing thousands of prisoners and burning the dead bodies in large crematorium outside Damascus., The Washington Post, 15 May 2017,weblink 19 December 2018, no, dmy-all, NEWS,weblink Syria Prison Crematory Is Hiding Mass Executions, U.S. Says, Harris, Gardiner, 15 May 2017, The New York Times, 15 May 2017, 0362-4331,weblink 15 May 2017, no, dmy-all, Amnesty International expressed surprise at the claims about the crematorium, as the photographs used by the US are from 2013 and they did not see them as conclusive, and fugitive government officials have stated that the government buries those its executes in cemeteries on military grounds in Damascus.WEB,weblink Syrian Crematory Is Hiding Mass Killings of Prisoners, U.S. Says, Gardiner Harris, Anne, Barnard, Rick, Gladstone, 15 May 2017, The New York Times, 17 May 2017,weblink 15 May 2017, no, dmy-all, The Syrian government denied the allegations.


The World Health Organization has reported that 35% of the country's hospitals are out of service. Fighting makes it impossible to undertake the normal vaccination programs. The displaced refugees may also pose a disease risk to countries to which they have fled.NEWS,weblink WHO warns of Syria disease threat, BBC, 4 June 2013, 21 June 2018,weblink 30 September 2018, no, dmy-all, 400,000 civilians were isolated by the Siege of Eastern Ghouta from April 2013 to April 2018, resulting in acutely malnourished children according to the United Nations Special Advisor, Jan Egeland, who urged the parties for medical evacuations. 55,000 civilians are also isolated in the Rukban refugee camp between Syria and Jordan, where humanitarian relief access is difficult due to the harsh desert conditions. Humanitarian aid reaches the camp only sporadically, sometimes taking three months between shipments.United Nations. (9 November 2017). "Syrian conflict has now lasted longer than World War II – UN humanitarian envoy". UN News Centre website {{Webarchive|url= |date=11 December 2017 }}. Retrieved 10 December 2017.WEB,weblink Rukban camp in Syria receives first aid in three months, 17 March 2019,weblink 21 March 2019, no, dmy-all, Formerly rare infectious diseases have spread in rebel-held areas brought on by poor sanitation and deteriorating living conditions. The diseases have primarily affected children. These include measles, typhoid, hepatitis, dysentery, tuberculosis, diphtheria, whooping cough and the disfiguring skin disease leishmaniasis. Of particular concern is the contagious and crippling Poliomyelitis. As of late 2013 doctors and international public health agencies have reported more than 90 cases. Critics of the government complain that, even before the uprising, it contributed to the spread of disease by purposefully restricting access to vaccination, sanitation and access to hygienic water in "areas considered politically unsympathetic".JOURNAL, Sparrow, Annie, Syria's Polio Epidemic: The Suppressed Truth, New York Review, 20 February 2014,weblink 23 January 2014, Even before the uprising, in areas considered politically unsympathetic like Deir Ezzor, the government stopped maintaining sanitation and safe-water services, and began withholding routine immunizations for preventable childhood diseases. Once the war began, the government started ruthless attacks on civilians in opposition-held areas, forcing millions to seek refuge in filthy, crowded, and cold conditions.,weblink" title="">weblink 25 January 2014, no, dmy-all,

Humanitarian aid

(File:U.S. Airmen with the 386th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron load pallets of humanitarian relief supplies onto a C-17 Globemaster III aircraft at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia June 4, 2013 130604-F-KL201-115.jpg|thumb|US aid to Syrian opposition forces, May 2013)The conflict holds the record for the largest sum ever requested by UN agencies for a single humanitarian emergency, $6.5 billon worth of requests of December 2013.WEB, UN launches biggest humanitarian appeal, fearing deepening of Syrian crisis,weblink ReliefWeb, 16 December 2013, 28 July 2015,weblink" title="">weblink 1 February 2016, no, dmy-all, The international humanitarian response to the conflict in Syria is coordinated by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) in accordance with General Assembly Resolution 46/182.United Nations General Assembly Resolution 182 session 46 Strengthening of the coordination of humanitarian emergency assistance of the United Nations on 19 December 1991 The primary framework for this coordination is the Syria Humanitarian Assistance Response Plan (SHARP) which appealed for US$1.41 billion to meet the humanitarian needs of Syrians affected by the conflict.United Nations, Syria Humanitarian Assistance Response Plan (SHARP) {{Webarchive|url= |date=16 September 2013 }}. Retrieved 18 September 2013. Official United Nations data on the humanitarian situation and response is available at an official website managed by UNOCHA Syria (Amman).WEB,weblink Syrian Arab Republic, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), 18 September 2013,weblink" title="">weblink 9 November 2013, no, dmy-all, UNICEF is also working alongside these organizations to provide vaccinations and care packages to those in need. Financial information on the response to the SHARP and assistance to refugees and for cross-border operations can be found on UNOCHA's Financial Tracking Service. As of 19 September 2015, the top ten donors to Syria were United States, European Commission, United Kingdom, Kuwait, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Japan, UAE, and Norway.WEB, UNOCHA, Financial Tracking Service,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink yes, 21 January 2013, Syrian Arab Republic – Civil Unrest 2013, 19 September 2015, The difficulty of delivering humanitarian aid to people is indicated by the statistics for January 2015: of the estimated 212,000 people during that month who were besieged by government or opposition forces, 304 were reached with food.WEB, Syria crisis 'worsening' amid humanitarian funding shortfall, warns top UN relief official,weblink UN News Centre, 26 March 2015, 28 July 2015,weblink" title="">weblink 24 July 2015, no, dmy-all, USAID and other government agencies in US delivered nearly $385 million of aid items to Syria in 2012 and 2013. The United States has provided food aid, medical supplies, emergency and basic health care, shelter materials, clean water, hygiene education and supplies, and other relief supplies.WEB,weblink USAID/SYRIA, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 2 May 2013, Islamic Relief has stocked 30 hospitals and sent hundreds of thousands of medical and food parcels.WEB,weblink SYRIAN HUMANITARIAN RELIEF, 29 April 2013,weblink" title="">weblink 24 April 2013, no, dmy-all, Other countries in the region have also contributed various levels of aid. Iran has been exporting between 500 and 800 tonnes of flour daily to Syria.NEWS,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink yes, 6 March 2013, Iran sending tonnes of flour daily to Syria: report, Agence France-Presse, 3 March 2013, Israel supplied aid through Operation Good Neighbor, providing medical treatment to 750 Syrians in a field hospital located in Golan Heights where rebels say that 250 of their fighters were treated.NEWS,weblink Revealed: how Syrian rebels seek medical help from an unlikely source in Israel, 12 January 2014, 17 January 2014,weblink" title="">weblink 19 February 2014, yes, dmy-all, Israel established two medical centers inside Syria. Israel also delivered heating fuel, diesel fuel, seven electric generators, water pipes, educational materials, flour for bakeries, baby food, diapers, shoes and clothing. Syrian refugees in Lebanon make up one quarter of Lebanon's population, mostly consisting of women and children.WEB,weblink Humanitarian aid convoy departs to help Syrian refugees, 27 April 2013, 29 April 2013,weblink" title="">weblink 13 May 2013, no, dmy-all, In addition, Russia has said it created six humanitarian aid centers within Syria to support 3000 refugees in 2016.NEWS,weblink Scores of families leave besieged Aleppo under Russia-Damascus plan, 30 July 2016, Reuters, 4 August 2016,weblink" title="">weblink 3 August 2016, no, dmy-all,

Return of refugees

Another aspect of the post war years will be how to repatriate the millions of refugees. The Syrian government has put forward a law commonly known as "law 10", which could strip refugees of property, such as damaged real estate. There are also fears among some refugees that if they return to claim this property they will face negative consequences, such as forced conscription or prison. The Syrian government has been criticized for using this law to reward those who have supported the government. However, the government denies this and has expressed that it wants the return of refugees from Lebanon.WEB,weblink 10m Syrians at risk of forfeiting homes under new property law, Martin, Chulov, 26 April 2018, The Guardian, 2 July 2018,weblink 25 June 2018, no, dmy-all, WEB,weblink Syria wants its citizens in Lebanon to return, help rebuild, 4 June 2018, 2 July 2018,weblink" title="">weblink 24 June 2018, no, dmy-all, In December 2018, it was also reported that the Syrian government has started to seize property under an anti-terrorism law, which is affecting government opponents negatively, with many losing their property. Some people's pensions have also been cancelled.WEB,weblink Syrian state seizes opponents' property, rights activists say, 12 December 2018, 20 December 2018,,weblink 20 December 2018, no, dmy-all,

Peace Process & De-escalation zones

(File:Secretary Kerry Sits With Fellow Foreign Ministers Before Group Discussion in Austria About Syria (22573995626).jpg|thumb|Syria peace talks in Vienna, 30 October 2015)During the course of the war, there have been several international peace initiatives, undertaken by the Arab League, the United Nations, and other actors.JOURNAL, Lundgren, Magnus, 2016, Mediation in Syria: initiatives, strategies, and obstacles, 2011–2016,weblink Contemporary Security Policy, 37, 273–288, 20 January 2017,weblink 2 February 2017, no, dmy-all, The Syrian government has refused efforts to negotiate with what it describes as armed terrorist groups.NEWS,weblink Syria's Assad says he will not negotiate with armed groups, Reuters, 2 July 2017,weblink" title="">weblink 21 April 2017, no, dmy-all, NEWS,weblink Assad's priority to defeat 'terrorism' before elections: Russian lawmaker, Reuters, 2 July 2017,weblink" title="">weblink 24 February 2017, no, dmy-all, On 1 February 2016, the UN announced the formal start of the UN-mediated Geneva Syria peace talksNEWS,weblink U.N. announces start of Syria peace talks as government troops advance, Reuters, 2 February 2016, 1 February 2016,weblink" title="">weblink 1 February 2016, no, dmy-all, that had been agreed on by the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) in Vienna. On 3 February 2016, the UN Syria peace mediator suspended the talks.WEB,weblink Envoy suspended Syria talks over Russian escalation: U.N. official, Reuters, 4 February 2016, 3 February 2016,weblink" title="">weblink 5 February 2016, no, dmy-all, On 14 March 2016, Geneva peace talks resumed. The Syrian government insisted that discussion of Bashar-al-Assad's presidency "is a red line", however Syria's President Bashar al-Assad said he hoped peace talks in Geneva would lead to concrete results, and stressed the need for a political process in Syria.NEWS, Reuters, 14 March 2016,weblink Syria's Assad says hopes Geneva talks lead to concrete results: Kremlin, 2 July 2017,weblink" title="">weblink 15 February 2017, no, dmy-all, WEB,weblink Syria talks to tackle Bashar al-Assad's presidency, Al Jazeera, 15 March 2016,weblink" title="">weblink 15 March 2016, no, dmy-all, A new round of talks between the Syrian government and some groups of Syrian rebels concluded on 24 January 24, 2017 in Astana, Kazakhstan, with Russia, Iran and Turkey supporting the ceasefire agreement brokered in late December 2016.NEWS, Russian negotiator positive after 'birth' of Astana Syria,weblink Reuters, 2 July 2017,weblink" title="">weblink 15 February 2017, no, dmy-all, The Astana Process talks was billed by a Russian official as a complement to, rather than replacement, of the United Nations-led Geneva Process talks. On 4 May 2017, at the fourth round of the Astana talks, representatives of Russia, Iran, and Turkey signed a memorandum whereby four "de-escalation zones" in Syria would be established, effective of 6 May 2017.РФ, Турция и Иран подписали меморандум о создании в Сирии зон деэскалации {{Webarchive|url= |date=23 June 2017 }} Interfax, 4 May 2017.NEWS, Russia, Turkey and Iran continue cooperation on de-escalation zones in Syria,weblink TASS, 23 June 2017, 23 June 2017,weblink" title="">weblink 25 June 2017, no, dmy-all,

Destruction & Reconstruction

United Nations authorities have estimated that the war in Syria has caused destruction reaching to about $400 billion.WEB,weblink Sanctions On Damascus And Tehran Have Led To Serious Fuel Shortages In Syria, 14 April 2019,weblink 14 April 2019, no, dmy-all, While the war still ongoing, Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad claimed that Syria will be able to rebuild the war-torn country on its own. {{As of |July 2018}}, the reconstruction is estimated to cost a minimum of US$400 billion. Assad claims to be able to loan this money from friendly countries, Syrian diaspora and the state treasury.WEB,weblink Syrians will reconstruct country after war themselves, Assad says, 2 July 2018,weblink" title="">weblink 27 June 2018, no, dmy-all, Iran has expressed interest in helping rebuild Syria.WEB,weblink Iran will remain on Syria side in post-war reconstruction: VP, John, Pike,, 2 July 2018,weblink 25 June 2018, no, dmy-all, International donors have been suggested as one financier of the reconstruction.WEB,weblink Reconstructing Syria: The need to break the mould, Yezid, Sayigh, Al Jazeera, 2 July 2018,weblink 25 June 2018, no, dmy-all, {{As of |November 2018}}, reports emerged that rebuilding efforts had already started. It was reported that the biggest issue facing the rebuilding process is the lack of building material and a need to make sure the resources that do exist are managed efficiently. The rebuilding effort have so far remained at a limited capacity and has often been focused on certain areas of a city, thus ignoring other areas inhabited by disadvantaged people.WEB,weblink "Upon land soaked with the blood": on the architects planning the reconstruction of Syria – CityMetric,, 20 December 2018,weblink 15 December 2018, no, dmy-all,




Video games

  • (Endgame: Syria) (2012)
  • 1000 Days of Syria (2014)
  • Syrian Warfare (2017)
  • Holy Defence (2018)NEWS,weblink New Video Game Lets You Kill ISIS While Fighting as Hezbollah in Syria and Lebanon, Newsweek, 23 February 2018, 27 February 2018,weblink" title="">weblink 27 February 2018, no, dmy-all,

See also

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Further reading

  • JOURNAL, Hinnebusch, Raymond, 2012, Syria: From 'Authoritarian Upgrading' to Revolution?, International Affairs (journal), International Affairs, 88, 1, 95–113, 10.1111/j.1468-2346.2012.01059.x,
  • JOURNAL, International Crisis Group, Popular Protest in North Africa and the Middle East (VII): The Syrian Regimes Slow-Motion Suicide, Middle East/North Africa Report N°109, PDF, 13 July 2011,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink yes, 25 July 2011, 22 July 2011,
  • JOURNAL, The Syrian Uprising of 2011: Why the Asad Regime Is Likely to Survive to 2013, Joshua, Landis, 10.1111/j.1475-4967.2012.00524.x, Middle East Policy, 19, 1, 72–84, 2012,
  • BOOK, Lawson, Fred Haley, 1 February 2010, Demystifying Syria,weblink Saqi, 978-0-86356-654-7,
  • Rashdan, Abdelrahman. Syrians Crushed in a Complex International Game. 21 March 2012. Retrieved 28 May 2012.
  • BOOK, Van Dam, Nikolaos,weblink The Struggle for Power in Syria: Politics and Society under Asad and the Ba'ath Party, I. B. Tauris, 15 July 2011, 1-84885-760-8,
  • BOOK, van Dam, Nikolaos, Nikolaos van Dam, 2017, Destroying a Nation: The Civil War in Syria, I.B. Tauris, 978-1-78672-248-5,weblink
  • BOOK, Malek, Alia, Alia Malek, 2017, The Home That Was Our Country: A Memoir of Syria, PublicAffairs, 978-1-56858-532-1,weblink
  • BOOK, Pearlman, Wendy, 2017, We Crossed a Bridge and It Trembled: Voices from Syria, HarperCollins, 978-0-06-265445-8,weblink
  • BOOK, Wright, Robin, Dreams and Shadows: The Future of the Middle East, New York, Penguin Press, 2008, 1-59420-111-0, 212–261,
  • BOOK, Ziadeh, Radwan, Power and Policy in Syria: Intelligence Services, Foreign Relations and Democracy in the Modern Middle East, 2011, London, I. B. Tauris, 978-1-84885-434-5,
  • Cordesman, Anthony "Failed State Wars" in Syria and Iraq (III): Stability and Conflict in Syria Center for Strategic and International Studies. 2 March 2016. Retrieved 20 March 2016.
  • {{Citation|author=Maher Baker|first=|title=السوريون بكلمات|volume=|pages=|publication-date=2019|publisher=Smashwords|isbn=9780463442647|ol=27249735M}}

External links

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