Syria has been a popular topic in the news recently as reports of violence and civil war rage within the west Middle Eastern country. Although, what is really going on, and how did it all start?
According to CNN, in Jan. 2011, Tunisian revolution began the era of the “Arab Spring.” This inspired other Middle Eastern countries, as well as some North African countries, to have similar uprisings.
In March 2011, a violent outbreak occurred in Daraa, Syria, after 15 children and teenagers were arrested and detained for writing political graffiti. Dozens of people were killed by security forces when they cracked down on peaceful protestors of the arrests.
Shortly afterward, demonstrators called for Bashar al-Assad, the president of Syria, to step down from office. Al-Assad’s family has been in power of the country since the early 1970s. He claimed that to make changes by lifting a 48-year-old state-of-emergency law, which allowed the regime to detain anyone without charge and hold them indefinitely. Although, this change did not last long when just four days later the president sent a thousand troops into Darra for a “widespread” crackdown.
Since then, the violence has increased dramatically, spreading throughout the country and has creating a full scale civil war between the Syrian government and an armed resistance. Clashes have been evident in Aleppo, the country’s largest city, and in recent news the most horrific attacks have occurred in Syria’s capital, Damascus.
Earlier this month thousands died in a lethal chemical bombing in Damascus, resulting in pressure on the international community to take action. Syria, however, has denied the use of said chemical weapons, which are banned under international law due to the nature of the inhumane effects.
The United Nations has estimated that over the course of the past two years, 100,000 people have been killed, more than two million people have fled the country, and over one million of those refugees are children.
It is still unclear what action the United States will take at this time, so far only non-lethal aid and humanitarian assistance has been provided. The UN has not sent any armed troops into the country.