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Hezbollah  Iran   Russia
Russia
(from 2015)

Support:

 Iraq[1]

Syrian Opposition

Free Syrian Army[a]

 Turkey[b] (from 2016)

Allied armed groups

Support:

United States[c] (2011–17)[2]  Saudi Arabia  Qatar

Ahrar al-Sham[e]

Islamic Front / SIF (2012–15)

Jaysh al-Islam

Support:

 Turkey  Saudi Arabia  Qatar

Tahrir al-Sham[d][e]

Al-Nusra Front
Al-Nusra Front
(2012–17)

Al-Qaeda

Guardians of Religion Organization

 Islamic State of Iraq
Iraq
and the Levant[d] (from 2013)

Support:

Al-Qaeda (2013–14)

Democratic Federation of Northern Syria
Democratic Federation of Northern Syria
(SDF) (from 2012)

YPG/YPJ Other armed groups

Support:

United States (from 2014)[3][4]   Russia
Russia
(2015–18)  France (from 2016)[5][6] PKK PUK (from 2013)[7][8][9] KDP
KDP
(2013–15) [7][10]

CJTF–OIR (from 2014)

Participants

 Australia  France[11]  Germany  Jordan  Netherlands  Norway[12]  United Kingdom United States[c]

Former participants:

Until 2015 Canada[13] Until 2016  Bahrain  Denmark  Morocco  Qatar  Saudi Arabia  UAE Until 2017  Belgium

Commanders and leaders

Bashar al-Assad

(President of Syria) Ali Abdullah Ayyoub

(Minister of Defense) Issam Hallaq (Chief of Staff of the Air Force) Suheil al-Hassan (Commander of Tiger Forces) Ali Mamlouk (Director of the National Security Bureau) Rafiq Shahadah (Head of the Military Intelligence Directorate)

Ali Khamenei
Ali Khamenei
(Supreme Leader of Iran) Qasem Soleimani
Qasem Soleimani
(Commander of Quds Force)

Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin
(President of Russia)

Killed in action:

Issam Zahreddine
Issam Zahreddine
(Major General of the Republican Guard) Assef Shawkat
Assef Shawkat
(Deputy Minister of Defense)[15] Dawoud Rajiha
Dawoud Rajiha
(Minister of Defense)[16] Rustum Ghazaleh (Head of Syrian National Intelligence)[17] Hilal al-Assad[18]

Hossein Hamadani
Hossein Hamadani
( IRGC
IRGC
Major General)[19] Hassan Shateri
Hassan Shateri
(Senior Commander of IRGC)[20]

Samir Kuntar
Samir Kuntar
(Senior Commander of Hezbollah)[21] Mustafa Badreddine (Military Leader of Hezbollah)[22] Mohamad Issa ( Hezbollah
Hezbollah
Chief of Operations in Syria)[23] Jihad Mughniyah
Jihad Mughniyah
( Hezbollah
Hezbollah
Head of Security)[24]

Ali Reza Tavassoli (Leader of Liwa Fatemiyoun)[25]

Lt. Gen Valery Asapov[26]

Bashar al-Zoubi (Commander of the Southern Front) Jamal Maarouf
Jamal Maarouf
(SRF commander 2012–14)

Lt. Gen. Zekai Aksakallı
Zekai Aksakallı
(Operations chief commander 2016–2017)[27] Lt. Gen. İsmail Metin Temel (Operations chief commander 2017–2018)[28]

Killed in action:

Abdul Qader Saleh
Abdul Qader Saleh
(Founder of al-Tawhid Brigade)[29]

Abu Yahia al-Hamawi (Leader of Ahrar al-Sham)

Ahmed Issa al-Sheikh (Leader of the Islamic Front; 2012–15)[30]

Killed in action:

Hassan Aboud (Leader of Ahrar al-Sham)[31] Abu Khalid al-Suri (senior al-Qaeda Commander, founding member of Ahrar al-Sham)[32]

Zahran Alloush
Zahran Alloush
(Islamic Front Military Chief) [30][33]

Abu Mohammad al-Julani
Abu Mohammad al-Julani
( Tahrir al-Sham
Tahrir al-Sham
commander)[34] Abu Jaber Shaykh ( Tahrir al-Sham
Tahrir al-Sham
Shura council head)

Abu Humam al-Shami
Abu Humam al-Shami
( Guardians of Religion Organization
Guardians of Religion Organization
commander, former al-Nusra Front military chief)[35]

Killed in action:

Abu Firas al-Suri
Abu Firas al-Suri
(Spokesperson of al-Nusra Front)[36][37] Abu Hajer al-Homsi (al-Nusra Front military chief)[38]

Muhsin al-Fadhli
Muhsin al-Fadhli
(Leader of Khorasan)[39]

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
(Leader of ISIL)[40] Abu Fatima al-Jaheishi
Abu Fatima al-Jaheishi
(Deputy Leader) Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi (2016–present) (Leader of the Khalid ibn al-Walid Army)

Killed in action:

Haji Bakr (Former Deputy leader of ISIL
ISIL
and Head of Military Council)[41] Abu Ayman al-Iraqi
Abu Ayman al-Iraqi
(Former Head of Military Council)[42] Abu Ali al-Anbari
Abu Ali al-Anbari
(Deputy, Syria)[43] Abu Omar al-Shishani ( War
War
Minister)[44] Abu Umar al-Tunisi (Senior Leader)[45] Abu Sayyaf
Abu Sayyaf
(Oil Minister)[46] Abu Muslim al-Turkmani
Abu Muslim al-Turkmani
(Deputy Leader)[47] Abu Abdulrahman al-Bilawi (Head of Military Council)[48] Gulmurod Khalimov (Minister of War) [49]

Muhammad al-Baridi (Founder of Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade)[50]

Riad Darar
Riad Darar
(Co-chairperson of the MSD) Îlham Ehmed (Co-chairperson of the MSD) Salih Muhammad (Co-President of the PYD) Asya Abdullah
Asya Abdullah
(Co-President of the PYD)

Sipan Hemo (Commander of the YPG)

Stephen J. Townsend
Stephen J. Townsend
(Commander of CJTF-OIR)[51]

Strength

Syrian Armed Forces: 180,000[52] General Security Directorate: 8,000[53] National Defense Force: 80,000[54] Ba'ath Brigades: 7,000 Hezbollah: 6,000–8,000[55] Liwa Al-Quds: 4,000-8,000 Russia: 4,000 troops[56] and 1,000 contractors[57] Iran: 3,000–5,000[55][58] Other allied groups: 20,000+

FSA: 40,000–50,000[59] (2013) Islamic Front: 40,000–70,000[60] (2014) Other groups: 12,500[61] (2015) Turkish Armed Forces: 4,000 - 8,000[62][63]

Ahrar al-Sham: 18,000–20,000+[64][65] (March 2017)

Tahrir al-Sham: 31,000[66] 15,000–20,000 (U.S. claim, late 2016)[67] 1,000 (U.S. claim, late 2017)[68]

SDF: 50,000+[69][70]

YPG and YPJ: 57,000–60,000[71][72] (most, not all, part of the SDF) Syriac Military Council
Syriac Military Council
(MFS): 2,000[73] Al-Sanadid Forces: 4,500+[74] SDF Military Councils: 10,000+[75][76][77]

Casualties and losses

Syrian Government: 63,820–98,820 soldiers killed[78][79] 48,814–62,814 militiamen killed[78][79] 4,700 soldiers and militiamen and 2,000 supporters captured[78] Hezbollah: 1,630–1,800 killed[78][80] Russia: 85 soldiers[81][82] and 208+ contractors killed Other non-Syrian fighters: 7,686 killed[78] ( 541 Iranians)[83]

125,399–166,399 fighters killed[f][78][79] 979 protesters killed[84]

Turkey: 151 soldiers killed (2016–18 ground incursions)[85][86] 24,232+ killed (per SOHR)[87] 20,711+ killed (per YPG and SAA)[88][89]

DFNS: 3,834 killed[90][91][92]

CJTF–OIR: 5 killed[93][94][95][96]

106,390[78]–110,218[97] (3,284 foreign; mostly Palestinian) civilian deaths documented by opposition 100 other foreign soldiers killed ( 60, 17 (pre-'16), 16, 7)

Total killed: 353,593–498,593 (March 2018 SOHR estimate)[78] 470,000 (February 2016 SCPR estimate)[98]

Over 7,600,000 internally displaced (July 2015 UNHCR
UNHCR
estimate) Over 5,116,097 refugees (July 2017 registered by UNHCR)[99]

a The FSA was a centralized organization from 2011 until early 2013. Since then, the use of their name by armed groups has been arbitrary. b Turkey
Turkey
has provided arms support to the Syrian opposition
Syrian opposition
since 2011. From August 2016 to March 2017, Turkey
Turkey
fought alongside a rebel contingent in Aleppo governorate
Aleppo governorate
against the SDF and ISIL
ISIL
but not against the Syrian government. From January 2018, Turkey
Turkey
has fought against the SDF and the Syrian government in Afrin. c From Sep. to Nov. 2016, the U.S. fought alongside a rebel contingent in Aleppo governorate
Aleppo governorate
solely against ISIL, but not against the Syrian government or the SDF.[100][101] In 2017, the U.S. intentionally attacked the Syrian government six times, while it accidentally hit a Syrian base in Sep. 2016, killing over 100 SAA soldiers. The Syrian government maintains that this was an intentional attack.[102] d HTS's predecessor (the Al-Nusra Front) and ISIL's predecessor (ISI) were allied al-Qaeda branches until April 2013. An ISI-proposed merger of the two into ISIL
ISIL
was rejected by the Al-Nusra Front
Al-Nusra Front
and al-Qaeda cut all affiliation with ISIL
ISIL
in February 2014. e Ahrar al-Sham
Ahrar al-Sham
and Tahrir al-Sham's predecessor, the Al-Nusra Front, were allied under the Army of Conquest
Army of Conquest
from March 2015 to January 2017. f Number includes Kurdish and ISIL
ISIL
fighters, whose deaths are also listed in their separate columns.[103][78]

The Syrian Civil War
War
(Arabic: الحرب الأهلية السورية‎, Al-ḥarb al-ʼahliyyah as-sūriyyah) is an ongoing multi-sided armed conflict in Syria
Syria
fought primarily between the government of President Bashar al-Assad, along with its allies, and various forces opposing both the government and each other in varying constellations.[104] The unrest in Syria, part of a wider wave of 2011 Arab
Arab
Spring protests, grew out of discontent with the Assad government and escalated to an armed conflict after protests calling for his removal were violently suppressed.[105] The war is being fought by several factions: the Syrian government and its international allies, a loose alliance of Sunni
Sunni
Arab
Arab
rebel groups (including the Free Syrian Army), the majority-Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces
Syrian Democratic Forces
(SDF), Salafi jihadist groups (including al-Nusra Front) and the Islamic State of Iraq
Iraq
and the Levant
Levant
(ISIL), with a number of countries in the region and beyond being either directly involved, or rendering support to one or another faction. Iran, Russia
Russia
and Hezbollah
Hezbollah
support the Syrian government militarily, with Russia
Russia
conducting air operations in support of the government since September 2015. On the other hand, the U.S.-led international coalition established in 2014 with a declared purpose of countering ISIL, have conducted airstrikes against ISIL
ISIL
in Syria
Syria
as well as against government and pro-government targets. International organizations have accused the Syrian government, ISIL and rebel groups of severe human rights violations and of many massacres.[106] 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
Syria
led by the United Nations, but fighting continues.[107]

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Syrian Civil War

Timeline

Jan–Apr 2011 May–Aug 2011 Sep–Dec 2011 Jan–Apr 2012 May–Aug 2012 Sep–Dec 2012 Jan–Apr 2013 May–Dec 2013 Jan–July 2014 Aug–Dec 2014 Jan–July 2015 Aug–Dec 2015 Jan–Apr 2016 May–Aug 2016 Sep–Dec 2016 Jan–Apr 2017 May–Aug 2017 Sep–Dec 2017 Jan–April 2018

Casualties Cities

map

Terrorism Massacres

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Civil uprising in Syria
Syria
(March–August 2011)

Daraa Baniyas Homs
Homs
(May–August 2011) Talkalakh Rastan and Talbiseh 1st Jisr ash-Shugur 1st Jabal al-Zawiya Hama Latakia

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Start of insurgency (Sept. 2011 – April 2012)

Homs
Homs
(2011–14)

Homs
Homs
offensive

1st Idlib
Idlib
Gov.

Syrian–Turkish border Jabal al-Zawiya 1st Idlib
Idlib
City Saraqeb

1st Rastan Hama
Hama
Gov. Shayrat & Tiyas ambush Daraa
Daraa
Gov. 1st Rif Dimashq

1st Zabadani Douma

Deir ez-Zor
Deir ez-Zor
(2011–2014)

Hatla

Aleppo
Aleppo
Gov.

Azaz

2nd Rastan 1st al-Qusayr 2nd Idlib
Idlib
Gov.

Taftanaz

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UN ceasefire; escalation (May 2012 – Dec. 2013)

3rd Rastan Houla Al-Haffah Al-Qubeir Al-Tremseh 3rd Idlib
Idlib
Gov. 1st Damascus

Bombing

Aleppo

Anadan Menagh Air Base Base 46 Khan al-Assal 1st Aleppo
Aleppo
offensive 2nd Aleppo
Aleppo
offensive

Syrian Kurdistan

Hasaka campaign

Ras al-Ayn al-Yaarubiyah

Tell Abyad Kurdish– Islamist
Islamist
conflict

Nubl & Al-Zahraa 2nd Rif Dimashq (1st Darayya) Abu al-Duhur Airbase Quneitra Gov. 3rd Rif Dimashq

1st Yarmouk camp 2nd Darayya

Darayya & Muadamiyat Aqrab 1st Hama
Hama
offensive

Halfaya

1st Safira Shadadeh 2nd Damascus 1st Raqqa
Raqqa
campaign (1st Raqqa) 1st Daraa
Daraa
offensive 4th Rif Dimashq

Jdaidet al-Fadl Ghouta

Al-Qusayr offensive

2nd al-Qusayr

Bayda and Baniyas 2nd Hama
Hama
offensive Eastern Ghouta 1st Latakia
Latakia
offensive Ma'loula Sadad 5th Rif Dimashq 1st Qalamoun Adra

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Rise of the Islamists (January – Sept. 2014)

Inter-rebel conflict

Northern Aleppo Markada 1st Deir ez-Zor
Deir ez-Zor
offensive

al-Otaiba ambush Maan Hosn Morek 2nd Daraa
Daraa
offensive 2nd Latakia
Latakia
offensive 4th Idlib
Idlib
Gov. Al-Malihah 2nd Wadi Deif 2nd Qalamoun

Arsal

Deir ez-Zor
Deir ez-Zor
(2014–2017) 1st Shaer gas field 1st Eastern Syria

Tabqa Air base

3rd Hama
Hama
offensive 6th Rif Dimashq 1st Quneitra Kobanî

v t e

U.S.-led intervention (Sept. 2014 – Sept. 2015)

U.S.-led intervention 3rd Daraa
Daraa
offensive 2nd Safira 2014 Idlib
Idlib
city raid Nusra–FSA conflict 2nd Shaer gas field 1st Al-Shaykh Maskin 2nd Deir ez-Zor
Deir ez-Zor
offensive 3rd Aleppo
Aleppo
offensive An-26 crash 4th Daraa
Daraa
offensive Southern Syria Eastern al- Hasakah
Hasakah
offensive 1st Sarrin Hama/ Homs
Homs
offensive Bosra 5th Idlib
Idlib
Gov

2nd Idlib
Idlib
city

Al-Fu'ah-Kafriya Nasib 2nd Yarmouk camp 1st Northwestern Syria 3rd Qalamoun 1st Palmyra Western al- Hasakah
Hasakah
offensive 1st Al-Hasakah
Al-Hasakah
city Tell Abyad Daraa/As-Suwayda 2nd Quneitra 2nd Sarrin 5th Daraa 2nd Al-Hasakah
Al-Hasakah
city 2nd Kobanî 4th Aleppo
Aleppo
offensive 2nd Zabadani 2nd Palmyra Al-Ghab 1st Al-Qaryatayn Douma market 7th Rif Dimashq Kuweires offensive

v t e

Russian intervention (Sept. 2015–March 2016)

Russian intervention 3rd Quneitra 2nd Northwestern Syria 3rd Latakia
Latakia
offensive

Su-24 shootdown

5th Aleppo
Aleppo
offensive Al-Hawl Homs
Homs
offensive 6th Aleppo
Aleppo
offensive 4th Hama
Hama
offensive Tell Tamer Tishrin Dam 2nd Al-Shaykh Maskin al-Qamishli bombings Orontes River 3rd Deir ez-Zor
Deir ez-Zor
offensive 1st Sayyidah Zaynab 7th Aleppo
Aleppo
offensive 1st Ithriyah-Raqqa Al-Shaddadi Homs
Homs
bombings 2nd Sayyidah Zaynab Khanasir 2nd Tel Abyad Al-Tanf 2nd Al-Qaryatayn 3rd Palmyra 2nd Maarat al-Nu'man

v t e

Aleppo
Aleppo
escalation and Euphrates
Euphrates
Shield (March–December 2016)

8th Aleppo
Aleppo
offensive 6th Daraa 9th–11th Aleppo
Aleppo
offensives Al-Dumayr 1st East Ghouta
Ghouta
inter-rebel conflict Al-Qamishli clashes Aleppo
Aleppo
bombings 8th Rif Dimashq 3rd Shaer gas field Northern Raqqa Jableh & Tartus Manbij

Tokhar

2nd Ithriyah-Raqqa 9th Rif Dimashq 12th–14th Aleppo
Aleppo
offensives

12th 13th 14th

4th Latakia
Latakia
offensive 1st Abu Kamal 3rd Qamishli Atmeh al-Rai 3rd Al-Hasakah
Al-Hasakah
City Operation Euphrates
Euphrates
Shield

Northern al-Bab Dabiq al-Bab

5th Hama
Hama
offensive 1st Western al-Bab Eastern Qalamoun September bombings 4th Quneitra Deir ez-Zor
Deir ez-Zor
airstrike Aleppo
Aleppo
aid convoy attack 15th Aleppo
Aleppo
offensive Khan al-Shih 1st Idlib
Idlib
inter-rebel conflict 2nd Western al-Bab 16th Aleppo
Aleppo
offensive 2nd Raqqa
Raqqa
campaign 17th Aleppo
Aleppo
offensive 4th Palmyra

v t e

Southern and Central Desert, ISIL
ISIL
collapse in Syria
Syria
(Dec. 2016 – Nov. 2017)

Wadi Barada 1st Syrian Desert Azaz
Azaz
bombings 5th Palmyra 4th Deir ez-Zor
Deir ez-Zor
offensive 18th Aleppo
Aleppo
offensive 2nd Idlib
Idlib
inter-rebel conflict 7th Daraa Qaboun 8th Daraa Eastern Homs
Homs
offensive al-Jina mosque 6th Hama
Hama
offensive Tabqa Khan Shaykhun US Shayrat strike Aleppo
Aleppo
bus bombing Post-intervention Turkish airstrikes 2nd East Ghouta
Ghouta
inter-rebel conflict 2nd Syrian Desert Maskanah East Hama 2nd Raqqa 9th Daraa Southern Raqqa Iranian Deir ez-Zor
Deir ez-Zor
strike Jobar 5th Quneitra Central Syria 3rd Idlib
Idlib
inter-rebel conflict 4th Qalamoun 5th Deir ez-Zor 2nd Eastern Syria

6th Deir ez-Zor Euphrates
Euphrates
Crossing Mayadin 2nd Abu Kamal

7th Hama
Hama
offensive Turkish operation in Idlib

v t e

Idlib
Idlib
escalation and Afrin operation (Nov. 2017–present)

3rd Northwestern Syria Atarib Harasta Beit Jinn 1st Southern Damascus Afrin Khasham 10th Rif Dimashq JTS–HTS conflict 2nd Southern Damascus

v t e

Syrian War
War
spillover and international incidents

Lebanon
Lebanon
spillover

Lebanese–Syrian border Sidon Iranian embassy bombing North Lebanon
Lebanon
clashes

Syrian–Turkish border incidents

Turkish F4 shootdown Reyhanlı bombings

Kurdish riots Russo-Turkish confrontation

Russian Su-24 shootdown Andrei Karlov

Jordanian–Syrian border incidents

Israeli–Syrian ceasefire line

February 2018 incident

Iraqi–Syrian border incidents

Akashat al-Shabah Western Nineveh Western Iraq

Spillover in Europe

Spillover in Iran

2017 Tehran attacks 2017 Deir ez-Zor
Deir ez-Zor
missile strike

v t e

Foreign involvement in the Syrian Civil War

Turkish involvement

Turkey– ISIL
ISIL
conflict Tomb of Suleyman Shah relocation Euphrates
Euphrates
Shield 2017 airstrikes Idlib
Idlib
Governorate operation Afrin operation

Russian involvement

military intervention

Iranian involvement (2017 missile strike) Hezbollah
Hezbollah
involvement

Iran– Israel
Israel
conflict

U.S.-led Intervention

Timeline of raids 2014 rescue operation May 2015 raid 2017 missile strikes

Dutch involvement German intervention French intervention Australian intervention UK intervention Jordanian intervention

Operation Martyr Muath

Qatari support Saudi support Foreign rebel fighters

Part of a series on

Ba'athism

Organisations

Arab
Arab
Ba'ath 1940–1947

Arab
Arab
Ba'ath Movement 1940–1947

Ba'ath Party 1947–1966

Ba'ath Party
Ba'ath Party
(pro-Iraqi) 1968–2003

Ba'ath Party
Ba'ath Party
(pro-Syrian) 1966–present

People

Zaki al-Arsuzi Michel Aflaq Salah al-Din al-Bitar Abdullah Rimawi Wahib al-Ghanim Fuad al-Rikabi Salah Jadid Hafez al-Assad Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr Saddam Hussein Bashar al-Assad Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri

Literature

On the Way of Resurrection The Battle for One Destiny

The Genius of Arabic in Its Tongue

History

Ba'athist Iraq Ramadan Revolution November 1963 coup d'état 17 July Revolution Iran– Iraq
Iraq
War Gulf War UN sanctions Iraq
Iraq
War De-Ba'athification Ba'athist Syria Syrian Committee to Help Iraq 1963 / 1966 coup d'états

Corrective Revolution Civil War

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pro-Iraq pro-Syria

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Splinter groups

Arab
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Arab
Arab
Revolutionary Workers Party 1966–present

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Arab
Ba'ath Party 1970–present

Sudanese Ba'ath Party 2002–present

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v t e

Contents

1 Background

1.1 Assad government 1.2 Demographics 1.3 Socioeconomic background 1.4 Drought 1.5 Human rights

2 Timeline

2.1 Civil uprising (March–July 2011) 2.2 Early armed insurgency (July 2011 – April 2012) 2.3 Ceasefire and escalation (April 2012 – December 2013) 2.4 Rise of the Islamist
Islamist
groups

2.4.1 Fighting between ISIL
ISIL
and other rebel groups (January–March 2014) 2.4.2 Government offensives and Presidential election (March–June 2014) 2.4.3 ISIS–government conflict intensifies 2.4.4 US intervention in Raqqa
Raqqa
and Kobani 2.4.5 The Southern Front and northern Army of Conquest
Army of Conquest
(October 2014 – June 2015) 2.4.6 Resurgent ISIL
ISIL
advance (May 2015 – September 2015)

2.5 Russian intervention and Aleppo
Aleppo
offensive (30 September 2015 – February 2016) 2.6 Partial ceasefire (26 February–July 2016) 2.7 SDF advances and Turkish military
Turkish military
intervention (August 2016 – October 2016) 2.8 Russian/Iranian/Turkish backed ceasefire (December 2016 – April 2017) 2.9 U.S. strikes over Khan Shaykhun chemical attack; and renewed fighting (April 2017 – June 2017) 2.10 CIA
CIA
arms cutoff, ISIL
ISIL
defeated, Russian forces permanent (July 2017–December 2017) 2.11 Army advance in Hama
Hama
province and Ghouta, Turkish intervention (January 2018–present)

3 Advanced weaponry and tactics

3.1 Chemical weapons 3.2 Cluster bombs 3.3 Thermobaric weapons 3.4 Anti-tank missiles 3.5 Ballistic missiles

4 Belligerents

4.1 Syrian Government
Syrian Government
and allies

4.1.1 Syrian Armed Forces 4.1.2 National Defense Force 4.1.3 Shabiha 4.1.4 Hezbollah 4.1.5 Iran 4.1.6 Foreign Shia
Shia
militias 4.1.7 Russia

4.2 Syrian Opposition and allies

4.2.1 Political groups

4.2.1.1 Syrian National Coalition 4.2.1.2 National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change

4.2.2 Military rebel groups

4.2.2.1 Free Syrian Army
Free Syrian Army
and affiliate groups 4.2.2.2 Islamist
Islamist
factions

4.3 Salafist factions

4.3.1 Al-Nusra Front
Al-Nusra Front
/ Jabhat Fateh al-Sham / Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham 4.3.2 Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
(ISIL)

4.4 North Syria
Syria
Federation (Rojava)

4.4.1 Syrian Democratic Council 4.4.2 Syrian Democratic Forces

4.5 U.S.-led coalition against ISIL 4.6 Foreign involvement

5 Reporting, censoring and propaganda 6 International reactions

6.1 Humanitarian aid

7 Impact

7.1 Deaths 7.2 Disease 7.3 Refugee migration 7.4 Human rights violations 7.5 ISIL
ISIL
and al-Qaeda executions 7.6 Sectarian threats 7.7 Crime wave 7.8 Cultural heritage 7.9 Spillover

8 Peace efforts 9 Depictions

9.1 Films

9.1.1 Documentaries

9.2 Video games

10 See also 11 References 12 Further reading 13 External links

Background Main article: Modern history of Syria Assad government See also: Al-Assad family Syria
Syria
became an independent republic in 1946 following years of French rule after World War
War
II, although democratic rule ended with a coup in March 1949, followed by two more coups the same year.[108] A popular uprising against military rule in 1954 saw the army transfer power to civilians. From 1958 to 1961, a brief union with Egypt replaced Syria's parliamentary system with a centralized presidential government.[109] The secular Ba'ath Syrian Regional Branch government came to power through a successful coup d'état in 1963. For the next several years Syria
Syria
went through additional coups and changes in leadership.[110] In March 1971, Hafez al-Assad, an Alawite, declared himself President, a position that he held until his death in 2000. Since 1970, the secular Syrian Regional Branch has 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
Syria
was held in 2012.[111] On 31 January 1973, Hafez al-Assad
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
Syria
be a Muslim, leading to fierce demonstrations in Hama, Homs
Homs
and Aleppo organized by the Muslim
Muslim
Brotherhood and the ulama. They labelled Assad the "enemy of Allah" and called for a jihad against his rule.[112][citation not found] The government survived a series of armed revolts by Islamists, mainly members of the Muslim
Muslim
Brotherhood, from 1976 until 1982. Upon Hafez al-Assad's death in 2000, his son Bashar al-Assad
Bashar al-Assad
was elected as President of Syria. Bashar al-Assad
Bashar al-Assad
and his wife Asma, a Sunni
Sunni
Muslim
Muslim
born and educated in Britain,[113] initially inspired hopes for democratic reforms. The Damascus
Damascus
Spring, a period of social and political debate, took place between July 2000 and August 2001.[114] The Damascus Spring largely ended in August 2001 with the arrest and imprisonment of ten leading activists who had called for democratic elections and a campaign of civil disobedience.[115] In the opinion of his critics, Bashar al-Assad
Bashar al-Assad
had failed to deliver on promised reforms.[116] President Bashar Al-Assad maintains that no 'moderate opposition' to his rule exists, and that all opposition forces are jihadists intent on destroying his secular leadership. In an April 2017 interview with Croatian newspaper Vecernji List he reasserted his view that terrorist groups operating in Syria
Syria
are 'linked to the agendas of foreign countries'.[117] Demographics Syrian Arabs, together with some 600,000 Palestinian Arabs, make up roughly 74 percent of the population (if Syriac Christians are excluded).[118] Syria's Muslims are 74 percent Sunnis (including Sufis), and 13 percent Shias (including 8–12 percent Alawites
Alawites
from which about 2 percent are Mershdis), 3 percent are Druze, while the remaining 10 percent are Christians. Not all of Syria's Sunnis are Arabs. The Assad family is mixed. Bashar is married to a Sunni, with whom he has several children. He is affiliated with the sect that his parents belong to: the minority Alawite
Alawite
sect.[119] Alawites
Alawites
control Syria's security apparatus.[120][121] The majority of Syria's Christians belong to the Eastern Christian churches, such as the branches of the Eastern Catholic Churches, Syriac Orthodox Church, Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch, Assyrian Church of the East, and Armenian Orthodox Church, which have existed in the region since the first century AD.[122] Syrian Kurds, an ethnic minority making up approximately 9 percent of the population, have endured ethnic discrimination and the denial of their cultural and linguistic rights, as well as the frequent denial of their citizenship, for the history of the Syrian state.[123] Turkmen are estimated to be 3-5% of the population. Assyrians, an indigenous Eastern Aramaic-speaking Christian Semitic people, numbering approximately 500,000,[124] are found mainly in northeast Syria. A larger population lives over the border in northern Iraq. Other ethnic groups include Armenians, Circassians, Turkmens, Greeks, Mhallami, Kawliya, Yezidi, Shabaks, and Mandeans.[125] Socioeconomic background Socioeconomic inequality increased significantly after free market policies were initiated by Hafez al-Assad
Hafez al-Assad
in his later years, and it accelerated after Bashar al-Assad
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
Sunni
merchant class of Damascus
Damascus
and Aleppo.[126] 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.[127] The country also faced particularly high youth unemployment rates.[128] At the start of the war, discontent against the government was strongest in Syria's poor areas, predominantly among conservative Sunnis.[126] These included cities with high poverty rates, such as Daraa
Daraa
and Homs, and the poorer districts of large cities. Drought

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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.[129] This migration strained infrastructure already burdened by the influx of some 1.5 million refugees from the Iraq
Iraq
War.[130] The drought has been linked to anthropogenic global warming.[131] Adequate water supply continues to be an issue in the ongoing civil war and it is frequently the target of military action.[132] Human rights Main article: Human rights in Syria The human rights situation in Syria
Syria
has long been the subject of harsh critique from global organizations.[133] The rights of free expression, association and assembly were strictly controlled in Syria even before the uprising.[134] The country was under emergency rule from 1963 until 2011 and public gatherings of more than five people were banned.[135] Security forces had sweeping powers of arrest and detention.[136] Authorities have harassed and imprisoned human rights activists and other critics of the government, who were often detained indefinitely and tortured while under prison-like conditions.[134] Women and ethnic minorities faced discrimination in the public sector.[134] Thousands of Syrian Kurds
Syrian Kurds
were denied citizenship in 1962 and their descendants were labeled "foreigners".[137] A number of riots in 2004 prompted increased tension in Syrian Kurdistan,[138] and there have been occasional clashes between Kurdish protesters and security forces ever since. Despite hopes for democratic change with the 2000 Damascus
Damascus
Spring, Bashar al-Assad
Bashar al-Assad
was widely regarded as having failed to implement any improvements. A Human Rights Watch
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.[139] Timeline See also: Course of events of the Syrian Civil War, Timeline of the Syrian Civil War, and Cities and towns during the Syrian Civil War

Anti-Assad protests in Baniyas, April 2011

Civil uprising (March–July 2011) Main article: Civil uprising phase of the Syrian Civil War See also: Arab
Arab
Spring The protests began on 15 March 2011, when protesters marched in the capital of Damascus, demanding democratic reforms and the release of political prisoners. Security forces retaliated by opening fire on the protesters,[140] and according to witnesses who spoke to the BBC, the government forces detained six.[141] The protest was triggered by the arrest of a boy and his friends by the government for writing in graffiti, "The people want the fall of the government", in the city of Daraa.[140][142] A 13-year-old boy, Hamza al-Khateeb, was tortured and killed.[143] The government claims that the boys weren't attacked, and that Qatar
Qatar
incited the majority of the protests.[144] Writer and analyst Louai al-Hussein, referencing the Arab Spring
Arab Spring
ongoing at that time, wrote that " Syria
Syria
is now on the map of countries in the region with an uprising".[142] On 20 March, the protesters burned down a Ba'ath Party
Ba'ath Party
headquarters and "other buildings". The ensuing clashes claimed the lives of seven police officers[145] and 15 protesters.[146] Ten days later in a speech, President Bashar al-Assad blamed "foreign conspirators" pushing Israeli propaganda for the protests.[147]

Pro-Assad demonstration in Latakia, June 2011

A colonel (left) and a first lieutenant (right) in the FSA announce the formation of the Conquest Brigade, part of the FSA in Tell Rifaat, north of Aleppo, 31 July 2012.

Until 7 April, the protesters predominantly demanded democratic reforms, release of political prisoners, an increase in freedoms, abolition of the emergency law and an end to corruption. After 8 April, the emphasis in demonstration slogans shifted slowly towards a call to overthrow the Assad government. Protests spread. On Friday 8 April, they occurred simultaneously in ten cities. By Friday 22 April, protests occurred in twenty cities. By the end of May 2011, 1,000 civilians[148] and 150 soldiers and policemen[149] had been killed and thousands detained;[150] among the arrested were many students, liberal activists and human rights advocates.[151] Significant armed resistance against the state security took place on 4 June 2011 in Jisr al-Shugur. Unverified reports claim that a portion of the security forces in Jisr defected after secret police and intelligence officers executed soldiers who had refused to fire on civilians.[152] Later, more protesters in Syria
Syria
took up arms, and more soldiers defected to protect protesters. Early armed insurgency (July 2011 – April 2012) Main article: Early insurgency phase of the Syrian Civil War See also: List of Syrian defectors The Early insurgency phase of the Syrian Civil War
War
lasted from late July 2011 to April 2012, and was associated with the rise of armed oppositional militias across Syria
Syria
and the beginning of armed rebellion against the authorities of the Syrian Arab
Arab
Republic. The beginning of the insurgency is typically marked by formation of the Free Syrian Army
Free Syrian Army
(FSA) on 29 July 2011, when a group of defected officers declared the establishment of the first organized oppositional military force. Composed of defected Syrian Armed Forces personnel, the rebel army aimed to remove Bashar al-Assad
Bashar al-Assad
and his government from power. This period of the war saw the initial civil uprising take on many of the characteristics of a civil war, according to several outside observers, including the United Nations
United Nations
Commission on Human Rights, as armed elements became better organized and began carrying out successful attacks in retaliation for the crackdown by the Syrian government on demonstrators and defectors.[153] The Arab
Arab
League monitoring mission, initiated in December 2011, ended in failure by February 2012, as Syrian troops and oppositional militants continued to do battle across the country and the Syrian government prevented foreign observers from touring active battlefields, including besieged oppositional strongholds. In early 2012, Kofi Annan
Kofi Annan
acted as the UN– Arab
Arab
League Joint Special Representative for Syria. His peace plan provided for a ceasefire, but even as the negotiations for it were being conducted, the rebels and the Syrian army continued fighting even after the peace plan.[154]:11 The United Nations-backed ceasefire was brokered by special envoy Kofi Annan and declared in mid-April 2012. Ceasefire and escalation (April 2012 – December 2013) Main article: Siege
Siege
of eastern Ghouta

A destroyed tank on a road in Aleppo, October 2012

The 2012–13 escalation of the Syrian Civil War
War
was the third phase of the Syrian Civil War, which gradually evolved from UN-mediated cease fire attempt during April–May 2012, deteriorating into radical violence in June, escalating the conflict level to a full-fledged civil war. Following the Houla massacre
Houla massacre
of 25 May 2012, in which 108 people were summarily executed, and the subsequent FSA ultimatum to the Syrian government, the ceasefire practically collapsed, as the FSA began nationwide offensives against government troops. On 1 June 2012, President Assad vowed to crush the anti-government uprising.[155] On 12 June 2012, the UN for the first time officially proclaimed Syria
Syria
to be in a state of civil war.[156] The conflict began moving into the two largest cities, Damascus
Damascus
and Aleppo. Following October 2012 cease-fire failure, during winter of 2012–13 and early spring of 2013, the rebels continued advances on all fronts. In mid-December 2012, American officials said that the Syrian military began firing Scud
Scud
ballistic missiles at rebel fighters inside Syria. On 11 January 2013, Islamist
Islamist
groups, including al-Nusra Front, took full control of the Taftanaz
Taftanaz
air base in the Idlib
Idlib
Governorate, after weeks of fighting. In mid-January 2013, as clashes re-erupted between rebels and Kurdish forces in Ras al-Ayn, YPG forces moved to expel government forces from oil-rich areas in Hassakeh Province.[157] By 6 March 2013, the rebels had captured the city of Raqqa, effectively making it the first provincial capital to be lost by the Assad government. The advances of rebels were finally arrested in April 2013, as Syrian Arab
Arab
Army could reorganize and initiate offensives. On 17 April 2013, government forces breached a six-month rebel blockade in Wadi al-Deif, near Idlib. Heavy fighting was reported around the town of Babuleen after government troops attempt to secure control of a main highway leading to Aleppo. The break in the siege also allowed government forces to resupply two major military bases in the region which had been relying on sporadic airdrops.[158] In April 2013, government and Hezbollah
Hezbollah
forces, who have increasingly become involved in the fighting, launched an offensive to capture areas near al-Qusayr. On 21 April, pro-Assad forces captured the towns of Burhaniya, Saqraja and al-Radwaniya near the Lebanese border.[159]

Aleppo, Karm al Jabal neighborhood, March 2013

From July 2013, however the situation became a stalemate, with fighting continuing on all fronts between various factions with numerous casualties, but without major territorial changes. On 28 June 2013, rebel forces captured a major military checkpoint in the city of Daraa.[160] Shortly after, Syrian opposition
Syrian opposition
factions declared war on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
which turned increasingly dominant throughout the war zone with indiscriminate killing of all – whether loyalist Assad or rebels. A major advance took place on 6 August 2013, as rebels captured Menagh Military Airbase
Menagh Military Airbase
after a 10-month siege. On 21 August a chemical attack took place in the Ghouta
Ghouta
region of the Damascus
Damascus
countryside, leading to thousands of casualties and several hundred dead in the opposition-held stronghold. The attack was followed by a military offensive by government forces into the area, which had been hotbeds of the opposition.[161] The attack, largely attributed to Assad forces caused the international community to seek disarmanent of the Syrian Arab
Arab
Army from chemical weapons. In late 2013, the period was marked by increased initiative of the Syrian Arab
Arab
Army, which led offensives against opposition fighters on several fronts. The Syrian Arab
Arab
Army along with its allies, Hezbollah and the al-Abas brigade, launched an offensive on Damascus
Damascus
and Aleppo in November.[162] Fighting between Kurdish forces, rebels and al-Nusra front continued in other locations. Rise of the Islamist
Islamist
groups Fighting between ISIL
ISIL
and other rebel groups (January–March 2014) Main article: Inter-rebel conflict during the Syrian Civil War Tension between moderate rebel forces and ISIS
ISIS
had been high since ISIS
ISIS
captured the border town of Azaz
Azaz
from FSA forces on 18 September 2013.[163] Conflict was renewed over Azaz
Azaz
in early October[164] and in late November ISIS
ISIS
captured the border town of Atme
Atme
from an FSA brigade.[165] On 3 January 2014, the Army of the Mujahideen, the Free Syrian Army
Syrian Army
and the Islamic Front launched an offensive against ISIS in Aleppo
Aleppo
and Idlib
Idlib
governorates. A spokesman for the rebels said that rebels attacked ISIS
ISIS
in up to 80% of all ISIS
ISIS
held villages in Idlib and 65% of those in Aleppo.[166] By 6 January, opposition rebels managed to expel ISIS
ISIS
forces from the city of Raqqa, ISIS's largest stronghold and capital of the Raqqa Governorate.[167] On 8 January, opposition rebels expelled most ISIS forces from the city of Aleppo, however ISIS
ISIS
reinforcements from the Deir ez-Zor Governorate
Deir ez-Zor Governorate
managed to retake several neighborhoods of the city of Raqqa.[168] By mid January ISIS
ISIS
retook the entire city of Raqqa, while rebels expelled ISIS
ISIS
fighters fully from Aleppo
Aleppo
city and the villages west of it. On 29 January, Turkish aircraft near the border fired on an ISIS convoy inside the Aleppo
Aleppo
province of Syria, killing 11 ISIS
ISIS
fighters and 1 ISIS
ISIS
emir.[169] In late January it was confirmed that rebels had assassinated ISIS's second in command, Haji Bakr, who was al-Qaeda's military council head and a former military officer in Saddam Hussein's army.[170] By mid-February, the al-Nusra Front joined the battle in support of rebel forces, and expelled ISIS
ISIS
from the Deir Ezzor Governorate.[171] By March, the ISIS
ISIS
forces fully retreated from the Idlib
Idlib
Governorate.[172] On 4 March, ISIS
ISIS
retreated from the border town of Azaz
Azaz
and other nearby villages, choosing instead to consolidate around Raqqa
Raqqa
in an anticipation of an escalation of fighting with al-Nusra.[173] Government offensives and Presidential election (March–June 2014) Further information: Syrian presidential election, 2014 On 4 March, the Syrian Army
Syrian Army
took control of Sahel in the Qalamoun region.[174] On 8 March, government forces took over Zara, in Homs Governorate, further blocking rebel supply routes from Lebanon.[175] On 11 March, Government forces and Hezbollah
Hezbollah
took control of the Rima Farms region, directly facing Yabrud.[176] On 16 March, Hezbollah
Hezbollah
and government forces captured Yabrud, after Free Syrian Army
Free Syrian Army
fighters made an unexpected withdrawal, leaving the al-Nusra Front to fight in the city on its own.[177] On 18 March, Israel
Israel
used artillery against a Syrian Army
Syrian Army
base, after four of its soldiers had been wounded by a roadside bomb while patrolling Golan Heights.[178] On 19 March, the Syrian Army
Syrian Army
captured Ras al-Ain near Yabrud, after two days of fighting and al-Husn in Homs
Homs
Governorate, while rebels in the Daraa
Daraa
Governorate captured Daraa
Daraa
prison, and freed hundreds of detainees.[179][180] On 20 March, the Syrian Army
Syrian Army
took control of the Krak des Chevaliers
Krak des Chevaliers
in al-Husn.[180] On 29 March, Syrian Army
Syrian Army
took control of the villages of Flitah
Flitah
and Ras Maara near the border with Lebanon.[181] On 22 March, rebels took control of the Kesab border post in the Latakia
Latakia
Governorate.[182] By 23 March, rebels had taken most of Khan Sheikhoun in Hama.[183] During clashes near the rebel-controlled Kesab border post in Latakia, Hilal Al Assad, NDF leader in Latakia
Latakia
and one of Bashar Al Assad's cousins was killed by rebel fighters.[184] On 4 April, rebels captured the town of Babulin, Idlib.[185] On 9 April, the Syrian Army
Syrian Army
took control of Rankous
Rankous
in the Qalamoun region.[186] On 12 April, rebels in Aleppo
Aleppo
stormed the government-held Ramouseh industrial district in an attempt to cut the Army supply route between the airport and a large Army base. The rebels also took the Rashidin neighbourhood and parts of the Jamiat al-Zahra district.[187] On 26 April, the Syrian Army
Syrian Army
took control of Al-Zabadani.[188] According to SOHR, rebels took control of Tell Ahrmar, Quneitra.[189] Rebels in Daraa
Daraa
also took over Brigade 61 Base and the 74th battalion.[190] On 26 April, the FSA announced they had begun an offensive against ISIS
ISIS
in the Raqqa
Raqqa
Governorate, and had seized five towns west of Raqqa city.[191] On 29 April, activists said that the Syrian Army
Syrian Army
captured Tal Buraq near the town of Mashara in Quneitra without any clashes.[192] On 7 May, a truce went into effect in the city of Homs, SOHR reported. The terms of the agreement include safe evacuation of Islamist
Islamist
fighters from the city, which would then fall under government control, in exchange for release of prisoners and safe passage of humanitarian aid for Nubul and Zahraa, two Shiite enclaves besieged by the rebels.[193] On 18 May, the head of Syria's Air Defense, General Hussein Ishaq, died of wounds sustained during a rebel attack on an air defense base near Mleiha the previous day. In Hama
Hama
Governorate, rebel forces took control of the town of Tel Malah, killing 34 pro-Assad fighters at an army post near the town. Its seizure marked the third time rebels have taken control of the town.[194] Syria
Syria
held a presidential election in government-held areas on 3 June 2014. For the first time in the history of Syria
Syria
more than one person was allowed to stand as a presidential candidate.[195] More than 9,000 polling stations were set up in government-held areas.[196] According to the Supreme Constitutional Court of Syria, 11.63 million Syrians voted (the turnout was 73.42%).[197] President Bashar al-Assad
Bashar al-Assad
won the election with 88.7% of the votes. As for Assad's challengers, Hassan al-Nouri received 4.3% of the votes and Maher Hajjar received 3.2%.[198] Allies of Assad from more than 30 countries were invited by the Syrian government to follow the presidential election,[199] including Bolivia, Brazil, Cuba, Ecuador, India, Iran, Iraq, Nicaragua, Russia, South Africa and Venezuela.[200] The Iranian official Alaeddin Boroujerdi read a statement by the group saying the election was "free, fair and transparent".[201] The Gulf Cooperation Council, the European Union
European Union
and the United States
United States
all dismissed the election as illegitimate and a farce.[202] State employees were told to vote or face interrogation.[203] On the ground there were no independent monitors stationed at the polling stations.[204] It is claimed in an opinion piece that as few as 6 million eligible voters remained in Syria.[205][206] Due to rebel, Kurdish and ISIS
ISIS
control of Syrian territories
Syrian territories
there was no voting in roughly 60% of the country.[207] ISIS–government conflict intensifies According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, on 17 July 2014 ISIL
ISIL
took control of the Shaar oil field, killing 90 pro-government forces while losing 21 fighters. In addition, 270 guards and government-aligned fighters were missing. About 30 government persons managed to escape to the nearby Hajjar field.[208] On 20 July, the Syrian Army
Syrian Army
secured the field, although fighting continued in its outskirts.[209] On 25 July, the Islamic State took control of the Division 17 base near Raqqa.[210] On 7 August 2014, ISIL
ISIL
took the Brigade 93 base in Raqqa
Raqqa
using weapons captured from their offensive in Iraq. Multiple suicide bombs also went off before the base was stormed.[211] On 13 August, ISIL
ISIL
forces took the towns of Akhtarin
Akhtarin
and Turkmanbareh from rebels in Aleppo. ISIL
ISIL
forces also took a handful of nearby villages. The other towns seized include Masoudiyeh, Dabiq and Ghouz. On 14 August, after being captured by the Al Nusra Front, the Free Syrian Army
Free Syrian Army
commander Sharif As-Safouri admitted to working with Israel
Israel
and receiving anti-tank weapons from Israel
Israel
and FSA soldiers also received medical treatment. It is possible this confession was obtained under duress.[212] On 14 August, the Syrian Army
Syrian Army
as well as Hezbollah
Hezbollah
militias retook the town of Mleiha in Rif Dimashq Governorate. The Supreme Military Council of the FSA denied claims of Mleiha's seizure, rather the rebels have redeployed from recent advances to other defensive lines.[213] Mleiha has been held by the Islamic Front. Rebels had used the town to fire mortars on government held areas inside Damascus.[214][215] Meanwhile, ISIL
ISIL
forces in Raqqa
Raqqa
were launching a siege on Tabqa airbase, the Syrian government's last military base in Raqqa. Kuwaires airbase in Aleppo
Aleppo
also came under fierce attack by ISIL.[216] On 16 August 2014, there were reports that 22 people were killed in the village of Daraa
Daraa
by a car bomb outside a mosque. The bomb was thought to be detonated by ISIS. Also on 16 August, the Islamic State seized the village of Beden in Aleppo
Aleppo
Governorate from rebels.[217] On 17 August 2014, SOHR said that in the past two weeks ISIL
ISIL
jihadists had killed over 700 tribal members in oil-rich Deir ez-Zor Governorate.[218] On 19 August, Abu Abdullah al-Iraqi, a senior figure in ISIL
ISIL
who had helped prepare and plan car and suicide bombs across Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq
Iraq
was killed. Some reports said that he was killed by Hezbollah
Hezbollah
fighters. There were also several reports that he was killed by the Syrian Army
Syrian Army
in the Qalamoun region, near the border with Lebanon.[219] In Raqqa, the Syrian Army
Syrian Army
took control of the town of Al-Ejeil.[220] ISIL
ISIL
reportedly sent reinforcements from Iraq
Iraq
to the governorate of Raqqa. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights
said at least 400 ISIL fighters had also been wounded in the previous five days in clashes with the Syrian Army
Syrian Army
and National Defense Force in Raqqa alone.[220][221] At the same time, several senior UK and US figures urged Turkey
Turkey
to stop allowing ISIL
ISIL
to cross the border to Syria
Syria
and Iraq.[222] It was around this time that the Americans realized that the Turks had no intention of sealing their side of the border, and so Washington decided to work with the Syrian Kurds
Syrian Kurds
to close off the border on the Syrian side.[223] A year later, with the Kurds
Kurds
in control of most of the Turkey– Syria
Syria
border, and the Syrian army advancing under Russian air support to seal the remainder, the situation was causing great ructions in Ankara.[224] On 26 August 2014, the Syrian Air Force carried out airstrikes against ISIL
ISIL
in the Governorate of Deir ez-Zor. This was the first time the Syrian Army
Syrian Army
attacked them in Deir ez-Zor
Deir ez-Zor
as the Syrian Army
Syrian Army
pulled out of Raqqa
Raqqa
and shifted to Deir ez-Zor
Deir ez-Zor
for its oil and natural gas resources as well as strategically splitting ISIL
ISIL
territories.[225] American jets began bombing ISIL
ISIL
in Syria
Syria
on 23 September 2014, raising U.S. involvement in the country. At least 20 targets in and around Raqqa
Raqqa
were hit, the opposition group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. Foreign partners participating in the strikes with the United States
United States
were Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar
Qatar
and Jordan. The U.S. and "partner nation forces" began striking ISIL
ISIL
using fighters, bombers and Tomahawk missiles, Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said.[226] US intervention in Raqqa
Raqqa
and Kobani Main articles: Timeline of the Syrian Civil War
War
(August–December 2014) and 2014 American intervention in Syria

Coalition airstrike in Kobanî
Kobanî
on ISIL
ISIL
position, October 2014

U.S. aircraft include B-1 bombers, F-16s, F-18s and Predator drones, with F-18s flying missions off the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) in the Persian Gulf. Tomahawk missiles
Tomahawk missiles
were fired from the destroyer USS Arleigh Burke (DDG-51) in the Red Sea. Syria's Foreign Ministry told the Associated Press that the U.S. informed Syria's envoy to the U.N. that "strikes will be launched against the terrorist group in Raqqa".[227] The United States
United States
informed the Free Syrian Army
Free Syrian Army
beforehand of the impending airstrikes, and the rebels said that weapons transfers to the Free Syrian Army
Free Syrian Army
had begun.[228] The United States
United States
also attacked a specific faction of al-Nusra called the Khorasan Group, who according to the United States had training camps and plans for attacking the United States
United States
in the future.[229] For its part, Turkey
Turkey
launched an official request to the U.N. for a no-fly zone over Syria.[230] The same day, Israel
Israel
shot down a Syrian warplane after it entered the Golan area from Quneitra.[231] By 3 October 2014, ISIL
ISIL
forces were heavily shelling the city of Kobanî
Kobanî
and were within a kilometer of the town.[232] Within 36 hours from 21 October, the Syrian air force carried out over 200 airstrikes on rebel-held areas across Syria
Syria
and US and Arab
Arab
jets attacked IS positions around Kobanî. Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi said the YPG forces in Kobanî
Kobanî
had been provided with military and logistical support.[233] Syria
Syria
reported its air force had destroyed two fighter jets operated by IS.[234] By 26 January, the Kurdish YPG forced ISIL
ISIL
to retreat from Kobanî,[235] thus fully recapturing the city.[236] The U.S. later confirmed that the city had been cleared of ISIL
ISIL
forces,[237] and ISIL
ISIL
admitted defeat in Kobanî
Kobanî
city three days later, although they vowed to return.[238] The Southern Front and northern Army of Conquest
Army of Conquest
(October 2014 – June 2015) In February 2014, the Southern Front of the Free Syrian Army
Free Syrian Army
formed in southern Syria. Six months later, they started a string of victories in Daraa
Daraa
and Quneitra during the 2014 Quneitra offensive, the Daraa offensive, the Battle of Al-Shaykh Maskin, the Battle of Bosra (2015) and the Battle of Nasib Border Crossing. A government counter-offensive (the 2015 Southern Syria
Syria
offensive) during this period, that included the IRGC
IRGC
and Hezbollah, recaptured 15 towns, villages and hills,[239] but the operation slowed soon after[240] and stalled.[241] Since early 2015, opposition military operations rooms based in Jordan
Jordan
and Turkey
Turkey
began increasing cooperation,[242] with Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
and Qatar
Qatar
also reportedly agreeing upon the necessity to unite opposition factions against the Syrian government.[243] In late October 2014, a conflict erupted between the al-Nusra Front on one side and the Western-backed SRF and Hazzm Movement
Hazzm Movement
on the other (Al-Nusra Front–SRF/ Hazzm Movement
Hazzm Movement
conflict). By the end of February 2015, al-Nusra had defeated both groups, captured the entire Zawiya Mountain region in Idlib
Idlib
province and several towns and military bases in other governorates, and seized weapons supplied by the CIA
CIA
to the two moderate groups.[244] The significant amount of weapons seized included a small number of BGM-71
BGM-71
anti-tank missiles similar to weapons systems al-Nusra Front had previously captured from government stockpiles such as French MILANs, Chinese HJ-8s and Russian 9K111 Fagots.[245] Reuters
Reuters
reported that this represented al-Nusra crushing pro-Western rebels in the north of the country.[246] According to FSA commanders in northern Syria, however, the elimination of Harakat Hazm and the SRF was a welcome development due to the leaders of those factions allegedly involved in corruption.[247] The Western-backed 30th Division of the FSA remained active elsewhere in Idlib.[248] By 24 March 2015, the al-Nusra Front dominated most of Idlib
Idlib
province, except for the government-held provincial capital, Idlib, which they had encircled on three sides along with their Islamist
Islamist
allies.[249] Therefore, they joined together to form the Army of Conquest
Army of Conquest
on this day.[250] On 28 March, a joint coalition of Islamist
Islamist
forces, the Army of Conquest, captured Idlib.[251] This left the north largely taken over by Ahrar ash-Sham, al-Nusra Front and other Islamist
Islamist
rebels, with the south of the country becoming the last significant foothold for the mainstream, non-jihadist opposition fighters.[252] Main articles: Northwestern Syria
Syria
offensive (April–June 2015) and Second Battle of Idlib On 22 April, a new rebel offensive was launched in the north-west of Syria
Syria
and by 25 April, the rebel coalition Army of Conquest
Army of Conquest
had captured the city of Jisr al-Shughur.[253] At the end of the following month, the rebels also seized the Al-Mastumah
Al-Mastumah
military base,[254] and Ariha, leaving government forces in control of tiny pockets of Idlib, including the Abu Dhuhur military airport.[255] In addition, according to Charles Lister (Brookings Doha
Doha
Center), the Army of Conquest coalition was a broad opposition effort to ensure that the Al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front was contained, with the rearguard involvement of Western-backed factions being regarded as crucial.[247] Still, according to some, the FSA in northern Syria
Syria
had by this point all but dissipated. Many of the moderate fighters joined more extremist organizations, such as Ahrar ash-Sham, the largest faction in the Army of Conquest, which led to the subsequent rise of the Islamist
Islamist
Army of Conquest
Army of Conquest
coalition.[256] Rebel advances led to government and Hezbollah
Hezbollah
morale plunging dramatically.[257] In north-west Syria
Syria
these losses were countered by a Hezbollah-led offensive in the Qalamoun mountains north of Damascus, on the border with Lebanon, that gave Hezbollah
Hezbollah
effective control of the entire area.[258] Resurgent ISIL
ISIL
advance (May 2015 – September 2015) Main articles: Palmyra offensive (May 2015)
Palmyra offensive (May 2015)
and Palmyra
Palmyra
offensive (July–August 2015) On 21 May, ISIL
ISIL
took control of Palmyra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, after eight days of fighting.[259] The jihadists also captured the nearby towns of Al-Sukhnah and Amiriya, as well as several oil fields.[260] Following the capture of Palmyra, ISIL
ISIL
conducted mass executions in the area, killing an estimated 217–329 government civilian supporters and soldiers, according to opposition activists.[261] Government sources put the number of killed at 400–450.[262] By early June, ISIL
ISIL
reached the town of Hassia, which lies on the main road from Damascus
Damascus
to Homs
Homs
and Latakia, and reportedly took up positions to the west of it, creating a potential disaster for the government and raising the threat of Lebanon
Lebanon
being sucked further into the war.[263] On 25 June, ISIL
ISIL
launched two offensives. One was a surprise diversionary attack on Kobanî, while the second targeted government-held parts of Al-Hasakah
Al-Hasakah
city.[264] The ISIL
ISIL
offensive on Al-Hasakah
Al-Hasakah
displaced 60,000 people, with the UN estimating a total of 200,000 would be displaced.[265] In July 2015, a raid by U.S. special forces on a compound housing the Islamic State's "chief financial officer", Abu Sayyaf, produced evidence that Turkish officials directly dealt with ranking ISIS
ISIS
members.[266] ISIS
ISIS
captured Qaryatayn city from the government on 5 August 2015.[267] Australia
Australia
joined the bombing of ISIL
ISIL
in Syria
Syria
in mid September, an extension of their efforts in Iraq
Iraq
for the last year.[268] On 2 August, U.S. officials informed Reuters
Reuters
that the United States
United States
had decided to "allow air strikes to help defend against any attack on the U.S.-trained Syrian rebels, even if the attackers come from forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad." The following day the Pentagon announced that it would begin flying its first unmanned, armed drone missions in Syria.[269] Russian intervention and Aleppo
Aleppo
offensive (30 September 2015 – February 2016)

Russian military facilities involved in the war in Syria

Caspian Flotilla
Caspian Flotilla
Russian Navy
Russian Navy
(Astrakhan) Caspian Flotilla
Caspian Flotilla
Russian Navy
Russian Navy
(Makhachkala) Caspian Flotilla
Caspian Flotilla
Russian Navy
Russian Navy
(Kaspiysk) Aircraft group (ru) ASF RF 720th PL of the Russian Navy

Russian Navy[270] Russian Aerospace Forces[271] Group Special forces (ru)[272]

See also: Russian military intervention in the Syrian Civil War, Northwestern Syria
Syria
offensive (October 2015), and Aleppo
Aleppo
offensive (October–December 2015) On 30 September 2015,[273] in response to an official request by the Syrian government,[274] the Russian Aerospace Forces
Russian Aerospace Forces
began a sustained campaign of air strikes against both ISIL
ISIL
and the anti-Assad FSA.[275] Initially, the raids were conducted solely by Russian aircraft stationed in the Khmeimim base in Syria. Shortly after the start of the Russian operation, U.S. president Barack Obama was reported to have authorized the resupply of Syrian Kurds
Syrian Kurds
and the Arab-Syrian opposition, Obama reportedly emphasizing to his team that the U.S. would continue to support the Syrian opposition
Syrian opposition
now that Russia
Russia
had joined the conflict.[276] On 7 October 2015, Russian officials said the ships of the Caspian Flotilla had earlier that day fired 26 sea-based cruise missiles at 11 ISIL
ISIL
targets in Syria
Syria
destroying those and causing no civilian casualties.[270] That day, the Syrian government launched the northwest Syrian offensive[277] that in the following few days succeeded in recapturing some territory in northern Hama
Hama
Governorate, close to the government's coastal heartland in the west of the country.[278] On 8 October 2015, the U.S. officially announced the end of the Pentagon’s half-billion dollar program to train and equip Syrian rebels and acknowledged that it had failed[279] However, other covert and significantly larger[280] CIA
CIA
programs to arm anti-government fighters in Syria
Syria
continued.[281]

The foreign ministers of Russia, the U.S., Saudi Arabia, and Turkey
Turkey
in Vienna, before a four-way discussion focused on Syria, 29 October 2015

Two weeks after the start of the Russian campaign in Syria, The New York Times opined that with anti-government commanders receiving for the first time bountiful supplies of U.S.-made anti-tank missiles and with Russia
Russia
raising the number of airstrikes against the government’s opponents that had raised morale in both camps, broadening war objectives and hardening political positions, the conflict was turning into an all-out proxy war between the U.S. and Russia.[280] Despite multiple top-ranking casualties incurred by the Iranian forces advising fighters in Syria,[282] in mid-October the Russian-Syrian-Iranian- Hezbollah
Hezbollah
offensive targeting rebels in Aleppo went ahead.[283] At the end of October 2015, the U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter signalled a shift in the strategy of the U.S.-led campaign saying there will be more air strikes and ruling in the use of direct ground raids, the fight in Syria
Syria
concentrating mostly on Raqqa.[284] On 30 October and two weeks later, Syria
Syria
peace talks were held in Vienna, initiated by the United States, Russia, Turkey
Turkey
and Saudi Arabia, in which on 30 October Iran
Iran
participated for the first time in negotiations on Syrian settlement.[285] The participants disagreed on the future of Bashar Assad. On 10 November 2015, the Syrian government forces completed the operation to break through the Islamic State insurgents' blockade of the Kweires air base in Aleppo
Aleppo
Province, where government forces had been under siege since April 2013.[286] In mid-November 2015, in the wake of the Russian plane bombing over Sinai and the Paris attacks, both Russia[287][288] and France
France
significantly intensified their strikes in Syria, France
France
closely coordinating with the U.S. military.[289] On 17 November, Putin said he had issued orders for the cruiser Moskva that had been in eastern Mediterranean since the start of the Russian operations to "work as with an ally",[288][290][291] with the French naval group led by flagship Charles De Gaulle that had been on her way to eastern Mediterranean since early November.[292] Shortly afterwards, a Russian foreign ministry official criticised France's stridently anti-Assad stance as well as France's air strikes at oil and gas installations in Syria[293] as apparently designed to prevent those from returning under the Syrian government's control; the Russian official pointed out that such strikes by France
France
could not be justified as they were carried out without the Syrian government's consent.[294] In his remarks to a French delegation that included French parliamentarians, on 14 November, President Bashar Assad sharply criticised France's as well as other Western States' actions against the Syrian government suggesting that French support for Syrian opposition
Syrian opposition
forces had led to the Islamic State-claimed attacks in Paris.[295] On 19 November 2015, U.S. President Barack Obama, speaking of the Vienna
Vienna
process, said he was unable to "foresee a situation in which we can end the civil war in Syria
Syria
while Assad remains in power"; he urged Russia
Russia
and Iran
Iran
to stop supporting the Syrian government.[296] On 20 November 2015, the UN Security Council, while failing to invoke the UN's Chapter VII, which gives specific legal authorisation for the use of force,[297] unanimously passed Resolution 2249 that urged UN members to "redouble and coordinate their efforts to prevent and suppress terrorist acts committed specifically by ISIL
ISIL
also known as Da’esh as well as ANF, and all other individuals, groups, undertakings, and entities associated with Al-Qaida, and other terrorist groups, as designated by the United Nations
United Nations
Security Council, and as may further be agreed by the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) and endorsed by the UN Security Council".[298] The adopted resolution was drafted by France
France
and co-sponsored by the UK[299] the following day after Russia
Russia
introduced an updated version of its previously submitted draft resolution that was blocked by the Western powers as seeking to legitimise Assad’s authority.[300][301] On 24 November 2015, Turkey
Turkey
shot down a Russian warplane that allegedly violated Turkish airspace and crashed in northwestern Syria, leading to the Russian pilot's death.[302] Following the crash, it was reported that Syrian Turkmen
Syrian Turkmen
rebels from Syrian Turkmen
Syrian Turkmen
Brigades attacked and shot down a Russian rescue helicopter, killing a Russian naval infantryman.[302] A few days after, Russian aircraft were reported to have struck targets in the Syrian town of Ariha in Idlib province that was controlled by the Army of Conquest
Army of Conquest
causing multiple casualties on the ground.[303][304] On 2 December 2015, the Parliament of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
voted to expand Operation Shader
Operation Shader
into Syria
Syria
with a majority of 397–223.[305] That day, two British Tornado aircraft took off from RAF Akrotiri
RAF Akrotiri
immediately at 22:30, each carrying three Paveway
Paveway
bombs. Two further aircraft were deployed at 00:30 on 3 December, and all aircraft returned by 06:30 without their bombs.[306] Defense Secretary Michael Fallon
Michael Fallon
said that the strikes hit the Omar oil fields in eastern Syria, and that eight more jets (two Tornados and six Typhoons) were being sent to RAF Akrotiri
RAF Akrotiri
to join the eight already there.[307] On 7 December 2015, the government of Syria
Syria
announced that US-led coalition warplanes had fired nine missiles at its army camp near Ayyash, Deir al-Zour province, on the evening prior, killing three soldiers and wounding 13 others; three armoured vehicles, four military vehicles, heavy machine-guns and an arms and ammunition depot were also destroyed.[308] The government condemned the strikes, the first time the government forces would be struck by the coalition,[309] as an act of "flagrant aggression"; the coalition spokesman denied it was responsible.[308] Anonymous Pentagon officials alleged later in the day that the Pentagon was "certain" that a Russian warplane (presumably a TU-22 bomber) had carried out the attack.[310][311] The claim was denied by the Russian military spokesman.[312] On 14 December 2015, Russia's government news media reported that the Syrian government forces retook a Marj al-Sultan military airbase east of Damascus
Damascus
that had been held by Jaysh al-Islam.[313] The UN resolution 2254 of 18 December 2015 that endorsed the ISSG's transitional plan but did not clarify who would represent the Syrian opposition, while condemning terrorist groups like ISIL
ISIL
and al-Qaeda; it made no mention of the future role of Syrian President Bashar Assad.[314] On 12 January 2016, the Syria
Syria
government announced that its army and allied forces had established "full control" of the strategically situated town of Salma, whose pre-war population was predominantly Sunni,[315] in the northwestern province of Latakia, and continued to advance north.[316] On 16 January 2016, ISIL
ISIL
militants launched raid on government-held areas in the city of Deir ez-Zor
Deir ez-Zor
and killed up to 300 people.[317] Counter-strikes by Russian Air Force
Russian Air Force
fighter jets, in support of Syrian army forces, were reported to take back the areas.[318] On 21 January 2016, Russia's activity presumably aimed at setting up a new base in the government-controlled Kamishly Airport
Kamishly Airport
was first reported;[319][320] the northeastern town of Qamishli in the Al-Hasakah Governorate
Al-Hasakah Governorate
had been largely under the Syrian Kurds' control since the start of the Syrian Kurdish– Islamist
Islamist
conflict in the governorate of Al-Hasakah
Al-Hasakah
in July 2013. Similar activity by the U.S. forces was suspected in the Rmeilan Airbase in the same province, 50 kilometres (31 miles) away from the Kamishly Airport; the area is likewise controlled by the US-backed Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG).[320][321] On 24 January 2016, the Syrian government announced its forces, carrying on with their Latakia
Latakia
offensive, had seized the predominantly Sunni-populated town of Rabia, the last major town held by rebels in western Latakia
Latakia
province; Russian forces were said to have played an important role in the recapture.[322] The capture of Rabia was said to threaten rebel supply lines from Turkey.[322][323] By 26 January 2016, the Syrian government established "full control" over the town of Al-Shaykh Maskin
Al-Shaykh Maskin
in the Daraa
Daraa
Governorate,[324] thus completing the operation that had begun in late December 2015. The town's capture by the Syrian government was remarked as a "turning of the tide in the Syrian war" by Al-Jazeera.[325] Partial ceasefire (26 February–July 2016) Main article: Syria
Syria
ceasefire

Defense ministers of Russia, Iran
Iran
and Syria
Syria
in a tripartite meeting in Tehran

On 26 February 2016, the United Nations
United Nations
Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2268 that endorsed a previously brokered U.S.-Russian deal on a "cessation of hostilities".[326] The cease-fire started on 27 February 2016 at 00:00 ( Damascus
Damascus
time).[327] The ceasefire does not include attacks on UN-designated terrorist organizations.[328][329] At the close of February 2016, despite individual clashes, the truce was reported to hold.[330] By the end of March, the Syrian government forces with support from Russia
Russia
and Iran successfully captured Palmyra
Palmyra
from the ISIL.[331]

Palmyra
Palmyra
offensive in March 2016

By early July 2016, the truce was said to have mostly unraveled, violence again escalated, and the fighting between all the major parties to the conflict continued.[332] At the end of July 2016, the fighting between the government and Islamist
Islamist
rebels in and around Aleppo
Aleppo
intensified. SDF advances and Turkish military
Turkish military
intervention (August 2016 – October 2016) On 12 August 2016, the Syrian Democratic Forces
Syrian Democratic Forces
fully captured Manbij from ISIL. Some days later, the SDF announced a new offensive towards Al-Bab, which could eventually connect the Kurdish regions in Northern Syria.[333] A few days after, the battle of al- Hasakah
Hasakah
began. On 22 August, the Kurdish YPG, having captured Ghwairan, the only major Arab neighborhood in Hasaka that had been in government hands, launched a major assault to seize the last government-controlled areas of the northeastern Syrian city of Hasaka, after a Russian mediation team failed to mend the rift between the two sides;[334] the next day the capture of the city was completed.[335] A few days prior, the Pentagon admonished the Syrian government against "interfering with coalition forces or our partners" in that region, adding that the U.S. had the right to defend its troops.[336] On 24 August 2016, Turkey's armed forces invaded Syria
Syria
in the Jarabulus
Jarabulus
area controlled by ISIL
ISIL
starting what the Turkish president called Operation Euphrates
Euphrates
Shield, aimed against, according to his statement, both the IS and Kurdish "terror groups that threaten our country in northern Syria".[337] The Syrian government denounced the intervention as a "blatant violation of its sovereignty" and said that "fighting terrorism isn’t done by ousting ISIS
ISIS
and replacing it with other terrorist organizations backed directly by Turkey".[338] The PYD leader Salih Muslim
Muslim
said that Turkey
Turkey
was now in the "Syrian quagmire" and would be defeated like IS.[337][339] Speaking in Ankara the same day, US vice president Joe Biden
Joe Biden
indirectly endorsed Turkey's move and said that the U.S. had made it clear to the Syrian Kurdish forces that they should move back east across the Euphrates, or lose US support.[340] As Turkish troops and the Turkish-aligned Syrian rebels took control of Jarablus and moved further south towards the Syrian town of Manbij, they clashed with the Kurdish YPG, which led the U.S. officials to voice concern and issue a warning to both sides.[341] On 29 August, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter
Ash Carter
specified that the U.S. did not support Turkey's advance south of Jarablus.[342] The warning as well as an announcement made by the U.S. of a tentative ceasefire between the Turkish forces and the Kurds
Kurds
in the area of Jarablus were promptly and angrily dismissed by Turkey's officials.[343] However, combat between the Turkish forces and the SDF died down, and instead Turkish forces moved West to confront IS.[344] In the meantime the SDF, including Western volunteers, continued to reinforce Manbij.[345] At sunset on 12 September 2016, a U.S.-Russian brokered cease-fire came into effect.[346] Five days later, the U.S. and other coalition members' jets bombed Syrian Army
Syrian Army
positions near Deir ez-Zor—purportedly by accident, but with Russia
Russia
contending that it was intentional—killing at least 62 Syrian troops that were fighting ISIL
ISIL
militants.[347] Shortly after, the ceasefire broke down, and on 19 September the Syrian Army
Syrian Army
declared to no longer observe the truce.[348] Also on 19 September, an aid convoy in Aleppo
Aleppo
was attacked with the U.S. coalition blaming the Russian and Syrian governments for the attack and these same governments denying these accusation and instead blaming terrorists for the attack. On 22 September, the Syrian army declared a new offensive in Aleppo.[349] The offensive succeeded on 14 December, when the final Rebel stronghold in Aleppo
Aleppo
was recaptured by the Syrian government followed by a ceasefire agreement.[350] On 26 October 2016 US Defense Secretary Ash Carter
Ash Carter
said that an offensive to retake Raqqa
Raqqa
from IS will begin within weeks.[351] The SDF proceeded with this effort, in operation Wrath of Euphrates. This operation used up to 30,000 Arab, Christian and Kurdish troops, with support from the Western Coalition. By December 2016 it had captured many villages and land west of Raqqa, previously controlled by IS.[352] By January 2017, much of the land west of Raqqa
Raqqa
had been seized, and the second phase of the operation was complete. Russian/Iranian/Turkish backed ceasefire (December 2016 – April 2017)

A BM-21 Grad
BM-21 Grad
rocket artillery truck of the group during the 2017 southern Syrian Desert
Syrian Desert
campaign

In December 2016, Syrian government forces completely recaptured all of rebel-held parts of Aleppo, ending the 4-year battle in the city.[353] On 15 December, as it was reported government forces were on the brink of retaking all of Aleppo—a "turning point" in the civil war, Assad celebrated the "liberation" of the city, and stated, "History is being written by every Syrian citizen."[354] On 29 December 2016 Russian President Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin
announced a new ceasefire deal had been reached between the Syrian Government
Syrian Government
and opposition groups, with Russia
Russia
and Turkey
Turkey
acting as guarantors, and Iran
Iran
as a signatory to a trilateral agreement. The ceasefire came into effect at 00:00 Syrian time (02:00 UTC) on 30 December. It does not include UN-designated terrorist groups, such as ISIL
ISIL
and Jabhat Fateh al-Sham. Syrian High Negotiations Committee representatives in Turkey confirmed that they were involved in the deal. Talks were scheduled to be held between the groups in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, on 15 January.[355] Early reports indicated that despite sporadic fighting incidents, the ceasefire appeared to be holding, with no civilian deaths.[356] Also late on 29 December, the United Nations
United Nations
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported that four million people in Damascus
Damascus
and surrounding areas were without reliable access to water after major supply infrastructure was subject to deliberate targeting on 22 December. They said that although the government had initiated a program of rationing, they were concerned that safe water may not be accessible to everyone and called on parties to reach peaceful agreements to guarantee basic services.[356] On 2 January 2017, rebel groups said that they would disengage from planned talks after alleged ceasefire violations by Government forces in the Wadi Barada
Barada
valley near Damascus. The government says the region is excluded from the ceasefire because of the presence of Fatah al-Sham, but some local activists deny that they have a presence there.[357] At the end of January, government forces managed to capture Wadi Barada
Barada
and the water supply of Damascus
Damascus
was restored.[358][359] On 14 February 2017, the cease-fire between Assad forces and rebels collapsed throughout the country, leading to fresh clashes in various locations and a fresh rebel offensive in Daraa.[360] A new peace conference in Geneva was held on 23 February.[361] On 23 February, Turkish forces captured Al-Bab
Al-Bab
from ISIL
ISIL
north-east of Aleppo.[362] Syrian government forces started an offensive east of Aleppo
Aleppo
to conquer Dayr Hafir
Dayr Hafir
from ISIL
ISIL
and prevent further Turkish advances.

Syrian rebels in combat against government forces in Qaboun, Damascus, April 2017

On 17 March, Syrian military fired S-200 missiles at Israeli jets over Golan Heights. The Israeli military claimed that the Arrow anti-ballistic system intercepted one missile, while the Syrian military claimed that they had downed an Israeli jet. The Russian Foreign Ministry summoned the Israeli ambassador to clarify the situation.[363] The Syrian Arab
Arab
Army entered Dayr Hafir, the last stronghold held by the Islamic State in East Aleppo, on 23 March, and secured it by 23 March. This opened up an opportunity to push south into the Ar-Raqqa governate where the Islamic State's de facto capital resides; however on 23 March, a Syrian Democratic Forces
Syrian Democratic Forces
contingent landed on a peninsula west of Raqqa
Raqqa
via boats and helicopters, in an effort to cut off the Syrian Arab
Arab
Army from entering the Islamic State's de facto capital, Raqqa. On 28 March, an agreement was reportedly brokered by Qatar
Qatar
and Iran
Iran
for the evacuation for four besieged towns in Syria, where around 60,000 people live. The deal involved evacuating the residents of al-Fu'ah and Kafriya, two towns in the Idlib
Idlib
Governorate besieged by rebel forces, in exchange for the evacuation of residents and rebels in Zabadani
Zabadani
and Madaya, two towns under siege by government forces in the Rif Dimashq Governorate.[364] U.S. strikes over Khan Shaykhun chemical attack; and renewed fighting (April 2017 – June 2017) Main articles: Khan Shaykhun chemical attack, 2017 Shayrat missile strike, and 2017 Hama
Hama
offensive

U.S. armored vehicle in Al-Hasakah, northeastern Syria, May 2017

On 7 April, in what was the U.S.' first deliberate direct attack on Syrian forces in the six years of the conflict,[365] U.S. warships launched fifty-nine Tomahawk missiles
Tomahawk missiles
on the Syrian government's Shayrat Air Base, which was said to be the source of the chemical attack on Khan Shaykhun that occurred three days prior to the airstrikes.[366] As the U.S. strike was conducted without authorization from either the United States
United States
Congress or United Nations Security Council, it raised questions about its legality under the U.S. law as well as international law.[367] An emergency meeting of the UN Security Council was held, having been requested by Bolivia
Bolivia
and supported by Russia; the U.S. representative said that ″the moral stain of the Assad regime could no longer go unanswered.″[368] Russian president′s spokesman said Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin
viewed the U.S. attack as ″an act of aggression against a sovereign country violating the norms of international law, and under a trumped-up pretext at that″.[369] Deborah Pearlstein has suggested that US military strikes against Syrian government forces violate the UN Charter, a cornerstone of international law which has been ratified by the US and is thus binding on the US.[370] Meanwhile, intense fighting between government forces and rebel groups that began north of Hama
Hama
on 21 March, continued.[371] On 12 April, the agreement to exchange the inhabitants of the rebel-held towns of Zabadani
Zabadani
and Madaya with the inhabitants of the pro-government towns of Al-Fu'ah
Al-Fu'ah
and Kafraya
Kafraya
began to be implemented.[372] On 15 April, a convoy of buses carrying evacuees from Al-Fu'ah
Al-Fu'ah
and Kafriya
Kafriya
was attacked by a suicide bomber in Aleppo, killing more than 126 people.[373] On 24 April, the Turkish Air Force
Turkish Air Force
conducted several airstrikes on YPG and YPJ
YPJ
positions near al-Malikiyah, killing at least 20 of their fighters. The attacks were condemned by the US.[374] On 4 May 2017, Russia, Iran, and Turkey
Turkey
signed an agreement in Astana to create four "de-escalation zones" in Syria. The four zones include the Idlib
Idlib
Governorate, the northern rebel-controlled parts of the Homs Governorate, the rebel-controlled eastern Ghouta, and the Jordan– Syria
Syria
border. The agreement was rejected by some rebel groups,[375] and the Democratic Union Party also denounced the deal, saying that the ceasefire zones are "dividing Syria
Syria
up on a sectarian basis". The ceasefire came into effect on 6 May.[376] On 18 May 2017, in what was said to have marked the most direct clash between the U.S.-led forces with the government of Syria, U.S.-led coalition fighter jets struck a convoy of pro-Syrian government forces advancing towards the U.S. coalition base at the border town of al-Tanf, where U.S. military operated and trained anti-government rebels.[377] Nevertheless, the Syrian government′s desert offensive continued and on 9 June government forces secured a part of Syrian-Iraqi border for the first time since 2015.[378] CIA
CIA
arms cutoff, ISIL
ISIL
defeated, Russian forces permanent (July 2017–December 2017)

Iranian convoy delivering aid to Deir ez-Zor
Deir ez-Zor
in September 2017

On 7 July 2017, the U.S., Russia, and Jordan
Jordan
agreed to a ceasefire in part of southwestern Syria. Russia
Russia
gave assurances that Assad would abide by the agreement.[379] On 19 July 2017, it was reported that the Donald Trump administration had decided to halt the CIA
CIA
program to equip and train anti-government rebel groups, a move sought by Russia.[380] On 5 September 2017, the government′s Central Syria
Syria
offensive culminated in the breaking of the three-year ISIL
ISIL
siege of Deir ez-Zor, with active participation of Russian aviation and navy.[381][382][383] This was followed shortly thereafter by the lifting of the siege of the city′s airport.[384] On 17 October 2017, after over four months of fierce fighting and the U.S.-led coalition′s bombardment, the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces announced they had established full control of the city of Raqqa
Raqqa
in northern Syria, previously the de facto capital of ISIL.[385][386][387] At the end of October, the government of Syria said that it still considered Raqqa
Raqqa
to be an occupied city that can ″only be considered liberated when the Syrian Arab
Arab
Army enter[ed] it.″[388] By mid-November 2017, the government forces and allied militia established full control over Deir ez-Zor
Deir ez-Zor
and captured the town of Abu Kamal in eastern Syria, near the border with Iraq
Iraq
and Iraq′s town of al-Qaim, which was concurrently captured from ISIL
ISIL
by the Iraqi government.[389][390] On 28 November 2017, it was reported that China
China
will deploy troops to aid Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.[391] On 6 December 2017, Russian government declared Syria
Syria
to have been “completely liberated” from ISIL; on 11 December Russian president Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin
visited the Russian base in Syria, where he announced that he had ordered the partial withdrawal of the forces deployed to Syria.[392][393][394][395] On 26 December, Russian defence minister Sergey Shoigu
Sergey Shoigu
said that Russia
Russia
had set about ″forming a permanent grouping" at its naval facility at Tartus
Tartus
and Hmeymim airbase.[396][397] Two days later, Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said that Russia
Russia
believed that the U.S. forces must leave Syrian territory completely once remnants of the terrorists were completely eliminated and that would happen very soon.[398][399] Army advance in Hama
Hama
province and Ghouta, Turkish intervention (January 2018–present) See also: Northwestern Syria
Syria
campaign (October 2017–February 2018), Turkish military
Turkish military
operation in Afrin, and Rif Dimashq offensive (February 2018) In January—February 2018, the Syrian Army
Syrian Army
and its allies continued to advance against the forces of Tahrir al-Sham
Tahrir al-Sham
(HTS) and other rebels in the Hama
Hama
Governorate. Meanwhile, on 20 January, the Turkish military began a cross-border operation in the Kurdish-majority Afrin Canton and the Tel Rifaat
Tel Rifaat
Area of Shahba Canton
Shahba Canton
in Northern Syria, against the Kurdish-led Democratic Union Party in Syria
Syria
(PYD),[400] its armed wing People's Protection Units
People's Protection Units
(YPG),[401] and Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) positions.[402] On 10 February 2018, the Syrian Air Defense shot down an Israeli F-16 fighter jet in response to a cross border raid conducted by Israel
Israel
on Iranian targets near Damascus
Damascus
through Lebanese airspace.[403][404] The pilots survived the crash, but have been transported for treatment.[405] On 21 February 2018, the government began an operation to capture rebel-held Ghouta
Ghouta
east of Damascus; the operation started with an intensive air campaign.[406] On 18 March 2018, on the 58th day of the Turkish military
Turkish military
operation in Afrin, the Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army
Free Syrian Army
(TFSA) and the Turkish Armed Forces captured Afrin from the YPG and the YPJ, with the Kurds putting up little resistance.[407] Shortly after the capture, TFSA militants looted parts of the city and destroyed numerous pro-Kurdish symbols as Turkish Army troops solidified control by raising Turkish flags and banners over the city.[408] Advanced weaponry and tactics See also: Equipment of the Syrian Army
Syrian Army
and List of military equipment used by Syrian opposition
Syrian opposition
forces Chemical weapons Main articles: Syria
Syria
and weapons of mass destruction and Use of chemical weapons in the Syrian Civil War See also: Syria
Syria
chemical weapons program and 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
Ghouta
attacks. A UN fact-finding mission was requested to investigate alleged chemical weapons attacks. In four cases the UN inspectors confirmed use of sarin gas.[409] In August 2016, a confidential report by the United Nations
United Nations
and the OPCW explicitly blamed the Syrian military of Bashar al-Assad
Bashar al-Assad
for dropping chemical weapons (chlorine bombs) on the towns of Talmenes in April 2014 and Sarmin in March 2015 and ISIS
ISIS
for using sulfur mustard on the town of Marea in August 2015.[410] The United States
United States
and the European Union
European Union
have accused the Syrian government of conducting several chemical attacks. Following the 2013 Ghouta
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".[411] After the April 2017 Khan Shaykhun chemical attack, the United States
United States
launched its first attack against Syrian government forces. Cluster bombs Many nations including but not limited to Syria, the United States, Russia, China, Israel
Israel
and India
India
are not parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions and do not recognize the ban on the use of cluster bombs. The Syrian Army
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
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."[412] Thermobaric weapons Russian thermobaric weapons, also known as "fuel-air bombs", have been used by the government side during the war. One Buratino thermobaric rocket launcher "can obliterate a roughly 200 by 400 metres (660 by 1,310 feet) area with a single salvo".[413] 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
Aleppo
and also in Kafr Batna.[414] A panel of United Nations
United Nations
human rights investigators reported that the Syrian government used thermobaric bombs against the strategic town of Qusayr in March 2013.[415] In August 2013, the BBC reported on the use of napalm-like incendiary bombs on a school in northern Syria.[416] On 2 December 2015, The National Interest reported that Russia
Russia
was deploying the TOS-1
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."[417] Anti-tank missiles Several types of anti-tank missiles are in use in Syria. Russia
Russia
has sent 9M133 Kornet, third-generation anti-tank guided missiles to the Syrian Government
Syrian Government
whose forces have used them extensively against armour and other ground targets to fight Jihadists and rebels.[418] U.S.-made BGM-71
BGM-71
TOW missiles are one of the primary weapons of rebel groups and have been primarily provided by the United States
United States
and Saudi Arabia.[419] The U.S. has also supplied many Eastern European sourced 9K111 Fagot
9K111 Fagot
launchers and warheads to Syrian rebel groups under its Timber Sycamore
Timber Sycamore
program.[420] Ballistic missiles Main article: 2017 Deir ez-Zor
Deir ez-Zor
missile strike In June 2017, Iran
Iran
attacked ISIL
ISIL
targets in the Deir ez-Zor
Deir ez-Zor
area in eastern Syria
Syria
with Zolfaghar ballistic missiles fired from western Iran,[421] in the first use of mid-range missiles by Iran
Iran
in 30 years.[422] According to Jane's Defence Weekly, the missiles travelled 650–700 kilometres.[421] Belligerents Main article: List of armed groups in the Syrian Civil War See also: Foreign involvement in the Syrian Civil War

It has been suggested that portions of this section be split out and merged into the article titled List of armed groups in the Syrian Civil War, which already exists. (Discuss) (March 2017)

Illustration of the main factions involved in the Syrian Civil War
War
and affiliations by 2018

Syrian Government
Syrian Government
and allies Main articles: Arab
Arab
Socialist Ba'ath Party
Ba'ath Party
Syria
Syria
Region and Syrian Arab
Arab
Republic A number of sources have emphasized that as of at least late 2015/early 2016 the Syrian government was dependent on a mix of volunteers and militias rather than the Syrian Armed Forces.[423][424] Syrian Armed Forces Main article: Syrian Armed Forces

Two destroyed Syrian Army
Syrian Army
tanks in Azaz, August 2012

The funeral procession of Syrian General Mohammed al-Awwad
Mohammed al-Awwad
who was assassinated in Damascus
Damascus
in 2012

Before the uprising and war broke out, the Syrian Armed Forces
Syrian Armed Forces
were estimated at 325,000 regular troops and 280,000–300,000 reservists.[citation needed] Of the regular troops, 220,000 were 'army troops' and the rest in the navy, air force and air defense force. Following defections as early as June 2011, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights estimated that by July 2012, tens of thousands of soldiers had defected, and a Turkish official estimated 60,000.[citation needed] National Defense Force Main article: National Defence Forces (Syria) The Syrian NDF was formed out of pro-government militias. They receive their salaries and military equipment from the government,[425] and number around 100,000 troops.[426] The force acts in an infantry role, directly fighting against rebels on the ground and running counter-insurgency operations in coordination with the army, who provides them with logistical and artillery support. The force has a 500-strong women's wing called "Lionesses of National Defense" which operates checkpoints.[427] NDF members, like regular army soldiers, are allowed to loot the battlefields (but only if they participate in raids with the army), and can sell the loot for extra money.[425] Sensing that they depend on the largely secular government,[428] many of the militias of Syrian Christians (like Sootoro
Sootoro
in Al-Hasakah) fight on the Syrian government's side[429] and seek to defend their ancient towns, villages and farmsteads from ISIL
ISIL
(see also Christian Militias in Syria). Shabiha Main article: Shabiha The Shabiha are unofficial pro-government militias drawn largely from Syria's Alawite
Alawite
minority group. Since the uprising, the Syrian government has been accused of using shabiha to break up protests and enforce laws in restive neighborhoods.[430] As the protests escalated into an armed conflict, the opposition started using the term shabiha to describe civilians they suspected of supporting Bashar al-Assad
Bashar al-Assad
and the Syrian government and clashing with pro-opposition demonstrators.[431] The opposition blames the shabiha for the many violent excesses committed against anti-government protesters and opposition sympathizers,[431] as well as looting and destruction.[432] In December 2012, the shabiha were designated a terrorist organization by the United States.[433] Bassel al-Assad
Bassel al-Assad
is reported to have created the shabiha in the 1980s for government use in times of crisis.[434] Shabiha have been described as "a notorious Alawite
Alawite
paramilitary, who are accused of acting as unofficial enforcers for Assad's government";[435] "gunmen loyal to Assad",[436] and, according to the Qatar-based Arab
Arab
Center for Research and Policy Studies, "semi-criminal gangs comprised of thugs close to the government".[436] Despite the group's image as an Alawite
Alawite
militia, some shabiha operating in Aleppo
Aleppo
have been reported to be Sunnis.[437] In 2012, the Assad government created a more organized official militia known as the Jaysh al-Sha'bi, allegedly with help from Iran
Iran
and Hezbollah. As with the shabiha, the vast majority of Jaysh al-Sha'bi
Jaysh al-Sha'bi
members are Alawite
Alawite
and Shi'ite volunteers.[438] Hezbollah Main article: Hezbollah
Hezbollah
involvement in the Syrian Civil War In February 2013, former secretary general of Hezbollah, Sheikh Subhi al-Tufayli, confirmed that Hezbollah
Hezbollah
was fighting for the Syrian Army,[439] which in October 2012, General Secretary Hassan Nasrallah had still denied was happening on a large scale,[440] except to admit that Hezbollah
Hezbollah
fighters helped the Syrian government "retain control of some 23 strategically located villages [in Syria] inhabited by Shiites of Lebanese citizenship".[441] Nasrallah said that Hezbollah fighters have died in Syria
Syria
doing their "jihadist duties".[441] In 2012 and 2013, Hezbollah
Hezbollah
was active in gaining control of territory in the Al-Qusayr District
Al-Qusayr District
of Syria,[442] by May 2013 publicly collaborating with the Syrian Army[443][444] and taking 60 percent of the city[which?] by the end of 14 May.[443] In Lebanon, there have been "a recent increase in the funerals of Hezbollah
Hezbollah
fighters" and "Syrian rebels have shelled Hezbollah-controlled areas."[443] As of 14 May 2013, Hezbollah
Hezbollah
fighters were reported to be fighting alongside the Syrian Army, particularly in the Homs
Homs
Governorate.[445] Hassan Nasrallah has called on Shiites and Hezbollah
Hezbollah
to protect the shrine of Sayida Zeinab.[445] President Bashar al-Assad
Bashar al-Assad
denied in May 2013 that there were foreign fighters, Arab
Arab
or otherwise, fighting for the government in Syria.[446] On 25 May 2013, Nasrallah announced that Hezbollah
Hezbollah
was fighting in Syria
Syria
against Islamic extremists and "pledged that his group will not allow Syrian militants to control areas that border Lebanon".[447] In the televised address, he said, "If Syria
Syria
falls in the hands of America, Israel
Israel
and the takfiris, the people of our region will go into a dark period."[444] According to independent analysts, by the beginning of 2014, approximately 500 Hezbollah
Hezbollah
fighters had died in the Syrian conflict.[448] On 7 February 2016, 50 Hezbollah
Hezbollah
fighters were killed in a clash by the Jaysh al-Islam
Jaysh al-Islam
near Damascus. These fighters were embedded in the SAA formation called Army Division 39.[449] Iran Main article: Iranian involvement in the Syrian Civil War

Bodies of Iranian casualties return to Kermanshah, August 2016

Iran
Iran
continues to officially deny the presence of its combat troops in Syria, maintaining that it provides military advice to Assad's forces in their fight against terrorist groups.[450] Since the civil uprising phase of the Syrian civil war, Iran
Iran
has provided the Syrian government with financial, technical, and military support, including training and some combat troops.[451][452][453] Iran
Iran
and Syria
Syria
are close strategic allies. Iran
Iran
sees the survival of the Syrian government as being crucial to its regional interests.[453][454] Iran's supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, was reported to be vocally in favor of the Syrian government.[452] By December 2013 Iran
Iran
was thought to have approximately 10,000 operatives in Syria.[454] But according to Jubin Goodarzi, assistant professor and researcher at Webster University, Iran
Iran
aided the Syrian government with a limited number of deployed units and personnel, "at most in the hundreds ... and not in the thousands as opposition sources claimed".[455] Lebanese Hezbollah
Hezbollah
fighters backed by Tehran have taken direct combat roles since 2012.[454][456] In the summer of 2013, Iran
Iran
and Hezbollah
Hezbollah
provided important battlefield support for Syrian forces, allowing them to make advances on the opposition.[456] In 2014, coinciding with the peace talks at Geneva II, Iran
Iran
has stepped up support for Syrian President Assad.[454][456] The Syrian Minister of Finance and Economy stated more than 15 billion dollars had come from the Iranian government.[457] Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps Quds Force
Quds Force
commander Qasem Suleimani
Qasem Suleimani
is in charge of Syrian President Assad's security portfolio and has overseen the arming and training of thousands of pro-government Shi'ite fighters.[458] 328 IRGC
IRGC
troops, including several commanders, have reportedly been killed in the Syrian civil war since it began.[459] Foreign Shia
Shia
militias

Liwa Fatemiyoun
Liwa Fatemiyoun
fighters during the Palmyra
Palmyra
offensive in December 2016

Shia
Shia
fighters from Afghanistan and Pakistan are "far more numerous" than Sunni
Sunni
non-Syrian fighters, though they have received "noticeably less attention" from the media.[460] The number of Afghans fighting in Syria
Syria
on behalf of the Syrian government has been estimated at "between 10,000 and 12,000", the number of Pakistanis is not known[460] (approximately 15% of Pakistan's population is Shia). The main forces are the liwa’ fatimiyun (Fatimiyun Brigade) – which is composed exclusively of Afghans and fights "under the auspices" of Hezbollah
Hezbollah
Afghanistan[460]—and the Pakistani liwa’ zaynabiyun (Zaynabiyun Brigade) formed in November 2015.[460] Many or most of the fighters are refugees, and Iran
Iran
has been accused of taking advantage of their inability to "obtain work permits or establish legal residency in Iran", and using threats of deportation for those who hesitate to volunteer.[460] The fighters are also paid a relatively high salary, and some have told journalists, that “the Islamic State is a common enemy of Iran
Iran
and Afghanistan … this is a holy war,” and that they wish to protect the Shia
Shia
pilgrimage site of Sayyida Zaynab, from Sunni
Sunni
jihadis.[460] Russia Main article: Russian military intervention in the Syrian Civil War See also: Russian naval facility in Tartus On 30 September 2015, Russia's Federation Council unanimously granted the request by President of Russia
Russia
Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin
to permit the use of the Russian Armed Forces
Russian Armed Forces
in Syria.[461] On the same day, the Russian general Sergey Kuralenko,[462] who represents Russia
Russia
at the joint information center in Baghdad set up by Russia, Iran, Iraq
Iraq
and Syria to coordinate their operations against Islamic State,[463][464] arrived at the US Embassy in Baghdad and requested that any U.S. forces in the targeted area leave immediately.[465] An hour later, the Russian aircraft based in the government-held territory began conducting airstrikes against the rebel forces.[466] In response to the downing of a Syrian government Su-22 plane by a U.S. fighter jet near the town of Tabqah in Raqqa
Raqqa
province on 18 June 2017, Russia
Russia
announced that U.S.-led coalition warplanes flying west of the Euphrates
Euphrates
would be tracked by Russian anti-aircraft forces in the sky and on the ground and treated as targets; furthermore, the Russian military said they suspended the hotline (the "deconfliction" line) with their U.S. counterparts based in Al Udeid.[467] Nevertheless, a few days later, the U.S. military stated that the deconfliction line remained open and that Russia
Russia
had given the U.S. a prior notification of its massive cruise missile strike from warships in the Mediterranean that was conducted on 23 June 2017, despite the fact that the U.S. was not among those countries mentioned as being forewarned in Russia′s official report on the strike.[468] On 27 June 2017, U.S. defence minister Jim Mattis told the press: ″We deconflict with the Russians; it's a very active deconfliction line. It's on several levels, from the chairman of the Joint Chiefs and the secretary of state with their counterparts in Moscow, General Gerasimov and Minister Lavrov. Then we've got a three-star deconfliction line that is out of the Joints Chiefs of Staff out of the J5 there. Then we have battlefield deconfliction lines. One of them is three-star again, from our field commander in Baghdad, and one of them is from our CAOC, our Combined Air Operations Center, for real-time deconfliction.″[469] Syrian Opposition and allies Main articles: Syrian opposition
Syrian opposition
and Syrian Interim Government The armed opposition consists of various groups that were either formed during the course of the conflict or joined from abroad. The Syrian National Coalition
Syrian National Coalition
formed the Syrian Interim Government.[470] The minister of defense is to be chosen by the Free Syrian Army.[471] Other Islamist
Islamist
factions are independent from the mainstream Syrian opposition.[citation needed] Political groups Main article: Syrian opposition Syrian National Coalition Main articles: National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces and Syrian National Council

Syrian National Coalition
Syrian National Coalition
members in Doha, 11 November 2012. In center, president al-Khatib, along with VPs Seif and Atassi, as well as all SNC chairmen Ghalioun, Sieda and Sabra.

Formed on 23 August 2011, the National Council is a coalition of anti-government groups, based in Turkey. The National Council seeks the end of Bashar al-Assad's rule and the establishment of a modern, civil, democratic state. SNC has links with the Free Syrian Army. On 11 November 2012 in Doha, the National Council and other opposition groups united as the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces.[472] The SNC has 22 out of 60 seats of the Syrian National Coalition.[473] The following day, it was recognized as the legitimate government of Syria
Syria
by numerous Persian Gulf states. Delegates to the Coalition's leadership council are to include women and representatives of religious and ethnic minorities, including Alawites. The military council will reportedly include the Free Syrian Army.[474] The main aims of the National Coalition are replacing the Bashar al-Assad
Bashar al-Assad
government and "its symbols and pillars of support", "dismantling the security services", unifying and supporting the Free Syrian Army, refusing dialogue and negotiation with the al-Assad government, and "holding accountable those responsible for killing Syrians, destroying [Syria], and displacing [Syrians]".[475] National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change Main article: National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change Formed in 2011 and based in Damascus, the National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change is an opposition bloc consisting of 13 left-wing political parties and "independent political and youth activists".[476] It has been defined by Reuters
Reuters
as the internal opposition's main umbrella group.[477] The NCC initially had several Kurdish political parties as members, but all except for the Democratic Union Party left in October 2011 to join the Kurdish National Council.[478] Some have accused the NCC of being a "front organization" for Bashar al-Assad's government and some of its members of being ex-government insiders.[479] Relations with other Syrian political opposition groups are generally poor. The Syrian Revolution General Commission, the Local Coordination Committees of Syria
Syria
or the Supreme Council of the Syrian Revolution oppose the NCC calls to dialogue with the Syrian government.[480] In September 2012, the Syrian National Council
Syrian National Council
(SNC) reaffirmed that despite broadening its membership, it would not join with "currents close to [the] NCC".[481] Despite recognizing the Free Syrian Army
Free Syrian Army
on 23 September 2012,[351] the FSA has dismissed the NCC as an extension of the government, stating that "this opposition is just the other face of the same coin".[477] Military rebel groups Free Syrian Army
Free Syrian Army
and affiliate groups Main article: Free Syrian Army

Free Syrian Army
Free Syrian Army
fighters being transported by pickup truck

The formation of the Free Syrian Army
Free Syrian Army
(FSA) was announced on 29 July 2011 by a group of defecting Syrian Army
Syrian Army
officers, encouraging others to defect in order to defend civilian protesters from violence by the state and effect government change.[482] By December 2011, estimates of the number of defectors to the FSA ranged from 1,000 to over 25,000.[483] The FSA, initially "headquartered" in Turkey, moved its headquarters to northern Syria
Syria
in September 2012, and functions more as an umbrella organization than a traditional military chain of command.

FSA soldiers plan during the Battle of Aleppo
Aleppo
(October 2012).

In March 2012, two reporters of The New York Times
The New York Times
witnessed an FSA attack and learned that the FSA had a stock of able, trained soldiers and ex-officers, organized to some extent, but without the weapons to put up a realistic fight.[484] In April 2013, the US announced it would transfer $123 million in nonlethal aid to Syrian rebels through defected general Salim Idriss, leader of the FSA,[485] who later acknowledged "the rebels" were badly fragmented and lacked military skill. Idriss said he was working on a countrywide command structure, but that a lack of material support was hurting that effort. "Now it is very important for them to be unified. But unifying them in a manner to work like a regular army is still difficult", Idriss said. He acknowledged common operations with Islamist
Islamist
group Ahrar ash-Sham
Ahrar ash-Sham
but denied any cooperation with Islamist group al-Nusra Front.[485] Abu Yusaf, a commander of the Islamic State (IS), said in August 2014 that many of the FSA members who had been trained by United States' and Turkish and Arab
Arab
military officers were actually joining IS,[486] but by September 2014 the Free Syrian Army
Free Syrian Army
was joining an alliance and common front with Kurdish militias including the YPG to fight ISIS.[487] In October 2015, shortly after the start of Russia's military intervention in Syria, a senior ex-US official was paraphrased as saying "the "moderates” had collapsed long ago" in a piece by Robert Fisk, who added that many fighters had defected to other rebel groups,[488] while Russia's foreign minister Sergey Lavrov
Sergey Lavrov
called the FSA "an already phantom structure",[489] but later proclaimed that Russia
Russia
was ready to aid the FSA with airstrikes against ISIS.[490] On the other hand, in December 2015, according to the American Institute for the Study of War, groups that identify as FSA were still present around Aleppo
Aleppo
and Hama
Hama
and in southern Syria, and the FSA was still “the biggest and most secular of the rebel groups.”[491] By March 2017, the FSA backed by Turkey
Turkey
finished clearing the Islamic State from the north of Syria. [492] After this, they turned to attempting to take over Afrin canton from the YPG.

Syrian opposition
Syrian opposition
campaign in support of Syria
Syria
in 2012

Islamist
Islamist
factions Main article: Islamic Front (Syria) The Islamic Front (Arabic: الجبهة الإسلامية‎, al-Jabhat al-Islāmiyyah) was a merger of seven rebel groups involved in the Syrian civil war[30] that was announced on 22 November 2013.[493] The group had about 40,000 fighters.[494] An anonymous spokesman for the group had stated that it will not have ties with the Syrian National Coalition,[495] though a member of the political bureau of the group, Ahmad Musa, has stated that he hopes for recognition from the Syrian National Council
Syrian National Council
in cooperation for what he suggested "the Syrian people
Syrian people
want. They want a revolution and not politics and foreign agendas."[496] The group is widely seen as backed and armed by Saudi Arabia.[497] Salafist factions In September 2013, US Secretary of State John Kerry
John Kerry
stated that extremist Salafi jihadist
Salafi jihadist
groups make up 15–25% of rebel forces.[498] According to Charles Lister, about 12% of rebels are part of groups linked to al-Qaeda, 18% belong to Ahrar ash-Sham, and 9% belong to Suqour al-Sham Brigade.[499] These numbers contrast with a report by Jane's Information Group, a defense outlet, claiming almost half of all rebels being affiliated to Islamist
Islamist
groups.[500] British think-tank Centre on Religion and Geopolitics, linked to former British PM Tony Blair, says that 60% of the rebels could be classified as Islamist
Islamist
extremists.[501] In September 2013, leaders of 13 powerful salafist brigades rejected the Syrian National Coalition
Syrian National Coalition
and called Sharia
Sharia
law "the sole source of legislation". In a statement they declared that "the coalition and the putative government headed by Ahmad Tomeh does not represent or recognize us". Among the signatory rebel groups were al-Nusra Front, Ahrar ash-Sham
Ahrar ash-Sham
and Al-Tawheed.[502] Al-Nusra Front
Al-Nusra Front
/ Jabhat Fateh al-Sham / Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham Main article: Al-Nusra Front

The scene of the October 2012 Aleppo
Aleppo
bombings, for which al-Nusra Front claimed responsibility[503]

The al-Qaeda-linked[504] al-Nusra Front, being the biggest jihadist group in Syria, is often considered to be the most aggressive and violent part of the opposition.[505] Being responsible for over 50 suicide bombings, including several deadly explosions in Damascus
Damascus
in 2011 and 2012, it is recognized as a terrorist organization by the Syrian government and was designated as such by United States
United States
in December 2012.[506] It has been supported by the Turkish government for years, according to a US intelligence adviser quoted by Seymour Hersh.[507] In April 2013, the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq released an audio statement announcing that al-Nusra Front is its branch in Syria.[508] The leader of al-Nusra, Abu Mohammad al-Golani, said that the group would not merge with the Islamic State of Iraq
Iraq
but would still maintain allegiance to Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of al-Qaeda.[509] The estimated manpower of al-Nusra Front is approximately 6,000–10,000 people, including many foreign fighters.[510] The relationship between the al-Nusra Front and the indigenous Syrian opposition is tense, even though al-Nusra has fought alongside the FSA in several battles and some FSA fighters defected to the al-Nusra Front.[511] The Mujahideen's strict religious views and willingness to impose sharia law disturbed many Syrians.[512] Some rebel commanders have accused foreign jihadists of "stealing the revolution", robbing Syrian factories and displaying religious intolerance.[513] Al-Nusra Front has been accused of mistreating religious and ethnic minorities since their formation.[514] On 10 March 2014, al-Nusra released 13 Christian nuns captured from Ma'loula, Damascus, in exchange for the release of 150 women from the Syrian government's prisons. The nuns reported that they were treated well by al-Nusra during their captivity, adding that they "were giving us everything we asked for" and that "no one bothered us".[515] The al-Nusra Front renamed itself to Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (JFS) in June 2016, and later became the leading member of Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) in 2017. Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
(ISIL) Main article: Islamic State of Iraq
Iraq
and the Levant

Much of Raqqa
Raqqa
suffered extensive damage during the battle of Raqqa
Raqqa
in June–October 2017.

Called Dā'ash or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
(abbrv. ISIL
ISIL
or ISIS
ISIS
[Islamic State of Iraq
Iraq
and Syria]) made rapid military gains in Northern Syria
Syria
starting in April 2013 and as of mid-2014 controls large parts of that region, where the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights describes it as "the strongest group".[516] It has imposed strict Sharia
Sharia
law over land that it controls. The group was, until 2014, affiliated with al-Qaeda, led by the Iraqi fighter Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and has an estimated 7,000 fighters in Syria, including many non-Syrians. It has been praised as less corrupt than other militia groups and criticized for abusing human rights[517] and for not tolerating non- Islamist
Islamist
militia groups, foreign journalists or aid workers, whose members it has expelled, imprisoned,[518] or executed. According to Michael Weiss, ISIL
ISIL
has not been targeted by the Syrian government "with quite the same gusto" as other rebel factions.[458] By summer 2014, ISIL
ISIL
controlled a third of Syria. It established itself as the dominant force of Syrian opposition, defeating Jabhat al-Nusra in Deir Ezzor Governorate and claiming control over most of Syria's oil and gas production.[519] The Syrian government did not begin to fight ISIL
ISIL
until June 2014 despite its having a presence in Syria
Syria
since April 2013, according to Kurdish officials.[520] According to IHS Markit, between April 2016 and April 2017, ISIL
ISIL
offensively fought the Syrian government 43% of times, Turkish-backed rebel groups 40% of times, and the Syrian Democratic Forces 17% of times.[521] ISIL
ISIL
was able to recruit more than 6,300 fighters in July 2014 alone.[522] In September 2014, reportedly some Syrian rebels signed a "non-aggression" agreement with ISIL
ISIL
in a suburb of Damascus, citing inability to deal with both ISIL
ISIL
and the Syrian Army's attacks at once.[523] Some Syrian rebels have, however, decried the news on the "non-aggression" pact. ISIL
ISIL
have also planted bombs in the ancient city area of Palmyra, a city with population of 50,000. Palmyra
Palmyra
is counted as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as it is home to some of the most extensive and best-preserved ancient Roman ruins in the world.[524] Having lost nearly half of their territory in Iraq
Iraq
since 2014, many more Islamic State leaders have begun to sell their property and sneak into Syria, further destabilizing the region.[525] North Syria
Syria
Federation (Rojava) Main article: Democratic Federation of Northern Syria Syrian Democratic Council Main article: Syrian Democratic Council The Syrian Democratic Council
Syrian Democratic Council
was established on 10 December 2015 in al-Malikiyah. It was co-founded by prominent human rights activist Haytham Manna and was intended as the political wing of the Syrian Democratic Forces. The council includes more than a dozen blocs and coalitions that support federalism in Syria, including the Movement for a Democratic Society, the Kurdish National Alliance in Syria, the Law–Citizenship–Rights Movement, and since September 2016 the Syria's Tomorrow Movement. The last group is led by former National Coalition president and Syrian National Council
Syrian National Council
Ahmad Jarba. In August 2016 the SDC opened a public office in al-Hasakah.[526] The Syrian Democratic Council
Syrian Democratic Council
was invited to participate in the international Geneva III peace talks on Syria
Syria
in March 2016. However, it rejected the invitation. Syrian Democratic Forces Main articles: Syrian Democratic Forces
Syrian Democratic Forces
and Rojava
Rojava
conflict

Kurds
Kurds
showing their support for the PYD in Afrin during the conflict

The Syrian Democratic Forces
Syrian Democratic Forces
(SDF) are an alliance of mainly Kurdish but also Arab, Syriac-Assyrian, and Turkmen militias with mainly left-wing and democratic confederalist political leanings. They are opposed to the Assad government, but have directed most of their efforts against Al-Nusra Front
Al-Nusra Front
and ISIL. The group formed in December 2015, led primarily by the predominantly Kurdish People's Protection Units
People's Protection Units
(YPG). Estimates of its size range from 55,000[527] to 80,000 fighters.[528] While largely Kurdish, it's estimated that about 40% of the fighters are non-Kurdish.[529] Kurds – mostly Sunni
Sunni
Muslims, with a small minority of Yezidis – represented 10% of Syria's population at the start of the uprising in 2011. They had suffered from decades of discrimination and neglect, being deprived of basic civil, cultural, economic, and social rights.[530]:7 When protests began, Assad's government finally granted citizenship to an estimated 200,000 stateless Kurds, in an effort to try and neutralize potential Kurdish opposition.[531] Despite this concession, most Kurds
Kurds
remain opposed to the government, hoping instead for a more decentralized Syria
Syria
based on federalism.[532] The Syriac Military Council, like many Christian militias (such as Khabour Guards, Nattoreh, and Sutoro), originally formed to defend Christian villages, but joined the Kurdish forces to retake Hasakah
Hasakah
from ISIS
ISIS
in late 2015[533] The Female Protection Forces of the Land Between the Two Rivers is an all-female force of Assyrian fighters in north east Syria
Syria
fighting ISIS
ISIS
alongside other Assyrian and Kurdish units.[534] Before the formation of the SDF, the YPG was the primary fighting force in the DFNS, and first entered this Syrian civil war as belligerent in July 2012 by capturing a town, Kobanî, that until then was under control of the Syrian Assad-government (see Syrian Kurdistan campaign). On 17 March 2016 the Syrian Democratic Council, the political wing of the SDF,[535] declared the creation of an autonomous federation in northern Syria.[536] U.S.-led coalition against ISIL See also: Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve, American-led intervention in Syria, and Turkish involvement in the Syrian Civil War A number of countries, including some individual NATO
NATO
members, have since September 2014 participated in air operations in Syria
Syria
that came to be overseen by the Combined Joint Task Force, set up by the US Central Command to coordinate military efforts against ISIL
ISIL
pursuant to their collectively undertaken commitments, including those of 3 December 2014.[537] Those who have conducted airstrikes in Syria include the United States, Australia, Bahrain, Canada, France, Jordan, The Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United Arab
Arab
Emirates, and the United Kingdom.[538] Some members are involved in the conflict beyond combating ISIL; Turkey
Turkey
has been accused of fighting against Kurdish forces in Syria
Syria
and Iraq, including intelligence collaborations with ISIL
ISIL
in some cases.[539] According to one intelligence adviser quoted by controversial journalist Seymour Hersh, the conclusion of a "highly classified assessment" carried out by the Defense Intelligence Agency
Defense Intelligence Agency
(DIA) and the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Joint Chiefs of Staff
in 2013 was that Turkey
Turkey
had effectively transformed the secret US arms program in support of moderate rebels, who no longer existed, into an indiscriminate program to provide technical and logistical support for all elements of the opposition, including Jabhat al-Nusra
Jabhat al-Nusra
and Islamic State.[507] Foreign involvement Main articles: Foreign involvement in the Syrian Civil War
War
and Foreign rebel fighters in the Syrian Civil War

Map of countries surrounding Syria
Syria
(red) with military involvement   Syria   Countries that support the Syrian government   Countries that support the Syrian rebels   Countries that are divided in their support

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.[540] The major parties supporting the Syrian Government
Syrian Government
are Russia, Iran
Iran
and Hezbollah. The main Syrian opposition
Syrian opposition
body – the Syrian coalition – receives political, logistic and military support from the United States, Britain and France.[541] The pro-government countries are involved in the war politically and logistically by providing military equipment, training and battle troops. The Syrian government has also received arms from Russia
Russia
and SIGINT
SIGINT
support directly from GRU,[542] in addition to significant political support from Russia.[543] Some Syrian rebels get training from the CIA
CIA
at bases in Qatar, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.[544] Under the aegis of operation Timber Sycamore and other clandestine activities, CIA
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.[545] The Syrian coalition also receives logistic and political support from Sunni states, most notably Turkey, Qatar
Qatar
and Saudi Arabia; all the three major supporting states however have not contributed any troops for direct involvement in the war, though Turkey
Turkey
was involved in border incidents with the Syrian Army. The Financial Times and The Independent reported that Qatar
Qatar
had funded the Syrian rebellion by as much as $3 billion.[546] It reported that Qatar
Qatar
was offering refugee packages of about $50,000 a year to defectors and family.[546] Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
has emerged as the main group to finance and arm the rebels.[547] According to Seymour Hersh, US intelligence estimates that the opposition is financed by Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
to the tune of $700 million a year (2014).[507] The designation of the FSA by the West as a moderate opposition faction has allowed it, under the CIA-run programmes,[280][281] to receive sophisticated weaponry and other military support from the U.S., Turkey
Turkey
and some Gulf countries that effectively increases the total fighting capacity of the Islamist rebels.[548][549] French television France
France
24 reported that the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, with perhaps 3,000 foreign jihadists among its ranks,[550] "receives private donations from the Gulf states."[551] It is estimated ISIL
ISIL
has sold oil for between $1m-4m per day principally to Turkish buyers, during at least six months in 2013, greatly helping its growth.[552] The Turkish government has been also accused of helping ISIL
ISIL
by turning a blind eye to illegal transfers of weapons, fighters, oil and pillaged antiquities across the southern border.[553] As of 2015[update], Qatar, Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
and Turkey
Turkey
are openly backing the Army of Conquest, an umbrella rebel group that reportedly includes an al-Qaeda linked al-Nusra Front and another Salafi coalition known as Ahrar ash-Sham, and Faylaq Al-Sham, a coalition of Muslim
Muslim
Brotherhood-linked rebel groups.[554][555] On 21 August 2014, two days after US photojournalist James Foley was beheaded, the U.S. military admitted a covert rescue attempt involving dozens of US Special
Special
Operations forces had been made to rescue Americans and other foreigners held captive in Syria
Syria
by ISIL militants. The rescue attempt is the first known US military ground action inside Syria. The resultant gunfight resulted in one US soldier being injured. The rescue was unsuccessful as the captives were not in the location targeted. On 11 September 2014 the US Congress expressed support to give President Obama the $500 million he wanted to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels. The question of whether the president has authority to continue airstrikes beyond the 60-day window granted by the War
War
Powers Resolution remained unresolved.[556][needs update] On 12 September, US Secretary of State John Kerry
John Kerry
met Turkish leaders to secure backing for US-led action against ISIL, but Ankara showed reluctance to play a frontline role. Kerry stated that it was "not appropriate" for Iran
Iran
to join talks on confronting ISIL.[557] The plans revealed in September also involve Iraq
Iraq
in targeting ISIL. US warplanes have launched 158 strikes in Iraq
Iraq
over the past five weeks while emphasizing a relatively narrow set of targets. The Pentagon's press secretary, John Kirby, said the air campaign in Iraq, which began 8 Aug, will enter a more aggressive phase.[558] On the other hand, according to Fanack, initial refusal from the West to support the Syrian liberal opposition has contributed to the emergence of extremist Sunni
Sunni
groups. These include ISIL
ISIL
and the Nusra Front, linked to al-Qaeda.[559] American and Turkish militaries announced a joint plan to remove Islamic State militants from a 100-kilometre (60 mi) strip along the Turkish border.[560] Foreign fighters have joined the conflict in opposition to Assad. While most of them are jihadists, some individuals, such as Mahdi al-Harati, have joined to support the Syrian opposition.[561] The ICSR estimates that 2,000–5,500 foreign fighters have gone to Syria
Syria
since the beginning of the protests, about 7–11 percent of whom came from Europe. It is also estimated that the number of foreign fighters does not exceed 10 percent of the opposition armed forces.[562] Another estimate puts the number of foreign jihadis at 15,000 by early 2014.[563] In October 2012, various Iraqi religious groups join the conflict in Syria
Syria
on both sides. Radical Sunnis from Iraq
Iraq
have traveled to Syria to fight against President Bashar al-Assad
Bashar al-Assad
and the Syrian government.[564] In December 2015, the Soufan Group estimated a total of 27,000–31,000 foreign fighters from 86 countries had travelled to Syria
Syria
and Iraq
Iraq
to join extremist groups.[565] Reporting, censoring and propaganda Main article: Media coverage of the Syrian Civil War The Syrian Civil War
War
is one of the most heavily documented wars in history, despite the extreme dangers that journalists face while in Syria.[566] International reactions Main article: International reactions to the Syrian Civil War See also: Vetoed UN resolutions on Syria

Esther Brimmer
Esther Brimmer
(U.S.) speaks at a United Nations
United Nations
Human Rights Council urgent debate on Syria, February 2012

During the early period of the civil war, The Arab
Arab
League, European Union, the United Nations,[567] 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.[568] 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
Arab
League and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation suspended Syria's membership. Russia
Russia
and China
China
vetoed Western-drafted United Nations
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.[569] Humanitarian aid Main article: Humanitarian aid during the Syrian Civil War 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.[570] 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.[571] The international humanitarian response to the conflict in Syria
Syria
is coordinated by the United Nations
United Nations
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) in accordance with General Assembly Resolution 46/182.[572] The primary framework for this coordination is the Syria
Syria
Humanitarian Assistance Response Plan (SHARP) which appealed for USD $1.41 billion to meet the humanitarian needs of Syrians affected by the conflict.[573] Official United Nations
United Nations
data on the humanitarian situation and response is available at an official website managed by UNOCHA Syria
Syria
(Amman).[574] UNICEF
UNICEF
is also working alongside these organizations to provide vaccinations and care packages to those in need.

US aid to Syrian opposition
Syrian opposition
forces, May 2013

USAID
USAID
and other government agencies in US delivered nearly $385 million of aid items to Syria
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.[575] Islamic Relief
Islamic Relief
has stocked 30 hospitals and sent hundreds of thousands of medical and food parcels.[576] Other countries in the region have also contributed various levels of aid. Iran
Iran
has been exporting between 500 and 800 tonnes of flour daily to Syria.[577] Israel
Israel
has provided treatment to 750 Syrians in a field hospital located in Golan Heights. Rebels say that 250 of their fighters received medical treatment there.[578] Syrian refugees make up one quarter of Lebanon's population, mostly consisting of women and children.[579] In addition, Russia
Russia
has said it created six humanitarian aid centers within Syria
Syria
to support 3000 refugees in 2016.[580] The World Health Organization
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 risk to countries to which they have fled.[581] 400,000 civilians are isolated by the fighting in eastern Ghouta, resulting in acutely malnourished children according to the United Nations
United Nations
Special Advisor, Jan Egeland, who urges the parties for medical evacuations. 55,000 civilians are also isolated in Berm where they have last seen humanitarian relief in the early summer.[582] 494 individuals are awaiting medical evacuations.[583] 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
Syria
were United States, European Commission, United Kingdom, Kuwait, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Japan, UAE, and Norway.[584] Impact Deaths Main article: Casualties of the Syrian Civil War

Total deaths over the course of the conflict in Syria
Syria
(18 March 2011 – 18 October 2013) based on data from the Syrian National Council[585]

On 2 January 2013, the United Nations
United Nations
stated that 60,000 had been killed since the civil war began, with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay
Navi Pillay
saying "The number of casualties is much higher than we expected, and is truly shocking."[586] Four months later, the UN's updated figure for the death toll had reached 80,000.[587] 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.[588][589] 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.[590] 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.[591] 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.[78] In addition, UNICEF
UNICEF
reported that over 500 children had been killed by early February 2012,[592] and another 400 children have been reportedly arrested and tortured in Syrian prisons;[593] 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.[594] In mid-October 2012, the opposition activist group SOHR reported the number of children killed in the conflict had risen to 2,300,[595] and in March 2013, opposition sources stated that over 5,000 children had been killed.[596] In January 2014, a report was released detailing the systematic killing of more than 11,000 detainees of the Syrian government.[597]

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.[598] 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).[599] Disease 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".[600] Refugee migration Main article: Refugees of the Syrian Civil War

Syrian refugees in Lebanon
Lebanon
living in cramped quarters (6 August 2012)

The violence in Syria
Syria
caused millions to flee their homes. As of March 2015, Al-Jazeera
Al-Jazeera
estimate 10.9 million Syrians, or almost half the population, have been displaced.[601] 3.8 million have been made refugees.[601] As of 2013[update], 1 in 3 of Syrian refugees (about 667,000 people) sought safety in Lebanon
Lebanon
(normally 4.8 million population).[602] Others have fled to Jordan, Turkey, and Iraq. Turkey
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
Turkey
in July 2011, shortly after the towns of Deraa, Homs, and Hama
Hama
were besieged.[603] In September 2014, the UN stated that the number of Syrian refugees had exceeded 3 million.[604] According to the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Sunnis are leaving for Lebanon
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. Additionally, "the West Bank is undergoing emigration pressures which will certainly be copied in Gaza if emigration is allowed".[605] Greek Catholic Patriarch Gregorios III Laham claims more than 450,000 Syrian Christians have been displaced by the conflict.[606] As of September 2016, the European Union
European Union
has reported that there are 13.5 million refugees in need of assistance in the country.[607] Human rights violations Main article: Human rights violations during the Syrian Civil War

Victims of the Ghouta
Ghouta
chemical attack

According 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".[608] According to three international lawyers,[609] 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.[610] Experts say this evidence is more detailed and on a far larger scale than anything else that has yet emerged from the 34-month crisis.[611] 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
Aleppo
and Hama.[612][613] In Yarmouk Camp
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.[612][614] 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.[615] ISIS
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
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
Aleppo
and Raqqa governorates, amounting to crimes against humanity", said the report from 27 August 2014.[616] Enforced disappearances and arbitrary detentions have also been a feature since the Syrian uprising began.[617] 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.[618] 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.[619] In February 2017, Amnesty International
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."[620] Three months later, the United States
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.[621] Amnesty International
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.[622] The Syrian government denied the allegations. ISIL
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
United States
operations in Iraq. Foley was kidnapped in Syria
Syria
in November 2012 by Shabiha militia.[623] ISIL
ISIL
also threatened to execute Steven Sotloff, who was kidnapped at the Syrian-Turkish border in August 2013.[624] There were reports ISIS
ISIS
captured a Japanese national, two Italian nationals, and a Danish national as well.[625] 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.[626] On 22 August 2014, the al-Nusra Front released a video of captured Lebanese soldiers and demanded Hezbollah withdraw from Syria
Syria
under threat of their execution.[627] Sectarian threats Main article: Sectarianism and minorities in the Syrian Civil War

Map of Syria's ethno-religious composition in 1976

The successive governments of Hafez and Bashar al-Assad
Bashar al-Assad
have been closely associated with the country's minority Alawite
Alawite
religious group,[628] an offshoot of Shia, whereas the majority of the population, and most of the opposition, is Sunni. Alawites
Alawites
started to be threatened and attacked by dominantly Sunni
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
Alawite
men of military age have been killed fighting in the Syrian civil war.[629] In May 2013, SOHR stated that out of 94,000 killed during the war, at least 41,000 were Alawites.[630] Many Syrian Christians reported that they had fled after they were targeted by the anti-government rebels.[631] (See: Sectarianism and minorities in the Syrian Civil War#Christians.) Al Jazeera
Al Jazeera
reported that "The Druze
Druze
accuse rebels of committing atrocities against their community in Syria
Syria
... Syria's Druze
Druze
minority has largely remained loyal to President Bashar al-Assad
Bashar al-Assad
since the war began in 2011."[632] As militias and non-Syrian Shia—motivated by pro- Shia
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
Sunni
community to achieve not just a territorial victory but a sectarian one as well”[633]—allegedly occupying mosques and replacing Sunni
Sunni
icons with pictures of Shia
Shia
leaders.[633] 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".[633] Crime wave

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
Aleppo
where Syrian soldiers had been seen eating.[634] By July 2012, the human rights group Women Under Siege
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.[635] 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
Syria
since the formation of the organization in 2013", as reported by the Institute for the Study of War.[636] 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.[430] 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.[430] Cultural heritage Main articles: Tourism in Syria, List of heritage sites damaged during the Syrian Civil War, and Destruction of cultural heritage by ISIL 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
Arameans
in the first millennium BC.[637]

The Temple of Bel
Temple of Bel
in Palmyra, which was destroyed by ISIL
ISIL
in August 2015

As 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
Syria
have been damaged.[601] Destruction of antiquities has been caused by shelling, army entrenchment, and looting at various tells, museums, and monuments.[638] 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.[639] 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
Aleppo
was heavily damaged during battles being fought within the district, while Palmyra
Palmyra
and Krak des Chevaliers
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.[640] In 2014 and 2015, following the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq
Iraq
and the Levant, several sites in Syria
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.[641] The 13th-century Palmyra
Palmyra
Castle was extensively damaged by retreating militants during the Palmyra
Palmyra
offensive in March 2016.[642] ISIL
ISIL
also destroyed ancient statues in Raqqa,[643] and a number of churches, including the Armenian Genocide
Armenian Genocide
Memorial Church in Deir ez-Zor.[644] 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.[645] Spillover Main article: Spillover of the Syrian Civil War In June 2014, members of the Islamic State of Iraq
Iraq
and the Levant (ISIL) crossed the border from Syria
Syria
into northern Iraq, and have taken 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
Lebanon
on several occasions. There were repeated incidents of sectarian violence in the North Governorate
North Governorate
of Lebanon
Lebanon
between supporters and opponents of the Syrian government, as well as armed clashes between Sunnis and Alawites
Alawites
in Tripoli.[646] Further information: Iraqi Civil War
War
(2014–present) and Timeline of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
events in 2014 Starting on 5 June 2014, ISIL
ISIL
seized swathes of territory in Iraq. As of 2014, the Syrian Arab Air Force
Syrian Arab Air Force
used airstrikes targeted against ISIL
ISIL
in Raqqa
Raqqa
and al- Hasakah
Hasakah
in coordination with the Iraqi government.[647] Peace efforts Main articles: Syrian peace process
Syrian peace process
and Syrian Civil War
War
ceasefires

Syria
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
Arab
League, the United Nations, and other actors.[648] The Syrian government has refused efforts to negotiate with what it describes as armed terrorist groups.[649] On 1 February 2016, the UN announced the formal start of the UN-mediated Geneva Syria
Syria
peace talks[650] that had been agreed on by the International Syria
Syria
Support Group (ISSG) in Vienna. On 3 February 2016, the UN Syria
Syria
peace mediator suspended the talks.[651] 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
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.[652] 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
Iran
and Turkey
Turkey
supporting the ceasefire agreement brokered in late December 2016.[653] The Astana
Astana
Process talks was billed by a Russian official as a complement to, rather than replacement, of the United Nations-led Geneva Process talks.[653] On 4 May 2017, at the fourth round of the Astana
Astana
talks, representatives of Russia, Iran, and Turkey
Turkey
signed a memorandum whereby four "de-escalation zones" in Syria
Syria
would be established, effective of 6 May 2017.[654][655] Depictions Films

Ladder to Damascus
Damascus
(2013) Sniper: Legacy (2014) Phantom (2015) The Father (2016)

Documentaries

The White Helmets (2016), which won the 2017 Oscar for Best Documentary Short. The battle for Syria. Sources: TV air footage (video documentary + English subtitles The battle for Syria
Syria
on YouTube, official video documentary and the official text of the [16]).VGTRK Syrian diary. Sources: TV air footage (video documentary + English subtitles Syrian diary on YouTube), official video documentary of the [17].VGTRK Last Men in Aleppo
Aleppo
(2017), nominated for Best Documentary Feature at the 90th Academy Awards.

Video games

Endgame: Syria
Syria
(2012) Syrian Warfare (2017) Holy Defence (2018) [656]

See also

Syrian Civil War
War
portal

Terrorism in Syria Islamist
Islamist
uprising in Syria
Syria
from 1976 until 1982 Iraqi Civil War
War
(2014 to present) Yemeni Civil War
War
(2015 to present) List of modern conflicts in the Middle East List of ongoing armed conflicts List of proxy wars List of wars and battles involving al-Qaeda List of wars by death toll List of wars involving Iran List of wars involving Syria Syrian Civil War
War
ceasefires

References

^ " Iraq
Iraq
conducts first airstrikes against ISIS
ISIS
in Syria". CNN. February 24, 2017.  ^ "Trump ends CIA
CIA
arms support for anti-Assad Syria
Syria
rebels: U.S. officials". Reuters. 19 July 2017.  ^ Watson, Ivan; Tuysuz, Gul; CNN
CNN
(29 October 2014). "Meet America's newest allies: Syria's Kurdish minority". CNN. Retrieved 4 November 2017.  ^ A. Jaunger (30 July 2017). "US increases military support to Kurdish-led forces in Syria". ARA News. Retrieved 1 January 2018 – via Inside Syria
Syria
Media Center.  ^ Jamie Dettmer (9 June 2016). " France
France
Deploys Special
Special
Forces in Syria as IS Loses Ground". VOA. Retrieved 1 January 2018.  ^ "U.S.-backed fighters poised to cut key ISIS
ISIS
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Aleppo
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Syria
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War
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Syrian Arab Republic
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Syria
death toll at least 93,000, says UN". BBC
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Syria
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Syria
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Syria
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(22 August 2014). "More than 191,000 dead in Syria
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is Reshaping the Region". Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. Retrieved 19 June 2014.  ^ "Syrian Civil War
War
Causes One-Third of Country's Christians to Flee Their Homes". The Algemeiner Journal. 18 October 2013. ^ "Syrian Refugees".  ^ "UN must refer Syria
Syria
war crimes to ICC: Amnesty". GlobalPost. Archived from the original on 16 August 2013. Retrieved 20 March 2014.  ^ 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 ^ "foreignaffairs.house.gov". Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 2 October 2014.  ^ "EXCLUSIVE: Gruesome Syria
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photos may prove torture by Assad regime". CNN. 21 January 2014. Retrieved 21 January 2014.  ^ a b "Report of the independent international commission of inquiry on the Syrian Arab
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and Isis committing war crimes, says UN". 27 August 2014. Retrieved 29 August 2014.  ^ "syrias disappeared". BBC
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News. 11 November 2014. Retrieved 11 November 2014.  ^ Loveluck, Louisa (5 November 2015). "Amnesty accuses Syrian regime of 'disappearing' tens of thousands". telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 30 June 2016.  ^ Monitor: 60,000 dead in Syria
Syria
government jails Al Jazeera ^ "Syria: 13,000 secretly hanged in Saydnaya military prison – shocking new report".  ^ "US accuses Syria
Syria
of killing thousands of prisoners and burning the dead bodies in large crematorium outside Damascus". Washington Post. Retrieved 15 May 2017.  Harris, Gardiner (15 May 2017). " Syria
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Prison Crematory Is Hiding Mass Executions, U.S. Says". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 15 May 2017.  ^ Barnard, Gardiner Harris, Anne; Gladstone, Rick (15 May 2017). "Syrian Crematory Is Hiding Mass Killings of Prisoners, U.S. Says" – via NYTimes.com.  ^ Curt Nickisch (3 May 2013). "N.H. Family: Missing Journalist James Foley In Syrian Prison". WBUR. Retrieved 2 October 2014.  ^ Polly Mosendz. " ISIL
ISIL
Beheads American Photojournalist James Foley". The Wire. Retrieved 2 October 2014.  ^ Martin Chulov. "Islamic State militants seize four more foreign hostages in Syria". the Guardian. Retrieved 2 October 2014.  ^ "James Foley's killers pose many threats to local, international journalists". Committee to Protect Journalists. 20 August 2014. Archived from the original on 21 August 2014. Retrieved 21 August 2014.  ^ "Captured soldiers: They will kill us, if Hezbollah
Hezbollah
remains in Syria". The Daily Star Newspaper – Lebanon. Retrieved 2 October 2014.  ^ Behari, Elad (23 December 2011). "Syria: Sunnis Threatening to Massacre Minority Alawites". Arutz Sheva. Retrieved 11 March 2011.  ^ Sherlock, Ruth (7 April 2015). "In Syria's war, Alawites
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pay heavy price for loyalty to Bashar al-Assad". London: The Daily Telegraph.  ^ Karouny, Mariam (14 May 2013). " Syria
Syria
Death Toll Likely As High As 120,000, Group Says". Reuters. Retrieved 6 October 2013.  ^ Dettmet, Jamie (19 November 2013). "Syria's Christians Flee Kidnappings, Rape, Executions". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 20 November 2013.  ^ " Druze
Druze
attack Israeli ambulance carrying wounded Syrians". Al Jazeera. 23 June 2015.  ^ a b c Nelson, Lara (18 November 2015). "The Shia
Shia
jihad and the death of Syria's army". Middle East Eye. Retrieved 11 October 2016. 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.  ^ Cave, Damein (9 August 2012). "Crime Wave Engulfs Syria
Syria
as Its Cities Reel From War". The New York Times. Retrieved 26 August 2012.  ^ "The ultimate assault: Charting Syria's use of rape to terrorize its people". Women Under Siege. 11 July 2012. Retrieved 27 August 2012.  ^ Kozak, Christopher (26 May 2015). "The Regime's Military Capabilities: Part 1". ISW. Retrieved 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
Syria
since the formation of the organization in 2013.  ^ "Turkish strikes 'damage ancient temple'". BBC
BBC
News. 2018. Retrieved 2018-01-30.  ^ Cunliffe, Emma. "Damage to the Soul: Syria's cultural heritage in conflict". Durham University
Durham University
and the Global Heritage Fund. 1 May 2012. ^ Fisk, Robert. "Syria's ancient treasures pulverised". The Independent. 5 August 2012. ^ Barnard, Anne (16 April 2014). "Syrian War
War
Takes Heavy Toll at a Crossroad of Cultures". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 April 2014.  ^ "Palmyra's Temple of Bel
Temple of Bel
destroyed, says UN". BBC
BBC
News. 1 September 2015. Retrieved 3 September 2015.  ^ Said, H.; Raslan, Rasha; Sabbagh, Hazem (26 March 2016). "Palmyra Castle partially damaged due to ISIS
ISIS
acts, plans to restore it to its former glory". Syrian Arab
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News Agency. Archived from the original on 27 March 2016.  ^ "Threats to Cultural Heritage in Iraq
Iraq
and Syria". US Department of State. 23 September 2014. Retrieved 3 September 2015.  ^ Hayrumyan, Naira (24 September 2014). "Middle East Terror: Memory of Armenian Genocide
Armenian Genocide
victims targeted by ISIS
ISIS
militants". ArmeniaNow. Retrieved 3 September 2015.  ^ David Batty (22 June 2013). "Syrian art smuggled from the midst of civil war to show in London". The Guardian.  ^ Cave, Damien (24 August 2012). "Syrian War
War
Plays Out Along a Street in Lebanon". The New York Times.  ^ " Syria
Syria
pounds ISIS
ISIS
bases in coordination with Iraq". The Daily Star Newspaper – Lebanon. Retrieved 1 April 2015.  ^ Lundgren, Magnus (2016). "Mediation in Syria: initiatives, strategies, and obstacles, 2011–2016". Contemporary Security Policy. 37: 273–288.  ^ "Syria's Assad says he will not negotiate with armed groups".  "Assad's priority to defeat 'terrorism' before elections: Russian lawmaker".  ^ "U.N. announces start of Syria
Syria
peace talks as government troops advance". Reuters. 1 February 2016. Retrieved 2 February 2016.  ^ "Envoy suspended Syria
Syria
talks over Russian escalation: U.N. official". Reuters. 3 February 2016. Retrieved 4 February 2016.  ^ "Syria's Assad says hopes Geneva talks lead to concrete results: Kremlin". Reuters. 14 March 2016.  " Syria
Syria
talks to tackle Bashar al-Assad's presidency".  ^ a b "Russian negotiator positive after 'birth' of Astana
Astana
Syria". Reuters.  ^ РФ, Турция и Иран подписали меморандум о создании в Сирии зон деэскалации Interfax, 4 May 2017. ^ "Russia, Turkey
Turkey
and Iran
Iran
continue cooperation on de-escalation zones in Syria". TASS. 23 June 2017.  ^ "New Video Game Lets You Kill ISIS
ISIS
While Fighting as Hezbollah
Hezbollah
in Syria
Syria
and Lebanon". 23 February 2018. 

Further reading

Hinnebusch, Raymond (2012). "Syria: From 'Authoritarian Upgrading' to Revolution?". International Affairs. 88 (1): 95–113. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2346.2012.01059.x.  International Crisis Group (13 July 2011). "Popular Protest in North Africa and the Middle East (VII): The Syrian Regimes Slow-Motion Suicide" (PDF). Middle East/North Africa Report N°109. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 July 2011. Retrieved 22 July 2011.  Landis, Joshua (2012). "The Syrian Uprising of 2011: Why the Asad Regime Is Likely to Survive to 2013". Middle East Policy. 19 (1): 72–84. doi:10.1111/j.1475-4967.2012.00524.x.  Lawson, Fred Haley, ed. (1 February 2010). Demystifying Syria. Saqi. ISBN 978-0-86356-654-7.  Rashdan, Abdelrahman. Syrians Crushed in a Complex International Game. OnIslam.net. 21 March 2012. Retrieved 28 May 2012. Van Dam, Nikolaos (15 July 2011). The Struggle for Power in Syria: Politics and Society under Asad and the Ba'ath Party. I. B. Tauris. ISBN 1-84885-760-8.  van Dam, Nikolaos (2017). Destroying a Nation: The Civil War
War
in Syria. I.B. Tauris. ISBN 9781786722485.  Malek, Alia (2017). The Home That Was Our Country: A Memoir of Syria. PublicAffairs. ISBN 9781568585321.  Pearlman, Wendy (2017). We Crossed a Bridge and It Trembled: Voices from Syria. HarperCollins. ISBN 9780062654458.  Wright, Robin (2008). Dreams and Shadows: The Future of the Middle East. New York: Penguin Press. pp. 212–261. ISBN 1-59420-111-0.  Ziadeh, Radwan (2011). Power and Policy in Syria: Intelligence Services, Foreign Relations and Democracy in the Modern Middle East. London: I. B. Tauris. ISBN 978-1-84885-434-5.  Cordesman, Anthony "Failed State Wars" in Syria
Syria
and Iraq
Iraq
(III): Stability and Conflict in Syria
Syria
Center for Strategic and International Studies. 2 March 2016. Retrieved 20 March 2016.

External links

Find more aboutthe Syrian Civil Warat's sister projects

Media from Wikimedia Commons News from Wikinews

Interviews

Fox News
Fox News
exclusive interview with Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad Fox News, 18 September 2013 Interview with Bashar Assad: 'In the End, a Lie Is a Lie' Der Spiegel, 7 October 2013 President Bashar al-Assad’s interview with Agence France
France
Presse AFP 20-01-2014 20 January 2014 A discussion of the causes of the civil war at the United Nations University for Peace. First ever broadcast interview with Jabhat al Nusra founder Abu Mohammed al-Joulani

Supranational government bodies

FAO – Syria
Syria
crisis

Human rights bodies

The ICRC in Syria, International Committee of the Red Cross

Media

Syria's war at BBC
BBC
News Syrian uprising: A year in turmoil at The Washington Post Syria
Syria
Pulse collected news and commentary at Al Monitor Latest Syria
Syria
developments at NOW Lebanon " Syria
Syria
collected news and commentary". The Guardian.  Syria
Syria
collected news and commentary at The New York Times Syria
Syria
news, all the latest and breaking Syria
Syria
news at The Daily Telegraph Syria
Syria
collected coverage at Al Jazeera
Al Jazeera
English Syria
Syria
collected news at Intelligence Online Interactive Map of the Syrian Civil War Syria
Syria
Deeply at News Deeply Maps of Europe and Syrian Civil War
War
(omniatlas.com)

v t e

Syrian Civil War

Part of the Arab Spring
Arab Spring
and Arab
Arab
Winter

Background Timeline

Background

1963 coup d'état 1966 coup d'état 1970 "Corrective Revolution" 1979–82 Islamic uprising 1999 Latakia
Latakia
protests 2000–01 Damascus
Damascus
Spring 2004 Qamishli riots Syrian occupation of Lebanon 2005 Damascus
Damascus
Declaration Human rights in Syria

2011 (Jan–Apr • May–Aug • Sep–Dec)

Death of Hamza Ali Al-Khateeb Siege
Siege
of Daraa Siege
Siege
of Baniyas Talkalakh siege Siege
Siege
of Rastan and Talbiseh Jisr ash-Shugur operation Siege
Siege
of Hama Siege
Siege
of Homs Jabal al-Zawiya operation Siege
Siege
of Latakia Deir ez-Zor
Deir ez-Zor
Clashes Rif Dimashq clashes

Battle of Zabadani Battle of Douma

Daraa
Daraa
Governorate clashes First Battle of Rastan Shayrat and Tiyas airbase ambush Idlib
Idlib
Governorate clashes Jabal al-Zawiya massacres

2012 (Jan–Apr • May–Aug • Sep–Dec)

al-Midan bombing Second Battle of Rastan First Idlib
Idlib
operation First Battle of Idlib First Battle of al-Qusayr Second Idlib
Idlib
operation

Battle of Taftanaz

Third Battle of Rastan Houla massacre Battle of al-Haffah Al-Qubeir massacre Battle of Tremseh Battle of Damascus

Damascus
Damascus
bombing

Battle of Aleppo

Battle of Anadan Siege
Siege
of Base 46

Al-Hasakah Governorate
Al-Hasakah Governorate
campaign (2012–13) First Rif Dimashq offensive

Darayya massacre

Battle of Khirbet al-Joz Battle of Maarrat al-Nu'man (2012) First Siege
Siege
of Wadi Deif Battle of Harem Second Rif Dimashq offensive

Battle of Darayya

Aqrab massacre First Hama
Hama
offensive

Halfaya massacre

Battle of Darayya Quneitra Governorate clashes Talbiseh bakery massacre

2013 (Jan–Apr • May–Dec)

Battle of Safira Battle of Shadadeh Damascus
Damascus
offensive Raqqa campaign (2012–13)
Raqqa campaign (2012–13)
(Battle of Raqqa
Raqqa
(March 2013)) Daraa
Daraa
offensive Third Rif Dimashq offensive

Battle of Jdaidet al-Fadl

Ghouta
Ghouta
chemical attack Al-Qusayr offensive

Second Battle of al-Qusayr

Bayda and Baniyas massacres Second Hama
Hama
offensive Hatla massacre Khan al-Assal chemical attack Khan al-Assal massacre Adra massacre Battle of Ras al-Ayn Battle of Tell Abyad Fourth Rif Dimashq offensive Aleppo
Aleppo
offensive

2014 (Jan–Jul • Aug–Dec)

First Inter-Rebel Conflict

Battle of Markada First Deir ez-Zor
Deir ez-Zor
Offensive

Battle of Mork 2nd Daraa
Daraa
Offensive Maan massacre Al-Otaiba ambush 4th Idlib
Idlib
Offensive Battle of Hosn 2nd Latakia
Latakia
Offensive Battle of Al-Malihah Kafr Zita chemical attack Second Siege
Siege
of Wadi Deif 2nd Qalamoun Offensive

Battle of Arsal

First Battle of the Shaer gas field Eastern Syria
Syria
Offensive

Battle for Tabqa Air base

Northern Aleppo
Aleppo
offensive (February–July 2014) 3rd Hama
Hama
Offensive Quneitra Offensive 6th Rif Dimashq offensive Siege
Siege
of Kobanî 3rd Daraa
Daraa
offensive 2nd Al-Safira offensive Idlib
Idlib
Raid Second Inter-Rebel Conflict Second Battle of the Shaer gas field Battle of Al-Shaykh Maskin 2nd Deir ez-Zor
Deir ez-Zor
offensive

2015 (Jan–Jul • Aug–Dec)

An-26 crash 4th Daraa
Daraa
Offensive Southern Syria
Syria
Offensive Eastern al- Hasakah
Hasakah
offensive 1st Battle of Sarrin 2nd Battle of Sarrin Battle of Bosra 5th Idlib
Idlib
Offensive Second Battle of Idlib Battle of Nasib Border Crossing 2nd Battle of Yarmouk Camp Western al- Hasakah
Hasakah
offensive Palmyra
Palmyra
offensive (May 2015) 2015 Qamishli bombings Tell Abyad offensive Kobanî
Kobanî
massacre Quneitra offensive Palmyra
Palmyra
offensive (July–August 2015) 7th Rif Dimashq offensive Northwestern Syria
Syria
offensive 2015 Aleppo
Aleppo
offensive 2015 Al-Hawl offensive Homs
Homs
offensive (November–December 2015) East Aleppo
Aleppo
offensive (2015–16) Latakia
Latakia
offensive (2015–2016) Tishrin Dam offensive 2015 Russian Sukhoi Su-24 shootdown

2016 (Jan–Apr • May–Aug • Sep–Dec)

Second Battle of Al-Shaykh Maskin 3rd Deir ez-Zor
Deir ez-Zor
offensive Sayyidah Zaynab bombings Northern Aleppo
Aleppo
offensive (February 2016) Ithriyah- Raqqa
Raqqa
offensive (February–March 2016) Al-Shaddadi offensive (2016) February Homs
Homs
bombings February Sayyidah Zaynab bombings 2016 Khanasir offensive Battle of Tel Abyad Battle of Maarrat al-Nu'man (2016) Battle of Qamishli (April 2016) Northern Aleppo
Aleppo
offensive (March–June 2016) Palmyra
Palmyra
offensive (March 2016) East Ghouta
Ghouta
inter-rebel conflict (April–May 2016) 8th Rif Dimashq offensive Northern Raqqa
Raqqa
offensive (May 2016) May 2016 Jableh and Tartous bombings Ithriyah- Raqqa
Raqqa
offensive (June 2016) 9th Rif Dimashq offensive Manbij
Manbij
offensive

Tokhar

2016 Southern Aleppo
Aleppo
campaign Battle of al-Rai (August 2016) 2016 Aleppo
Aleppo
summer campaign Western al-Bab offensive (September 2016) 5 September 2016 Syria
Syria
bombings September 2016 Deir ez-Zor
Deir ez-Zor
air raid September 2016 Urum al-Kubra Aid Convoy attack September Aleppo
Aleppo
offensive 2016 Dabiq offensive Western al-Bab offensive (October–November 2016) Aleppo
Aleppo
offensive (September–October 2016) Khan al-Shih offensive (October–November 2016) Raqqa
Raqqa
campaign (2016–present) Battle of al-Bab Aleppo
Aleppo
offensive (November–December 2016) Palmyra
Palmyra
offensive (December 2016)

2017 (Jan–Apr • May–Aug • Sep–Dec)

Wadi Barada
Barada
offensive (2016–17) January 2017 Azaz
Azaz
bombing Syrian Desert
Syrian Desert
campaign (December 2016–April 2017) Idlib
Idlib
Governorate clashes (2017) Deir ez-Zor
Deir ez-Zor
offensive (January–February 2017) Daraa
Daraa
offensive (February–June 2017) Southwestern Daraa
Daraa
offensive (February 2017) Qaboun offensive (2017) Palmyra
Palmyra
offensive (2017) East Aleppo
Aleppo
offensive (January–April 2017) March 2017 Damascus
Damascus
bombings 2017 al-Jinah airstrike Hama
Hama
offensive (March–April 2017) Battle of Tabqa (2017) Khan Shaykhun chemical attack 2017 Shayrat missile strike 2017 Aleppo
Aleppo
suicide car bombing April 2017 Turkish airstrikes in Syria
Syria
and Iraq East Ghouta
Ghouta
inter-rebel conflict (April–May 2017) Syrian Desert
Syrian Desert
campaign (May–July 2017) Maskanah Plains offensive East Hama
Hama
offensive Battle of Raqqa
Raqqa
(2017) 9th Daraa Southern Raqqa
Raqqa
offensive (June 2017) 2017 Jobar offensive Quneitra offensive (June 2017) Idlib
Idlib
Governorate clashes (July 2017) Central Syria
Syria
campaign (2017) 4nd Qalamoun Deir ez-Zor
Deir ez-Zor
offensive (September 2017–March 2018) Hama
Hama
offensive (September 2017) Northwestern Syria
Syria
campaign (October 2017–February 2018) Turkish military
Turkish military
operation in Idlib
Idlib
Governorate Battle of Harasta (2017–18) Eastern Syria
Syria
campaign (September–December 2017)

2017 Euphrates
Euphrates
Crossing offensive 2017 Mayadin offensive Battle of Deir ez-Zor
Deir ez-Zor
(September–November 2017) 2017 Abu Kamal
Abu Kamal
offensive

Beit Jinn offensive

2018 (Jan–Apr • May–Aug • Sep–Dec)

Turkish military
Turkish military
operation in Afrin Battle of Khasham Tenth Rif Dimashq offensive Southern Damascus
Damascus
offensive (January–February 2018) Syrian Liberation Front– Tahrir al-Sham
Tahrir al-Sham
conflict Southern Damascus
Damascus
offensive (March 2018) Eastern Syria
Syria
campaign (March 2018–present)

Spillover

Spillover into Lebanon

Lebanese–Syrian border clashes Battle of Sidon Iranian Embassy Bombing Northern Lebanon
Lebanon
Clashes 3nd Qalamoun

Syrian-Turkish border clashes

December 2011 Syrian–Turkish border clash Turkish aircraft shootdown October 2012 Syrian-Turkish border clashes Reyhanlı bombings January 2014 Turkish airstrike in Syria

Israeli–Syrian ceasefire line incidents

March 2017 incident February 2018 incident

Jordanian-Syrian border clashes

April 2014 Jordanian–Syrian border airstrike

Spillover into Iraq

Akashat ambush Operation al-Shabah April 2014 Iraqi–Syrian border airstrike

Assassination of Andrei Karlov Turkish military
Turkish military
intervention in Syria
Syria
(August 2016–March 2017) 2017 Russian Air Force
Russian Air Force
Al-Bab
Al-Bab
incident 2017 Deir ez-Zor
Deir ez-Zor
missile strike

Involved parties

Syria

Ba'ath Government

Arab
Arab
Socialist Ba'ath Party
Ba'ath Party
Syria
Syria
Region Syrian Social Nationalist Party Arab
Arab
Socialist Movement Syrian Communist Party

Military & Militias

Syrian Armed Forces Syrian Resistance PFLP-GC al-Quds Brigade Palestine Liberation Army Smaller groups

Support for the government

Hezbollah
Hezbollah
involvement Iranian involvement

Liwa Fatemiyoun

Russia's involvement

medical facility targeting military intervention Wagner Group

Russia–Syria–Iran– Iraq
Iraq
coalition Popular Mobilization Forces
Popular Mobilization Forces
(Iraq)

Syrian opposition, Al-Qaeda affiliates and allies

NCSR Government

National Coalition

Local Co-ordination Committees

Syrian National Council Supreme Council of the Syrian Revolution National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change Syrian Revolution General Commission Syrian Support Group Adopt a Revolution Syrian Patriotic Group

Opposition militias

SNA Syrian Liberation Front Army of Free Men Abu Amara Battalions Covert Special
Special
Tasks Force Army of Glory Elite Army 2nd Army Army of Victory Martyrs of Islam Brigade National Liberation Movement Central Division 1st Coastal Division Free Idlib
Idlib
Army 23rd Division Army of Islam al-Rahman Legion 1st Brigade of Damascus Southern Front Army of Free Tribes Criterion Brigades National Front for the Liberation of Syria Unified Syrian Army Company of the People of the Levant Authenticity and Development Front Al-Qaratayn Martyrs Brigade Revolutionary Commando Army Elite Division Smaller groups

al-Qaeda affiliates and allies

Tahrir al-Sham Turkistan Islamic Party in Syria Caucasus Emirate Ajnad al-Kavkaz Junud al-Makhdi Malhama Tactical Ansar al-Islam
Ansar al-Islam
splinter faction Smaller groups

Allied groups (to the Opposition militias)

Muslim
Muslim
Brotherhood of Syria Grey Wolves Smaller groups

Support for the Opposition

American-led intervention

American rescue mission

Jordanian intervention Qatar Saudi Arabia Turkey

Rojava
Rojava
(SDF)

Rojava
Rojava
government

Democratic Union Party Kurdish National Council Smaller political parties

SDF groups

People's Protection Units Women's Protection Units Anti-Terror Units Al-Sanadid Forces Army of Revolutionaries Elite Forces SDF Military Councils Syriac Military Council
Syriac Military Council
(Bethnahrain Women's Protection Forces Jabhat Thuwar al-Raqqa Raqqa
Raqqa
Hawks Brigade Northern Democratic Brigade Free Officers Union Liberation Brigade faction Shahba Forces Liwa Owais al-Qorani
Liwa Owais al-Qorani
remnants Martyr Amara Arab
Arab
Women's Battalion Battalion of Karachok Martyrs Revolutionary Forces Khabour Guards Nattoreh Smaller groups

Allied groups

Patriotic Union of Kurdistan Kurdistan Workers' Party International Freedom Battalion International Anti-Fascist Battalion Sinjar Resistance Units Êzîdxan Women's Units Smaller groups

ISIL

Islamic State of Iraq
Iraq
and the Levant

Military of ISIL Dokumacılar Khalid ibn al-Walid Army Liwa al-Aqsa Group of the One and Only Liwa Dawud

People

Ammar Abdulhamid Ali al-Abdallah Adnan al-Aroor al-Assad family

Bashar Maher Rifaat Rami Makhlouf Hafez Makhlouf

Riad al-Asaad Anwar al-Bunni Fahd Jassem al-Freij Haitham al-Maleh Moaz al-Khatib Kamal al-Labwani Hamza al-Khateeb Tal al-Mallohi Fida al-Sayed Riad al-Turk Khaled Khoja Ammar al-Qurabi Suheir Atassi Ali Sadreddine Al-Bayanouni Aref Dalila Farid Ghadry Burhan Ghalioun Razan Ghazzawi Ghassan Hitto Salim Idris Randa Kassis Abdul Halim Khaddam Michel Kilo Bassma Kodmani Ali Habib Mahmud Ali Mahmoud Othman Ibrahim Qashoush Dawoud Rajiha Yassin al-Haj Saleh Bouthaina Shaaban Adib Shishakly Abdulbaset Sieda Riad Seif Fadwa Soliman Mohamad Anas Haitham Soueid Yaser Tabbara Razan Zaitouneh Rami Jarrah Abdurrahman Mustafa

Issues Peace process Related topics Elections

Issues

Casualties Chemical weapons Cities and towns Damaged heritage sites Foreign involvement Human rights violations Humanitarian aid International reactions International demonstrations and protests Massacres Refugees (European migrant crisis) Sectarianism and minorities Spillover into Lebanon Syrian reactions

Peace process

Arab
Arab
League monitors Friends of Syria
Syria
Group Kofi Annan
Kofi Annan
peace plan

UN Supervision Mission

Lakhdar Brahimi peace plan U.S.– Russia
Russia
peace proposals on Syria 39th G8 summit UN Security Council Resolution 2118 Geneva II Conference 2015 Zabadani
Zabadani
cease-fire agreement 2015 Vienna
Vienna
talks 2016 Geneva talks

Related topics

2014 Syrian detainee report Exclusive mandate Fourth Extraordinary Session of the Islamic Summit Conference International recognition of the Syrian National Council Syria
Syria
Files Syrian media coverage The Return to Homs Silvered Water, Syria
Syria
Self-Portrait Sunnistan Syrian presidential election, 2014

Elections and referendums held during the civil war

Syrian local elections, 2011 Syrian constitutional referendum, 2012 Syrian presidential election, 2014 Rojava
Rojava
local elections, 2015 Syrian parliamentary election, 2016 Northern Syria
Syria
local elections, 2017

Category

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Arab
Arab
Spring

"Ash-shab yurid isqat an-nizam"

Events by country

Algeria Bahrain Djibouti Egypt Iraq Jordan Kuwait Lebanon Libya Mauritania Morocco Oman Palestine Saudi Arabia Sudan Syria Tunisia Western Sahara Yemen

Groups

Bahrain: Al Wefaq February 14 Youth Coalition

Egypt: April 6 Youth Movement Kefaya Muslim
Muslim
Brotherhood (FJP) National Association for Change National Democratic Party National Salvation Front Revolutionary Socialists Shayfeencom The Third Square Ultras Ahlawy

Libya: National Liberation Army National Transitional Council

Mauritania: February 25th Movement

Saudi Arabia: Women to drive movement CDHRAP Society for Development and Change

Syria: Arab
Arab
Socialist Ba'ath Party

Regional Command National Command

National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces Free Syrian Army Syrian Revolution General Commission Syrian National Council National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change Hizb ut-Tahrir Foreign fighters

Tunisia: Constitutional Democratic Rally Ennahda Movement Popular Front Tunisian General Labour Union Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet

Yemen: Alliance of Yemeni Tribes Al-Islah Hashid Houthis General People's Congress Hiraak

Notable people

Women in the Arab
Arab
Spring

Algeria: Abdelaziz Bouteflika Ahmed Ouyahia

Bahrain: Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa Hasan Mushaima Ali Salman Ali Jawad al-Sheikh

Egypt: Hosni Mubarak Omar Suleiman Mohamed Hussein Tantawi Ahmed Nazif Ahmed Shafik Wael Ghonim Kamal Ganzouri Khaled Mohamed Saeed Gihan Ibrahim Essam Sharaf Mohamed ElBaradei Mohamed Morsi Hesham Qandil Bassem Youssef

Jordan: King Abdullah II Marouf al-Bakhit Samir Rifai

Libya: Muammar Gaddafi Saif al-Islam Gaddafi Mustafa Abdul Jalil Mahmoud Jibril Mohammed Nabbous

Mauritania: Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz Moulaye Ould Mohamed Laghdaf

Morocco: Mohammed VI Abbas El Fassi

Saudi Arabia: Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud Khaled al-Johani Manal al-Sharif Nimr al-Nimr

Sudan: Omar al-Bashir Hassan al-Turabi

Syria: Bashar al-Assad Muhammad Naji al-Otari Adel Safar Riyad Farid Hijab Wael Nader al-Halqi Maher al-Assad Burhan Ghalioun Moaz al-Khatib Hamza Ali Al-Khateeb

Tunisia: Zine El Abidine Ben Ali Mohamed Ghannouchi Moncef Marzouki Rashid al-Ghannushi Fouad Mebazaa Beji Caid Essebsi Hamadi Jebali Mohamed Bouazizi Chokri Belaid

United Arab
Arab
Emirates: UAE Five

Yemen: Ali Abdullah Saleh Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi Tawakkol Karman Abdul Majeed al-Zindani Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar Sadiq al-Ahmar Abdul-Malik al-Houthi Mohammed Ali al-Houthi

Impact

Occupy movement Albania Armenia Azerbaijan

2011 2013

Belarus Burkina Faso China Greece India

2011 2012

Iran Iraqi Kurdistan Israel Maldives Mali Mexico

2011 2012

Portugal Russia Spain Turkey

2011–12 2013

United Kingdom United States Libyan Civil War
War
(2011–present) Egyptian crisis (2011–14)

UN Resolutions

65/265 1970 1973 2009 2014 2016

International reactions

Bahrain Egypt Libya

civil war military intervention death of Muammar Gaddafi

Syria Tunisia Yemen

Domestic reactions

Egypt Libya

domestic responses state's response

Syria

Timelines by country

Bahrain Egypt Libya Saudi Arabia Syria Yemen

Category Commons Wikiquotes

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Syria articles

History

Timeline Ancient history Neo-Assyrian Empire Roman province Syria
Syria
Palaestina Palmyrene Empire Byzantine Syria Caliphate Syria
Syria
(Bilad al-Sham) Ottoman Arab
Arab
kingdom French Mandate

State of Syria

Syrian Republic Modern Syria Civil War

Geography

Cities Districts Governorates territories Rivers Volcanoes

Features

Al-Jazira Anti- Lebanon
Lebanon
mountains Euphrates Golan Heights Hauran Hermon Orontes Syrian Desert

Related

Syria
Syria
(region) Southern Syria Fertile Crescent Levant

Politics

Constitution Council of Ministers

Prime Minister

list

Elections Foreign relations

Golan Heights
Golan Heights
claim Iskandaron

Government ministries Human rights

LGBT

Judiciary

High council Supreme Constitutional Court

Parliament

Speakers nationalism

Greater Syria

Political parties

Arab
Arab
Socialist Ba'ath Party

national / regional command

National Progressive Front Popular Front for Change and Liberation

President

list

Terrorism Vice President

Military

Army Air force

air defense

Navy Weapons of mass destruction

Economy

Agriculture Central Bank Companies International rankings Pound (currency) Securities Exchange (stock exchange)

Infrastructure

Energy and mineral resources

Petroleum industry

Telecommunications Transport Water supply and sanitation

Society

Demographics Education Health People

diaspora refugees (2011–present)

Public holidays Scouting

Culture

Anthem Coat of arms Cuisine Films Flag Media

television

Music Religion Smoking

Outline Index

Book Category Portal

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Ongoing armed conflicts

Africa

ADF insurgency Batwa-Luba clashes Boko Haram
Boko Haram
insurgency Burundian unrest Central African Republic Civil War Communal conflicts in Nigeria
Communal conflicts in Nigeria
(Herder–farmer conflicts in Nigeria) Conflict in the Niger Delta Eritrean–Ethiopian border conflict

Second Afar insurgency

Ethnic violence in South Sudan

South Sudanese Civil War

Insurgency in Egypt Insurgency in the Maghreb ISIL
ISIL
insurgency in Tunisia Islamist
Islamist
insurgency in Mozambique Ituri conflict Kamwina Nsapu rebellion‎ Katanga insurgency Kivu conflict Libyan Crisis

Second Civil War

Lord's Resistance Army insurgency Northern Mali conflict Ogaden insurgency Oromo-Somali clashes RENAMO insurgency Sinai insurgency Somali Civil War

War
War
in Somalia

Sudanese conflict in South Kordofan and Blue Nile Sudanese nomadic conflicts War
War
in Darfur

Americas

Colombian conflict EPP insurgency Mexican Drug War Peruvian internal conflict Mapuche conflict

East and South Asia

Balochistan conflict

Sistan and Baluchestan insurgency

Insurgency in Laos Insurgency in Northeast India

Assam Meghalaya Manipur Nagaland

Insurgency in the Philippines

CPP–NPA–NDF Moro

Internal conflict in Bangladesh Internal conflict in Myanmar

Kachin Karen Rohingya

Kashmir conflict Naxalite–Maoist insurgency Papua conflict Sectarianism in Pakistan South Thailand insurgency War
War
in Afghanistan

2001–present

War
War
in North-West Pakistan Xinjiang conflict

Europe

Insurgency in the North Caucasus War
War
in Donbass Islamic terrorism in Europe

West Asia

Arab
Arab
separatism in Khuzestan Iraqi Civil War
War
(2014–present) Israeli–Palestinian conflict Kurdish separatism in Iran

West Iran
Iran
clashes

Kurdish–Turkish conflict

2015–present

Lebanese conflict Nagorno-Karabakh conflict Qatif conflict

2017 Qatif unrest

Syrian Civil War Yemeni Crisis

civil war

in World maps

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List of modern conflicts in the Middle East

1910s

World War
War
I

Middle Eastern theatre Arab
Arab
Revolt Armenian Genocide Assyrian genocide

Unification of Saudi Arabia Simko Shikak revolt Egyptian revolution of 1919 Turkish War
War
of Independence

Greco-Turkish War Turkish–Armenian War Franco-Turkish War Revolts

Mahmud Barzanji revolts

1920s

Franco-Syrian War Iraqi revolt against the British Sectarian conflict in Mandatory Palestine Adwan Rebellion Arab
Arab
separatism in Khuzestan Great Syrian Revolt Sheikh Said rebellion 1921 Persian coup d'état

1930s

Ararat rebellion Ahmed Barzani revolt Simele massacre Saudi–Yemeni War
War
(1934) Goharshad Mosque rebellion 1935–36 Iraqi Shia
Shia
revolts 1935 Yazidi revolt Dersim rebellion

1940s

World War
War
II

Italian bombing of Palestine Anglo-Iraqi War Syria– Lebanon
Lebanon
Campaign Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran

1943 Barzani revolt Alwaziri coup Al-Wathbah uprising Kurdish separatism in Iran

Iran
Iran
crisis of 1946

Arab–Israeli conflict

Israeli–Palestinian conflict

1950s

Egyptian revolution of 1952 1953 Iranian coup d'état Jebel Akhdar War Cypriot ethnic crisis Yemeni–Adenese clan violence 1958 Lebanon
Lebanon
crisis 1958 Iraqi revolution 1959 Mosul uprising

1960s

Iraqi–Kurdish conflict

First Iraqi-Kurdish War

Dhofar Rebellion North Yemen Civil War Feb. 1963 Iraqi coup 8th March Syrian Revolution Nov. 1963 Iraqi coup Aden Emergency 1964 Hama
Hama
riot 1966 Syrian coup d'état

1970s

Black September
Black September
in Jordan 1972 North Yemen–South Yemen war Turkish invasion of Cyprus Lebanese Civil War Political violence in Turkey
Turkey
(1976–80) Libyan–Egyptian War Islamist
Islamist
uprising in Syria NDF Rebellion Iranian Revolution

Consolidation of the Iranian Revolution

1979 Qatif Uprising Grand Mosque seizure

1980s

Sadr uprising (1980) Iran– Iraq
Iraq
War 1980 Turkish coup d'état Kurdish separatism in Turkey

Turkey-PKK conflict

South Yemen Civil War 1986 Egyptian conscripts riot 1986 Damascus
Damascus
bombings Mecca massacre Abu Nidal's executions

1990s

Gulf War
War
(1990–1991) 1991 uprisings in Iraq Terror campaign in Egypt (1990s) Yemeni Civil War
War
(1994) Islamic insurgency in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
(2000–present) Operation Desert Fox al-Qaeda insurgency in Yemen 1999 Shia
Shia
uprising in Iraq

2000s

Iraq
Iraq
War Balochi insurgency in Iran 2004 al-Qamishli riots Houthi insurgency in Yemen Iran– Israel
Israel
proxy conflict

2006 Lebanon
Lebanon
War

Fatah–Hamas conflict Nahr al-Bared fighting 2008 conflict in Lebanon South Yemen insurgency 2009–10 Iranian election protests

2010s

Bahraini uprising of 2011 Egyptian Crisis

Sinai insurgency Insurgency in Egypt (2013–present)

Syrian Civil War Syrian War
War
spillover in Lebanon Iraqi insurgency (2011–13) Iraqi Civil War
War
(2014–present) Yemeni Crisis Turkish involvement in Syria

This list includes post-Ottoman conflicts (after 1918) of at least 100 fatalities each Prolonged conflicts are listed in the decade when initiated; ongoing conflicts are marked italic and conflict with +100,000 killed with bold.

v t e

Islamic State of Iraq
Iraq
and the Levant

Names of the Islamic State of Iraq
Iraq
and the Levant

Leadership

Current

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Abu Ahmad al-Alwani Abu Fatima al-Jaheishi Abu Muhammad al-Shimali

 † Former

Haji Bakr Abu Abdulrahman al-Bilawi Abu Mohannad al-Sweidawi Abdul Rauf Aliza Abu Sayyaf Ali Awni al-Harzi Abu Umar al-Tunisi Abu Khattab al-Tunisi Abu Muslim
Muslim
al-Turkmani Mohammed Emwazi Abu Nabil al-Anbari Abu Ali al-Anbari Abu Waheeb Abu Omar al-Shishani Abu Mohammad al-Adnani Abu Jandal al-Kuwaiti Ahmad Abousamra Turki al-Binali

History

Jama'at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad (1999–2004) Tanzim Qaidat al- Jihad
Jihad
fi Bilad al-Rafidayn (2004–06) Mujahideen
Mujahideen
Shura Council (2006) Islamic State of Iraq (2006–13) Islamic State of Iraq
Iraq
and the Levant (2013–14) Islamic State (June 2014–present)

Timeline of events

2013 2014 2015 2016 2017

International branches

Khorasan Province (Afghanistan and Pakistan) Libyan Provinces (Libya) Caucasus Province (North Caucasus) Sinai Province (Sinai) Algeria Province (Algeria) Yemen Province (Yemen) Abnaa ul-Calipha (Somalia) Abu Sayyaf
Abu Sayyaf
(Philippines) Boko Haram
Boko Haram
(West Africa)

Wars

War
War
on Terror Iraq
Iraq
War

Iraqi insurgency (2003–11) Sectarian violence (2006–07) Iraqi insurgency (2011–14) Iraqi Civil War
War
(2014–present)

Syrian Civil War

Spillover Spillover in Lebanon Inter-rebel conflict

Sinai insurgency Libyan Civil War
War
(2014–present) War
War
in North-West Pakistan War
War
in Afghanistan (2015–present) Moro conflict
Moro conflict
(Philippines) al-Qaeda insurgency in Yemen Yemeni Civil War
War
(2015–present) Boko Haram
Boko Haram
insurgency Military intervention against ISIL

American-led intervention in Iraq American-led intervention in the Syrian Civil War Russian military intervention in the Syrian Civil War Turkish military
Turkish military
intervention in Syria

Battles

2013

Akashat ambush Hawija clashes Raqqa
Raqqa
campaign (2012–13) Operation al-Shabah Battle of Ras al-Ayn Battle of Tell Abyad Latakia
Latakia
offensive Siege
Siege
of Menagh Air Base Battle of Sadad Battle of Qalamoun Aleppo
Aleppo
offensive (October–December 2013) Anbar campaign (2013–14)

2014

Fall of Fallujah Northern Aleppo
Aleppo
offensive (February–July 2014) Battle of Markada Northern Iraq
Iraq
offensive (June 2014) Fall of Mosul Salahuddin campaign First Battle of Tikrit Northern Iraq
Iraq
offensive (August 2014) Siege
Siege
of Kobanî Sinjar massacre Derna campaign (2014–16) Battle of Baiji Battle of Ramadi (2014–15) Deir ez-Zor
Deir ez-Zor
offensive (December 2014) Battle of Baiji (2014–15) Sinjar offensive (December 2014) Battle of Zumar Siege
Siege
of Amirli

2015

Fall of Nofaliya West African offensive February 2015 Egyptian airstrikes in Libya Bosso and Diffa raid Eastern al- Hasakah
Hasakah
offensive Second Battle of Tikrit Battle of Sirte Hama
Hama
and Homs
Homs
offensive (March–April 2015) Battle of Sarrin (March–April 2015) Battle of Yarmouk Camp Anbar offensive (2015) Qalamoun offensive (May–June 2015) Palmyra
Palmyra
offensive (May 2015) Western al- Hasakah
Hasakah
offensive Al-Hasakah
Al-Hasakah
city offensive (May–June 2015) Tell Abyad offensive
Tell Abyad offensive
(May–July 2015) Battle of Sarrin (June–July 2015) Battle of al-Hasakah Kobanî
Kobanî
massacre Palmyra
Palmyra
offensive (July–August 2015) Battle of Ramadi (2015–16) Battle of Al-Qaryatayn
Al-Qaryatayn
(August 2015) Al-Hawl offensive Homs
Homs
offensive (November–December 2015) Sinjar offensive (November 2015) East Aleppo
Aleppo
offensive (2015–16) Nineveh Plains offensive Tishrin Dam offensive

2016

Deir ez-Zor
Deir ez-Zor
offensive (January 2016) Siege
Siege
of Fallujah (2016) Nangarhar Offensive Battle of Ben Guerdane Ithriyah- Raqqa
Raqqa
offensive (February–March 2016) Al-Shaddadi offensive 2016 Khanasir offensive Battle of al-Qaryatayn (March–April 2016) Palmyra
Palmyra
offensive (March 2016) Northern Aleppo
Aleppo
offensive (March–June 2016) Hīt offensive Battle of Basilan Battle of Sirte Ar-Rutbah offensive Northern Raqqa
Raqqa
offensive (May 2016) Battle of Fallujah Manbij
Manbij
offensive Ithriyah- Raqqa
Raqqa
offensive (June 2016) Abu Kamal
Abu Kamal
offensive Battle of al-Rai (August 2016) Northern al-Bab offensive (September 2016) Western al-Bab offensive (September 2016) 2016 Dabiq offensive Western al-Bab offensive (October–November 2016) Battle of al-Bab Aleppo
Aleppo
offensive (November–December 2016) Palmyra
Palmyra
offensive (December 2016)

2017

Battle of Mosul (2016–2017) Raqqa
Raqqa
campaign (2016–2017) Palmyra
Palmyra
offensive (2017) Deir ez-Zor
Deir ez-Zor
offensive (January–February 2017) East Aleppo
Aleppo
offensive (January–April 2017) Eastern Homs
Homs
offensive (2017) Hama
Hama
offensive (2017) Western Nineveh offensive (2017) Battle of Tabqa (2017) Syrian Desert
Syrian Desert
campaign (December 2016–April 2017) Syrian Desert
Syrian Desert
campaign (May–July 2017) Maskanah Plains offensive Battle of Marawi Battle of Raqqa
Raqqa
(2017) Southern Raqqa
Raqqa
offensive (June 2017) Central Syria
Syria
campaign (2017) Battle of Tal Afar (2017) Hawija offensive (2017) Eastern Syria
Syria
campaign (September–December 2017) 2017 Abu Kamal
Abu Kamal
offensive 2017 Western Iraq
Iraq
campaign

Attacks

2014

Jewish Museum of Belgium
Belgium
shooting Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu ramming attack

2015

Porte de Vincennes siege Beheading of Copts in Libya Corinthia Hotel attack Al Qubbah bombings Bardo National Museum attack Sana'a mosque bombings Jalalabad suicide bombing Curtis Culwell Center attack Qatif and Dammam mosque bombings 26 June 2015 Islamist
Islamist
attacks

Kobanî
Kobanî
massacre Saint-Quentin-Fallavier attack Kuwait mosque bombing Sousse attacks

Khan Bani Saad bombing Suruç bombing Baghdad bombing (August) Ankara bombings Metrojet Flight 9268 Beirut bombings Paris attacks (November) Tunis bombing Qamishli bombings

2016

Zliten truck bombing Hurghada attack Istanbul bombing (January) Jakarta attacks Ramadi bombing Mahasin mosque attack Sayyidah Zaynab attack (January) Mosul massacre Homs
Homs
bombings (February) Sayyidah Zaynab bombings (February) Baghdad bombings (February) Istanbul bombing (March) Brussels bombings Aden car bombing Iskandariya suicide bombing Baghdad bombing (April) Samawa bombing Gaziantep bombing (May) Baghdad bombings (11 May) Real Madrid fan club massacres Baghdad gas plant attack Yemen police bombings (15 May) Baghdad bombings (17 May) Jableh and Tartous bombings (May) Yemen bombings (23 May) Aktobe shootings Magnanville stabbing Mukalla attacks (June) Movida Bar grenade attack Atatürk Airport attack Dhaka attack (July) Karrada bombing Muhammad ibn Ali al-Hadi Mausoleum attack Würzburg train attack Kabul bombing (July) Ansbach bombing Normandy church attack Qamishli bombings (July) Charleroi stabbing Shchelkovo Highway police station attack Aden bombing (August) Syria
Syria
bombings (September) Baghdad bombings (September) Baghdad bombings (October) Quetta police training college attack Hamam al-Alil massacre Khuzdar bombing Samarinda church bombing Kabul suicide bombing (November) Hillah suicide truck bombing (November) Aden suicide bombings (December) Botroseya church bombing Al-Karak attack Berlin attack Baghdad bombings (December)

2017

Istanbul nightclub shooting Baghdad bombings (January) Azaz
Azaz
bombing (January) Kabul Supreme Court attack (February) Sehwan suicide bombing Kabul attack (March) London (Westminster) attack Saint Petersburg Metro bombing Egypt church bombings Mastung suicide bombing Manchester Arena bombing Jakarta bombings Minya attack Al-Faqma bombing London (Southwark) attack Brighton siege Tehran attacks Pakistan bombings (June) Hurghada attack Attack on the Iraqi embassy in Kabul Herat mosque attack Quetta suicide bombing Barcelona attacks Brussels attack (August) Nasiriyah attacks Sinai mosque attack Kabul suicide bombing (December) Saint Menas church attack

2018

Baghdad bombings (January) Save The Children Jalalabad attack Kizlyar church shooting Kabul suicide bombing (March) Carcassonne and Trèbes attack

Politics

Finances Ideology Human rights Genocide of Christians Genocide of Shias Genocide of Yazidis Persecution of queer men Killing of captives Beheading incidents Destruction of cultural heritage

Relations

Iran
Iran
and ISIL Philippines and ISIL United Kingdom
United Kingdom
and ISIL Foreign fighters Name changes due to ISIL Portrayal of ISIL
ISIL
in American media Connection with Saddam Regime and Baath Party

Society

Members

Terrorist
Terrorist
cell in Brussels

Territorial claims

Media of ISIL

Ahlam al-Nasr Al-Bayan Amaq News Agency Dabiq Dar al-Islam Istok Konstantiniyye Rumiyah

Related topics

Worldwide caliphate Defeating ISIS Islamism Millenarianism Sexual violence in the Iraqi insurgency Shia– Sunni
Sunni
relations Slavery in 21st-century Islamism Theocracy

v t e

Iran– Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
relations

Diplomatic posts

Ambassadors of Iran
Iran
to Saudi Arabia Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Tehran

Conflicts

Iran– Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
proxy conflict

Iraqi insurgency Syrian Civil War Yemeni Civil War Saudi-led intervention in Bahrain Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen Saudi–Yemeni border conflict Iranian intervention in Iraq

Incidents

1987 Mecca incident Bahraini uprising of 2011 2011 alleged Iran
Iran
assassination plot 2011–12 Saudi Arabian protests 2015 Mina stampede Execution of Nimr al-Nimr 2016 attack on the Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran

Iranian relations with GCC member states

Iran– Bahrain
Bahrain
relations Iran– Qatar
Qatar
relations Iran–Oman relations Iran–Kuwait relations Iran– United Arab Emirates
United Arab Emirates
relations

See also

Arab
Arab
League– Iran
Iran
relations Iran– Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
football rivalry Shia– Sunni
Sunni
relations 2017 Qatar
Qatar
diplomatic crisis 2017 Lebanon– Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
dispute

Category

Template:Arab-Israeli conflict Template:Post-Cold W

.