Reports of a chemical attack in a Damascus suburb on Wednesday, Aug. 21, marked a turning point in the attitude of the United States and its allies toward the Syrian government. Disparate rebel groups have been fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad’s regime since 2011. Syria has responded by shooting and bombing its people, as well as committing human rights abuses against its citizens such as torture and rape.
More than 100,000 people have died and millions more, including 1 million children, have fled their homes. Many have left for Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq (map), where they face hardship while awaiting their fate in sprawling refugee camps.
The consequences of Syria’s war extend beyond its borders, as violence spills into other countries and threatens to destabilize the region. Clashes between Shia government supporters and fighters from Syria’s majority-Sunni population have prompted bomb attacks in Lebanon and Iraq. Foreign fighters have joined battles on both sides, including Hezbollah for the government and radical Sunnis for the opposition. Instability has attracted jihadist groups, which have seized territory for their own use.
The conflict has unfolded as world powers vie to advance their interests in the region. Russia, one of the Assad government's strongest allies, has repeatedly stymied western governments’ efforts to find a political solution.
The narrative in Syria is not as simple as a country’s oppressed majority fighting against an authoritarian regime. Extremist elements among the opposition make the West nervous, and Syria’s fragmented opposition lacks a clear directive. That could lead to further instability should the Assad regime fall.
AMMAN - Opposition activists again accused President Bashar al-Assad's forces of using poison gas in Syria's civil war on Thursday, saying victims had been discovered with swollen limbs and foaming at the mouth.
AMMAN - Opposition activists again accused President Bashar al-Assad's forces of using poison gas in Syria's civil war on Thursday, and said victims had been discovered with swollen limbs and foaming at the mouth.
BEIRUT - Syrians called it the "bride of the revolution".
WASHINGTON - The United States will conduct a sea test this month of equipment that could be used to neutralize Syria's most deadly chemical weapons at sea, U.S. defence officials said on Thursday.
GENEVA - Desperate civilians in a swathe of Syria from Aleppo in the north to the southern border are largely out of reach of aid workers, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Thursday.
MOSCOW - A unit of the Russian security forces is training to counter Islamist militants amid fears fighters in Syria will return to join insurgents in the North Caucasus, Chechnya's Kremlin-backed leader said.
AMMAN - Armed with machine guns, black-clad al Qaeda fighters drove their pick-ups calmly into the northern Syrian town and took over its imposing agriculture ministry building.
MOSCOW - A unit of Russian security forces is training to fight Islamist militants battling in Syria on fears they may migrate from the Middle East conflict to join an insurgency in the North Caucasus, Chechnya's Kremlin-backed leader said.
UNITED NATIONS - The United Nations and the global chemical weapons watchdog are awaiting approval from a country to use its port to load Syria's most deadly chemicals onto a U.S. ship for destruction offshore, the head of the mission said on Wednesday.
TOP VIDEOS FROM SYRIA
Cyber security expert Jeffrey Carr, of Taia Global, says the Syrian Electronic Army's recent behavior suggests their ability to command attention far exceeds their skills or potential danger as cyber hackers. Video
Photography from Syria
Dec. 4 - Hundreds of mourners attend the funeral of Hezbollah commander Hassan al-Laqqis in Baalbeck after he was shot dead outside his home in Lebanon's Beirut. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).