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Syria’s war: Who is fighting and why

Syria’s war: Who is fighting and why

Syria’s war is mess. After 6 years, the conflict is divided between
four sides, each side with foreign backers. And those foreign backers don’t even agree
with each other on who they are fighting for and who they are fighting against. And now, Syria’s use of chemical weapons has
provoked President Donald Trump to directly attack Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. This is a major development, because, up until now, the US has only been focused on fighting ISIS. To understand the criss-crossing interventions
and battle lines in Syria today, and how it got this way, it helps to go back to the beginning of the conflict and watch to see how it unfolded. The first shots in the war were fired, in March
2011, by Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad against peaceful Arab Spring demonstrators. In July the protesters start shooting back, and some Syrian troops
even defect from the Syrian army to join them. They call themselves the Free Syrian Army
and the uprising becomes a civil war. Extremists from around the region and the world start traveling to Syria to join the rebels. Now, Assad actually encourages this by releasing
jihadist prisoners to tinge the rebellion with extremism and make it harder for foreign
backers to support them. In January 2012, al-Qaeda forms a new branch
in Syria, Jabhat al-Nusra. Also around that time, Syrian Kurdish groups, who
had long sought autonomy, take up arms and informally secede from Assad’s rule in the
north. That summer is when Syria becomes a proxy
war. Iran, Assad’s most important ally, intervenes
on his behalf. By the end of 2012, Iran is sending daily
cargo flights and has hundreds of officers on the ground. At the same time, the oil-rich Arab states
on the Persian Gulf begin sending money and weapons to the rebels, mainly to counter Iran’s
influence. Iran steps up its influence in turn, in mid-2012 when Hezbollah,
a Lebanese militia backed by Iran, invades to fight along Assad. In turn the Gulf States respond, Saudi Arabia really stepping up this time, to send more money and weapons to the rebels, This time through Jordan who
also opposes Assad. By 2013, the Middle East is divided between mostly Sunni powers, generally supporting the rebels, and Shias, generally supporting Assad. That April, the Obama administration, horrified by Assad’s atrocities and the mounting death toll, signs a secret order authorizing the
CIA to train and equip Syrian rebels. But the program stalls. At the same time, the US quietly urges Arab
Gulf states to stop funding extremists, but their requests basically go ignored. In August, the Assad regime uses chemical weapons, provoking condemnation around the world Obama: “Men, women, and children lying in rows – killed by poison gas…” It is in the national security interests of
the United States to respond to the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons
through a targeted military strike. Russia proposed on Monday that Syria surrender
control over its chemical weapons to the international community for its eventual dismantling, to avoid a US military strike. The US ends up backing down, but the whole thing establishes Syria as a great-powers dispute, with Russia backing Assad and the US opposing him. Just weeks later, the first American CIA training
and arms reach Syrian rebels. The US is now a participant in the war. In February 2014, something happens that transforms
the war: an al-Qaeda affiliate, based mostly in Iraq, breaks away from the group over internal
disagreements. The group calls itself the Islamic State of
Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, and it becomes al-Qaeda’s enemy. ISIS mostly fights not Assad, but other
rebels and Kurds, carving out a mini-state it calls its Caliphate. That summer, it marches across Iraq seizing
territory, galvanizing the world against it. In September, one year after the US almost
bombed Assad, it begins bombing ISIS. Obama: “We’re moving ahead with our campaign
of airstrikes against these terrorists, and we’re prepared to take action against
ISIL in Syria as well.” That summer, in July, the Pentagon launches
its own program to train Syrian rebels — but will only those who’ll fight ISIS, not Assad. The program fizzles, showing that America
now opposes ISIS more than Assad, but that there’s also no like-minded Syrian proxy forces on the ground in Syria. In August, Turkey starts bombing Kurdish groups in
Iraq and in Turkey, even as these Kurdish groups are fight ISIS in Syria. But Turkey doesn’t bomb ISIS. This gets to one of the big problems in this conflict: the US sees ISIS
as its main enemy, but the US’ allies like Turkey and a lot of other Middle Eastern states have
other priorities. This makes for a lot of unclear and confusing alliances. The next month, in September, Russia intervenes
on behalf of Assad, sending a few dozen military aircraft to a long-held Russian base in the
country. Russia says it’s there to bomb ISIS, but in fact only ends up bombing anti-Assad rebels, including some backed by the US. The next year, Donald Trump wins the White
House, vowing to stay out of Syria, and signaling that Assad should be able to stay in power. At the end of 2016, Assad, helped by Russian
airpower and Iranian sponsored militias, retakes the Syrian city of Aleppo, knocking the rebels
out of their last remaining urban stronghold. Then, in Spring 2017, Assad once again
uses chemical weapons against his people, killing 85, including 20 children. Back in the US, Trump says his attitude toward
Syria and Assad has “changed very much” due to the attacks. He vows to respond and within days the White House launches dozens
of tomahawk missiles that strike an airbase in Syria. This is the first time the United States has directly attacked the Assad regime. This adds yet another criss crossing complication
to an already multidimensional civil war. So as it stands now, Syria is in ruins. Even as Assad recaptures land, the rebellion
perseveres. And with outside countries fueling each of
the groups, it’s clear that there is still no end in sight.

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100 thoughts on “Syria’s war: Who is fighting and why

  1. The "attack" by Trump on Assad is a stunt. He has supported Russia at every step.of the way while Russia bombs Syrian hospitals. And witness how the Kurds have been recently sold out by Trump because of bribes from Turkey.

  2. Well people's at North Korea are in worse situation that "chemical attacks " why dont america and "HUMAN RIGHT ACTIVIST" GO THERE and attack north korea?
    Answer is simple the goat always sacrificed but lions never.

  3. There are more than 4 millions refugees in turkey why don't you talk about that. Why don't you tell who saved all these people when other countries don't care about them.

  4. The moment usa join rebel to fight assad, isis appear and what worse they fight kurd not assad, then obama resign, trump became president, making statement did not want to attack assad, ban muslim in usa, then after that trump changed mind and want to attack assad and civilian is accidently target and died, i think u.s.a join to destroy the rebel and let assad in power, if not why would they did not capture assad who kil his ownl civilian and just let it became like that or u.s.a afraid iran would attack u.s.a because they alliance with saudi who sell oil to u.s.a, iran hate duo status power and did not want a secular country, where they were terrorized by their own government police
    So basicly this is shia vs sunni with western interruption want to help other country but instead make it worse
    Usa + saudi = sunni
    Russia + iran = shia
    Iran – did not want secular country because of past history
    Saudi – just want to sell oil to west but iran hate it because of western want to dominate muslim just like the fall of ottoman empire.

  5. This donkey erdogan didn't bother at all with Isis maybe even he helped them and he bombed the Kurds (who fought isis)who want to take controll of the northern borders

  6. So fsa is good and want to get peaceful for syria people
    Isis is evil and bad.
    Assad make no peace with their people.
    Turkey help fsa
    Russia ,iran help assad
    When isis came fsa not attack assad.fsa they attack isis

  7. The people of all countries want peace. It's time to elect leaders who make this priority. And the international community should back whatever countries allow a peace process…

  8. This is why I I left eith my familiy when I was 4 becuase I have almost died of this when a bomb fell at a house after our house.. :/

  9. the us should’ve stayed out! for once can the US not be in endless war! there will always be war. it’s time for the US to come to the rescue all the time. it just makes things worse and more lives to be lost.

  10. Best thing that could have happened is that we pull our forces and let them fight it out. With that though, we would either have to help both…condemn both…or have no opinion or influence either way. Worst thing someone could do is take a side between two "friends"…and still expect to keep the winner or loser as a friend when all is said and done

  11. Americans don’t forget that. Your land is not in the region. You never be successful in this region in the long term and you cannot put Turkey away on Syrian conflict. Today, they did that and their syrian politics crushed. No longer you’ll understand that arming a terrorist organization to fight another is such a mistake.

  12. I call inaccurate BS. Maybe go to the beginning and mention "Timber Sycamore", where the US via CIA and Saudi Arabia armed known terrorists and sent them in to "protest", with bullets, weapons etc.

  13. All are children killers … Small children don't know sunny and shiya difference..they are innocent child..shame to UNO…UNO concentrate on funds collection for their salaries only..China is blind eye

  14. It's the bitter truth that Syria is using as a playground for all.. No one is going to stop the war, it would b better to handle by the Syrian than so called peace seeking nations 😥

  15. The truth that Vox didnt mention is the CIA had started to plan to over throw Assad's father in the 1980's when he would not approve an oil and gas pipeline from Qatar through Syria to EU – Syria decided to partner with Russia and build the pipe line from Iran.

  16. Watch one interview with Assad and it will dispel much of this Americanised take on the happenings within this region. Try it yourself and see.

  17. Nice and organized but failed to say two important aspects: 1. US is arming Kurdish Rebels (40 thousands truck full of gun) . 2. Turkey is the only country fought against ISIS and neutralized 4K of them with first military attack into Syria.

  18. I think the most important thing to do now as individuals is to not belong to any one or any thing, instead just asking for world peace.
    Peace is more prosperous and much easier for all humanity.
    Please pray for the end of all wars on earth, we can change this reality believe me, we are much more in quantity and power than those who choose greed and violence

  19. Yea I don’t see why you can’t @ 2:30 call it what it is for us, When u call it what it is for other nation states. Obama didn’t what Russia to get the upper hand meaning they would be able to protect Iran and maybe even strike oil from Saudi. Geez Vox are u run by state government or what..

    It’s poetic that Syria and Turkey border are supposedly the site of the garden of Eden. The beginning of mankind and it will undoubtably be the end of mankind as well.

  20. But why would assad supposedly use chemical weapons again even though he was already winning and knows that his western enemies would react violently?

  21. It's not even confusing. The only part that people get thrown off by is how the u s is allied with Turkey and the Kurds but they both are attacking each other which they should be on the same side.

  22. Syria didn't use chemical weapons america and kurdish and داعش used them not syria coverment u liers i am Syrian by the way

  23. I have to do a research paper and I have to do a presentation about this topic .. and I don’t even know how to start my paper 🙁

  24. Ummm here is the thing …. Syria signed something i few years ago to throw away all the chemical weapons….wish means we dont use chemical weapons its all a liw

  25. The US are good in creating a justifiable scenario in order to back its initiative to attack a legitimate nation like Syria, it was alledge Assad use chemical weapons against civilian populace, come on that was absurd ! It was found out that it was not entirely true for it was made up by the US in order that Syria will be discredited from any international support so that it will enjoined the US to back its agenda against Syria it, was just fortunate Russia`s Vladimir Putin was on the rescue or Syria will be another like Iraq and Libya.

  26. وَلَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الْإِنْسَانَ وَنَعْلَمُ مَا تُوَسْوِسُ بِهِ نَفْسُهُ ۖ وَنَحْنُ أَقْرَبُ إِلَيْهِ مِنْ حَبْلِ الْوَرِيدِ

    It was We Who created man, and We know what dark suggestions his soul makes to him: for We are nearer to him than (his) jugular vein.
    quran islam

  27. ok so first of that's not what happened. IS is a group composed by people from all around the world not just arab people. Then Assad is not a dictator, I personally DON'T support him but he fairly won the election. The chemical weapons was all a set up and who you call rebels are actually members of the IS. So in short the US is funding IS (ISIS was disolved years ago)

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