The Syrian Civil War, Simplified.

How It Started: back in July of 2011, Anti-government protests broke out in Syria. The Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, reacted to these protests by torturing and killing many of the protestors. This was the spark that created an unavoidable flame that is now the Syrian Civil War.

It’s All About Chemistry, that is, chemical weapons. The Obama administration had made it clear that the Syrian use of chemical weapons would result in United States intervention. However, in 2013, Assad allegedly used chemical weapons, which resulted in nothing but a slap on the wrist.

The United States and Turkey primarily back the rebels; for years, both countries have been working to train the rebel forces. In October 2015, the US ended the training program after only training 60 soldiers. Once this program was dumped, US involvement in the Syrian Civil War became minimal.

Assad Is Supported By both Iran and Russia. Russian involvement has been the key to Assads’ campaign; they have aided the pro-government forced predominately through air strikes.

Allepo is a key factor in the civil war due to its economic and psychological importance. This is the biggest city in Syria, one in which many civilians have suffered during this war. If the Syrian government recaptures the city from rebel forces and liberates the civilians trapped within the city, Assad becomes more popular in the eyes of Syrians. This is not a territorial move, but rather an emotional appeal to the citizens of a broken nation. On another hand, recapturing this territory further isolates rebel territories from one another, which ultimately fragments the opposition as a whole.

Presently, the battle for Allepo seems to be in the final stretch as Syrian government forces have reclaimed the majority of the territory; what this means for the continuation of the civil war is unknown.

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