Syrian Civil War
||This article may be too long to read and navigate comfortably. The readable prose size is 137 kilobytes. (April 2017)|
The Syrian Civil War (Arabic: الحرب الأهلية السورية, Al-ḥarb al-ʼahliyyah as-sūriyyah) is an ongoing multi-sided armed conflict in Syria fought primarily between the government of President Bashar al-Assad, along with its allies, and various forces opposing the government.
|Syrian Civil War|
|Part of the Arab Spring, the Arab Winter, the spillover of the Iraqi Civil War and Iran–Saudi Arabia proxy conflict|
Current military situation: Red: Syrian government, Green: Syrian opposition, Yellow: Rojava (SDF), Grey: Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant,
: Tahrir al-Sham (formerly known as the al-Nusra Front)
For a more detailed map, see Cities and towns during the Syrian Civil War. The map above was last updated on August 2017.
|Commanders and leaders|
Stephen J. Townsend
(Commander of CJTF-OIR)
Syrian Armed Forces: 180,000
Tahrir al-Sham: 31,000
|15,000–20,000 (U.S. claim, late 2016)|
|Casualties and losses|
7,039 killed (1,260 Iranian-led)
71 soldiers killed (2016–17 ground incursion)
|21,341+ killed (per SOHR)
20,711+ killed (per YPG and SAA)
refugees (July 2017 registered by UNHCR)
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.
The unrest in Syria, part of a wider wave of 2011 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. The war is being fought by several factions: the Syrian government and its allies, a loose alliance of Sunni Arab rebel groups (including the Free Syrian Army), the majority-Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), Salafi jihadist groups (including al-Nusra Front) and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), with a number of countries in the region and beyond being either directly involved, or rendering support to one or another faction.
Syrian opposition groups formed the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and seized control of the area surrounding Aleppo and parts of southern Syria. Over time, some factions of the Syrian opposition split from their original moderate position to pursue an Islamist vision for Syria, joining groups such as al-Nusra Front and ISIL. In 2015, the People's Protection Units (YPG) joined forces with Arab, Assyrian, Armenian and some Turkmen groups, to form the Syrian Democratic Forces, while most Turkmen groups remained with the FSA.
International organizations have accused the Syrian government, ISIL and rebel groups of severe human rights violations and of many massacres. 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 led by the United Nations, but fighting continues.
Syria became an independent republic in 1946 following years of French rule after World War II, although democratic rule ended with a U.S.–backed coup in March 1949, followed by two more coups the same year. 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. 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 went through additional coups and changes in leadership.
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 was held in 2012. On 31 January 1973, 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 be a Muslim, leading to fierce demonstrations in Hama, Homs and Aleppo organized by the Muslim Brotherhood and the ulama. They labelled Assad the "enemy of Allah" and called for a jihad against his rule.[citation not found] The government survived a series of armed revolts by Islamists, mainly members of the Muslim Brotherhood, from 1976 until 1982.
Upon Hafez al-Assad's death in 2000, his son Bashar al-Assad was elected as President of Syria. Bashar al-Assad and his wife Asma, a Sunni Muslim born and educated in Britain, initially inspired hopes for democratic reforms. The Damascus Spring, a period of social and political debate, took place between July 2000 and August 2001. 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. In the opinion of his critics, Bashar al-Assad had failed to deliver on promised reforms. 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 are 'linked to the agendas of foreign countries'.
Syrian Arabs, together with some 600,000 Palestinian Arabs, make up roughly 74 percent of the population (if Syriac Christians are excluded). Syria's Muslims are 74 percent Sunnis (including Sufis), and 13 percent Shias (including 8-12 percent 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 sect. Alawites control Syria's security apparatus.
The majority of Syria's Christians belonged 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.
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.
Assyrians, an indigenous Eastern Aramaic-speaking Christian Semitic people, numbering approximately 500,000, 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.
Socioeconomic inequality increased significantly after free market policies were initiated by Hafez al-Assad in his later years, and it accelerated after 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 merchant class of Damascus and Aleppo.
The country also faced particularly high youth unemployment rates. At the start of the war, discontent against the government was said to be the strongest in Syria's poor areas, predominantly among conservative Sunnis. These included cities with high poverty rates, such as Daraa and Homs and the poorer districts of large cities.
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. This migration strained infrastructure already burdened by the influx of some 1.5 million refugees from the Iraq War. The drought has been linked to anthropogenic global warming. Adequate water supply continues to be an issue in the ongoing civil war and it is frequently the target of military action.
The human rights situation in Syria has long been the subject of harsh critique from global organizations. The rights of free expression, association and assembly were strictly controlled in Syria even before the uprising. The country was under emergency rule from 1963 until 2011 and public gatherings of more than five people were banned. Security forces had sweeping powers of arrest and detention.
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. Women and ethnic minorities faced discrimination in the public sector. Thousands of Syrian Kurds were denied citizenship in 1962 and their descendants were labeled "foreigners". A number of riots in 2004 prompted increased tension in Syrian Kurdistan, and there have been occasional clashes between Kurdish protesters and security forces ever since.
Despite hopes for democratic change with the 2000 Damascus Spring, Bashar al-Assad was widely regarded as having failed to implement any improvements. A 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.
Civil uprising (March–July 2011)
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, and according to witnesses who spoke to the BBC, the government forces detained six. 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. A 13-year-old boy, Hamza al-Khateeb, was tortured and killed. Writer and analyst Louai al-Hussein, referencing the Arab Spring ongoing at that time, wrote that "Syria is now on the map of countries in the region with an uprising". On 20 March, the protesters burned down a Ba'ath Party headquarters and "other buildings". The ensuing clashes claimed the lives of seven police officers and 15 protesters. Ten days later in a speech, President Bashar al-Assad blamed "foreign conspirators" pushing Israeli propaganda for the protests.
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 and 150 soldiers and policemen had been killed and thousands detained; among the arrested were many students, liberal activists and human rights advocates.
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. Later, more protesters in Syria took up arms, and more soldiers defected to protect protesters.
Early armed insurgency (July 2011–April 2012)
The Early insurgency phase of the Syrian Civil War lasted from late July 2011 to April 2012, and was associated with the rise of armed oppositional militias across Syria and the beginning of armed rebellion against the authorities of the Syrian Arab Republic. The beginning of the insurgency is typically marked by formation of the 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 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 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.
The Arab League monitoring mission, initiated in December 2011, ended in failure by February 2012, as Syrian Ba'athist troops and oppositional militants continued to do battle across the country and the Syrian Ba'athist government prevented foreign observers from touring active battlefields, including besieged oppositional strongholds.
In early 2012, Kofi Annan acted as the UN–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.: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)
The 2012–13 escalation of the Syrian Civil War was the third phase of the Syrian Civil War, which gradually escalated from a UN-mediated cease fire attempt during April–May 2012, but deteriorated into radical violence, escalating the conflict level to a full-fledged civil war.
Following the Houla massacre of 25 May 2012, in which 108 people were summarily executed, and the subsequent FSA ultimatum to the Syrian Ba'athist 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. On 12 June 2012, the UN for the first time officially proclaimed Syria to be in a state of civil war. The conflict began moving into the two largest cities, 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 ballistic missiles at rebel fighters inside Syria. On 11 January 2013, Islamist groups, including al-Nusra Front, took full control of the Taftanaz air base in the 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. 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 Army could reorganize and initiate offensives. On 17 April 2013, Ba'athist 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 Ba'athist forces to resupply two major military bases in the region which had been relying on sporadic airdrops. In April 2013, government and 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.
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. Shortly after, Syrian opposition factions declared war on the 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 after a 10-month siege. On 21 August a chemical attack took place in the Ghouta region of the 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. The attack, largely attributed to Assad forces caused the international community to seek disarmanent of the Syrian Arab Army from chemical weapons.
In late 2013, the period was marked by increased initiative of the Syrian Arab Army, which led offensives against opposition fighters on several fronts. The Syrian Arab Army along with its allies, Hezbollah and the al-Abas brigade, launched an offensive on Damascus and Aleppo in November. Fighting between Kurdish forces, rebels and al-Nusra front continued in other locations.
Fighting between ISIL and other rebel groups (January–March 2014)
Tension between moderate rebel forces and ISIS had been high since ISIS captured the border town of Azaz from FSA forces on 18 September 2013. Conflict was renewed over Azaz in early October and in late November ISIS captured the border town of Atme from an FSA brigade. On 3 January 2014, the Army of the Mujahideen, the Free Syrian Army and the Islamic Front launched an offensive against ISIS in Aleppo and Idlib governorates. A spokesman for the rebels said that rebels attacked ISIS in up to 80% of all ISIS held villages in Idlib and 65% of those in Aleppo.
By 6 January, opposition rebels managed to expel ISIS forces from the city of Raqqa, ISIS's largest stronghold and capital of the Raqqa Governorate. On 8 January, opposition rebels expelled most ISIS forces from the city of Aleppo, however ISIS reinforcements from the Deir ez-Zor Governorate managed to retake several neighborhoods of the city of Raqqa. By mid January ISIS retook the entire city of Raqqa, while rebels expelled ISIS fighters fully from Aleppo city and the villages west of it.
On 29 January, Turkish aircraft near the border fired on an ISIS convoy inside the Aleppo province of Syria, killing 11 ISIS fighters and 1 ISIS emir. 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. By mid-February, the al-Nusra Front joined the battle in support of rebel forces, and expelled ISIS from the Deir Ezzor Governorate. By March, the ISIS forces fully retreated from the Idlib Governorate. On 4 March, ISIS retreated from the border town of Azaz and other nearby villages, choosing instead to consolidate around Raqqa in an anticipation of an escalation of fighting with al-Nusra.
Government offensives and Presidential election (March–June 2014)
On 4 March, the Syrian Army took control of Sahel in the Qalamoun region. On 8 March, government forces took over Zara, in Homs Governorate, further blocking rebel supply routes from Lebanon. On 11 March, Government forces and Hezbollah took control of the Rima Farms region, directly facing Yabrud. On 16 March, Hezbollah and government forces captured Yabrud, after Free Syrian Army fighters made an unexpected withdrawal, leaving the al-Nusra Front to fight in the city on its own. On 18 March, Israel used artillery against a Syrian Army base, after four of its soldiers had been wounded by a roadside bomb while patrolling Golan Heights.
On 19 March, the Syrian Army captured Ras al-Ain near Yabrud, after two days of fighting and al-Husn in Homs Governorate, while rebels in the Daraa Governorate captured Daraa prison, and freed hundreds of detainees. On 20 March, the Syrian Army took control of the Krak des Chevaliers in al-Husn. On 29 March, Syrian Army took control of the villages of Flitah and Ras Maara near the border with Lebanon.
On 22 March, rebels took control of the Kesab border post in the Latakia Governorate. By 23 March, rebels had taken most of Khan Sheikhoun in Hama. During clashes near the rebel-controlled Kesab border post in Latakia, Hilal Al Assad, NDF leader in Latakia and one of Bashar Al Assad's cousins was killed by rebel fighters. On 4 April, rebels captured the town of Babulin, Idlib. On 9 April, the Syrian Army took control of Rankous in the Qalamoun region. On 12 April, rebels in 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. On 26 April, the Syrian Army took control of Al-Zabadani. According to SOHR, rebels took control of Tell Ahrmar, Quneitra. Rebels in Daraa also took over Brigade 61 Base and the 74th battalion.
On 26 April, the FSA announced they had begun an offensive against ISIS in the Raqqa Governorate, and had seized five towns west of Raqqa city. On 29 April, activists said that the Syrian Army captured Tal Buraq near the town of Mashara in Quneitra without any clashes. 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 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. 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 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.
Syria held a presidential election in government-held areas on 3 June 2014. For the first time in the history of Syria more than one person was allowed to stand as a presidential candidate. More than 9,000 polling stations were set up in government-held areas. According to the Supreme Constitutional Court of Syria, 11.63 million Syrians voted (the turnout was 73.42%). President 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%. Allies of Assad from more than 30 countries were invited by the Syrian government to follow the presidential election, including Bolivia, Brazil, Cuba, Ecuador, India, Iran, Iraq, Nicaragua, Russia, South Africa and Venezuela. The Iranian official Alaeddin Boroujerdi read a statement by the group saying the election was "free, fair and transparent". The Gulf Cooperation Council, the European Union and the United States all dismissed the election as illegitimate and a farce.
State employees were told to vote or face interrogation. On the ground there were no independent monitors stationed at the polling stations. It is claimed in an opinion piece that as few as 6 million eligible voters remained in Syria. Due to rebel, Kurdish and ISIS control of Syrian territories there was no voting in roughly 60% of the country.
Civil war spill over to Iraq and U.S. airstrikes (June 2014 – January 2015)
Starting on 5 June 2014, ISIL seized swathes of territory in Iraq in addition to heavy weapons and equipment from the Iraqi Army, some of which they brought into Syria. Government airstrikes targeted ISIL bases in Raqqa and Al-Hasakah in coordination with an Iraqi Army counteroffensive. On 14 June, government forces retook the town of Kessab in northern Latakia Governorate, while rebels took over Tall al-Gomo near the town of Nawa in the Daraa Governorate, as well as reentering the Qalamoun area. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, on 17 July 2014 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. On 20 July, the Syrian Army secured the field, although fighting continued in its outskirts. On 25 July, the Islamic State took control of the Division 17 base near Raqqa.
On 7 August 2014, ISIL took the Brigade 93 base in Raqqa using weapons captured from their offensive in Iraq. Multiple suicide bombs also went off before the base was stormed. On 13 August, ISIL forces took the towns of Akhtarin and Turkmanbareh from rebels in Aleppo. 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 commander Sharif As-Safouri admitted to working with Israel and receiving anti-tank weapons from Israel and FSA soldiers also received medical treatment. It is possible this confession was obtained under duress. On 14 August, the Syrian Army as well as 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. Mleiha has been held by the Islamic Front. Rebels had used the town to fire mortars on government held areas inside Damascus.
Meanwhile, ISIL forces in Raqqa were launching a siege on Tabqa airbase, the Syrian government's last military base in Raqqa. Kuwaires airbase in Aleppo also came under fierce attack by ISIL. On 16 August 2014, there were reports that 22 people were killed in the village of 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 Governorate from rebels.
On 17 August 2014, SOHR said that in the past two weeks ISIL jihadists had killed over 700 tribal members in oil-rich Deir ez-Zor Governorate. On 19 August, Abu Abdullah al-Iraqi, a senior figure in ISIL who had helped prepare and plan car and suicide bombs across Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq was killed. Some reports said that he was killed by Hezbollah fighters. There were also several reports that he was killed by the Syrian Army in the Qalamoun region, near the border with Lebanon. On 19 August, American journalist James Foley was executed by ISIL, who claimed it was in retaliation for the United States operations in Iraq. Foley was kidnapped in Syria in November 2012 by Shabiha militia. ISIL also threatened to execute Steven Sotloff, who was kidnapped at the Syrian-Turkish border in August 2013. There were reports ISIS captured a Japanese national, two Italian nationals, and a Danish national as well. At least 70 journalists have been killed covering the Syrian war, and more than 80 kidnapped, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
On 22 August 2014, the al-Nusra Front released a video of captured Lebanese soldiers and demanded Hezbollah withdraw from Syria under threat of their execution. In Raqqa, the Syrian Army took control of the town of Al-Ejeil. ISIL reportedly sent reinforcements from Iraq to the governorate of Raqqa. The 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 and National Defense Force in Raqqa alone. At the same time, several senior UK and US figures urged Turkey to stop allowing ISIL to cross the border to Syria and Iraq. 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 to close off the border on the Syrian side. A year later, with the Kurds in control of most of the Turkey–Syria border, and the Syrian army advancing under Russian air support to seal the remainder, the situation was causing great ructions in Ankara.
On the following day, the Islamic State seized Tabqa airbase from government forces. The battle left 346 ISIL fighters and 195 soldiers dead. Prisoners taken by ISIL forces were executed and a video of the mass killing was posted on YouTube. The death toll varied from 120 to 250.
On 26 August 2014, the Syrian Air Force carried out airstrikes against ISIL in the Governorate of Deir ez-Zor. This was the first time the Syrian Army attacked them in Deir ez-Zor as the Syrian Army pulled out of Raqqa and shifted to Deir ez-Zor for its oil and natural gas resources as well as strategically splitting ISIL territories. American jets began bombing ISIL in Syria on 23 September 2014, raising U.S. involvement in the country. At least 20 targets in and around Raqqa were hit, the opposition group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. Foreign partners participating in the strikes with the United States were Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Jordan. The U.S. and "partner nation forces" began striking ISIL using fighters, bombers and Tomahawk missiles, Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said.
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 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". The United States informed the Free Syrian Army beforehand of the impending airstrikes, and the rebels said that weapons transfers to the Free Syrian Army had begun. The 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 in the future. For its part, Turkey launched an official request to the U.N. for a no-fly zone over Syria. The same day, Israel shot down a Syrian warplane after it entered the Golan area from Quneitra.
By 3 October 2014, ISIL forces were heavily shelling the city of Kobanî and were within a kilometer of the town. Within 36 hours from 21 October, the Syrian air force carried out over 200 airstrikes on rebel-held areas across Syria and US and Arab jets attacked IS positions around Kobanî. Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi said the YPG forces in Kobanî had been provided with military and logistical support. Syria reported its air force had destroyed two fighter jets operated by IS. By 26 January, the Kurdish YPG forced ISIL to retreat from Kobanî, thus fully recapturing the city. The U.S. later confirmed that the city had been cleared of ISIL forces, and ISIL admitted defeat in Kobanî city three days later, although they vowed to return.
The Southern Front (October 2014 – February 2015)
In February 2014, the Southern Front of the Free Syrian Army formed in southern Syria. Six months later, they started a string of victories in 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 offensive) during this period, that included the IRGC and Hezbollah, recaptured 15 towns, villages and hills, but the operation slowed soon after and stalled.
Since early 2015, opposition military operations rooms based in Jordan and Turkey began increasing cooperation, with Saudi Arabia and Qatar also reportedly agreeing upon the necessity to unite opposition factions against the Syrian government.
Northern Al-Nusra Front and Islamist takeover (October 2014 – March 2015)
In late October 2014, a conflict erupted between the al-Nusra Front on one side and the western-backed SRF and Hazzm Movement on the other (Al-Nusra Front–SRF/Hazzm Movement conflict). ISIL reportedly reinforced al-Nusra. By the end of February 2015 al-Nusra had defeated both groups, captured the entire Zawiya Mountain region in Idlib province and several towns and military bases in other governorates, and seized weapons supplied by the CIA to the two moderate groups. The significant amount of weapons seized included a small number of 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. Reuters reported that this represented al-Nusra crushing pro-Western rebels in the north of the country. 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. The Western-backed 30th Division of the FSA remained active elsewhere in Idlib.
By 24 March 2015 the al-Nusra Front dominated most of Idlib province, except for the government-held provincial capital, Idlib, which they had encircled on three sides along with its Islamist allies. On 28 March a joint coalition of Islamist forces, the Army of Conquest, captured Idlib. This left the north largely taken over by Ahrar ash-Sham, al-Nusra Front and other Islamist rebels, with the south of the country becoming the last significant foothold for the mainstream, non-jihadist opposition fighters.
Army of Conquest advances in Idlib (April 2015 – June 2015)
On 22 April, a new rebel offensive was launched in the north-west of Syria and by 25 April, the rebel coalition Army of Conquest had captured the city of Jisr al-Shughur. At the end of the following month, the rebels also seized the Al-Mastumah military base, and Ariha, leaving government forces in control of tiny pockets of Idlib, including the Abu Dhuhur military airport. In addition, according to Charles Lister (Brookings 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. Still, according to some, the FSA in northern 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 Army of Conquest coalition.
Rebel advances led to government and Hezbollah morale plunging dramatically. In north-west 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 effective control of the entire area.
Resurgent ISIL advance (May 2015 – September 2015)
On 21 May, ISIL took control of Palmyra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, after eight days of fighting. The jihadists also captured the nearby towns of Al-Sukhnah and Amiriya, as well as several oil fields. Following the capture of Palmyra, ISIL conducted mass executions in the area, killing an estimated 217–329 government civilian supporters and soldiers, according to opposition activists. Government sources put the number of killed at 400–450. By early June, ISIL reached the town of Hassia, which lies on the main road from Damascus to 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 being sucked further into the war.
On 25 June, ISIL launched two offensives. One was a surprise diversionary attack on Kobanî, while the second targeted government-held parts of Al-Hasakah city. The ISIL offensive on Al-Hasakah displaced 60,000 people, with the UN estimating a total of 200,000 would be displaced. 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 members.
ISIS captured Qaryatayn city from the government on 5 August 2015. Australia joined the bombing of ISIL in Syria in mid September, an extension of their efforts in Iraq for the last year. On August 2, U.S. officials informed Reuters that the 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.
Russian intervention and government offensive (30 September 2015–February 2016)
On 30 September 2015, at an official request by the Syrian government headed by President Bashar al-Assad, the Russian Aerospace Forces began a sustained campaign of air strikes against both ISIL and the anti-Assad FSA. 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 and the Arab-Syrian opposition, Obama reportedly emphasizing to his team that the U.S. would continue to support the Syrian opposition now that Russia had joined the conflict.
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 targets in Syria destroying those and causing no civilian casualties. On the same day, the Syrian government's ground forces launched a ground offensive that in the following few days succeeded in recapturing some territory in northern Hama Governorate, close to the government's coastal heartland in the west of the country.
On 8 October 2015, the U.S. officially announced the end of the Pentagon’s $500 million program to train and equip Syrian rebels in an acknowledgment that the program had failed (other covert and significantly larger CIA programs to arm anti-government fighters in Syria continue).
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 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. Despite multiple top-ranking casualties incurred by the Iranian forces advising fighters in Syria, in mid-October the Russian-Syrian-Iranian-Hezbollah offensive targeting rebels in Aleppo went ahead.
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 concentrating mostly on Raqqa. On 30 October and two weeks later, Syria peace talks were held in Vienna, initiated by the United States, Russia, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, in which on 30 October Iran participated for the first time in negotiations on Syrian settlement. 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 Province, where government forces had been under siege since April 2013. In mid-November 2015, in the wake of the Russian plane bombing over Sinai and the Paris attacks, both Russia and France significantly intensified their strikes in Syria, France closely coordinating with the U.S. military. 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", with the French naval group led by flagship Charles De Gaulle that had been on her way to eastern Mediterranean since early November. 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 as apparently designed to prevent those from returning under the Syrian government's control; the Russian official pointed out that such strikes by France could not be justified as they were carried out without the Syrian government's consent. 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 forces had led to the Islamic State-claimed attacks in Paris.
On 19 November 2015, U.S. President Barack Obama, speaking of the Vienna process, said he was unable to "foresee a situation in which we can end the civil war in Syria while Assad remains in power"; he urged Russia and Iran to stop supporting the Syrian government. 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, unanimously passed Resolution 2249 that urged UN members to "redouble and coordinate their efforts to prevent and suppress terrorist acts committed specifically by 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 Security Council, and as may further be agreed by the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) and endorsed by the UN Security Council". The adopted resolution was drafted by France and co-sponsored by the UK the following day after 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.
On 24 November 2015, Turkey shot down a Russian warplane that allegedly violated Turkish airspace and crashed in northwestern Syria, leading to the Russian pilot's death. Following the crash, it was reported that Syrian Turkmen rebels from Syrian Turkmen Brigades attacked and shot down a Russian rescue helicopter, killing a Russian naval infantryman. 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 causing multiple casualties on the ground. On 2 December 2015, the Parliament of the United Kingdom voted to expand Operation Shader into Syria with a majority of 397-223. That day, two British Tornado aircraft took off from RAF Akrotiri immediately at 22:30, each carrying three Paveway bombs. Two further aircraft were deployed at 00:30 on 3 December, and all aircraft returned by 06:30 without their bombs. Defense Secretary 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 to join the eight already there.
On 7 December 2015, the government of 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. The government condemned the strikes, the first time the government forces would be struck by the coalition, as an act of "flagrant aggression"; the coalition spokesman denied it was responsible. 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. The claim was denied by the Russian military spokesman. 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 that had been held by Jaysh al-Islam.
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 and al-Qaeda; it made no mention of the future role of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
On 12 January 2016, the 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, in the northwestern province of Latakia, and continued to advance north. On 16 January 2016, ISIL militants launched raid on government-held areas in the city of Deir ez-Zor and killed up to 300 people. Counter-strikes by Russian Air Force fighter jets, in support of Syrian army forces, were reported to take back the areas.
On 21 January 2016, Russia's activity presumably aimed at setting up a new base in the government-controlled Kamishly Airport was first reported; the northeastern town of Qamishli in the Al-Hasakah Governorate had been largely under the Syrian Kurds' control since the start of the Syrian Kurdish–Islamist conflict in the governorate of 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). On 24 January 2016, the Syrian government announced its forces, carrying on with their Latakia offensive, had seized the predominantly Sunni-populated town of Rabia, the last major town held by rebels in western Latakia province; Russian forces were said to have played an important role in the recapture. The capture of Rabia was said to threaten rebel supply lines from Turkey. By 26 January 2016, the Syrian government established "full control" over the town of Al-Shaykh Maskin in the Daraa Governorate, 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.
Partial ceasefire (from 26 February–July 2016)
On 26 February 2016, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2268 that endorsed a previously brokered U.S.-Russian deal on a "cessation of hostilities". The cease-fire started on 27 February 2016 at 00:00 (Damascus time). The ceasefire does not include attacks on UN-designated terrorist organizations. At the close of February 2016, despite individual clashes, the truce was reported to hold. By the end of March, the Syrian government forces with support from Russia and Iran successfully captured Palmyra from the ISIL.
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. At the end of July 2016, the fighting between the government and Islamist rebels in and around Aleppo intensified.
SDF advances and Turkish military intervention (August 2016–October 2016)
On 12 August 2016, the 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.
A few days after, the battle of al-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; the next day the capture of the city was completed. 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.
On 24 August 2016, Turkey's armed forces invaded Syria in the Jarablus area controlled by ISIL starting what the Turkish president called the Operation Euphrates Shield, aimed against, according to his statement, both the IS and Kurdish "terror groups that threaten our country in northern Syria". The Syrian government denounced the intervention as a "blatant violation of its sovereignty" and said that "fighting terrorism isn’t done by ousting ISIS and replacing it with other terrorist organizations backed directly by Turkey". The PYD leader Salih Muslim said that Turkey was now in the "Syrian quagmire" and would be defeated like IS. Speaking in Ankara the same day, US vice president 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.
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. On 29 August, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter specified that the U.S. did not support Turkey's advance south of Jarablus. The warning as well as an announcement made by the U.S. of a tentative ceasefire between the Turkish forces and the Kurds in the area of Jarablus were promptly and angrily dismissed by Turkey's officials. However, combat between the Turkish forces and the SDF died down, and instead Turkish forces moved West to confront IS. In the meantime the SDF, including Western volunteers, continued to reinforce Manbij.
At sunset on 12 September 2016, a U.S.-Russian brokered cease-fire came into effect. Five days later, the U.S. and other coalition members' jets bombed Syrian Army positions near Deir ez-Zor—purportedly by accident, but with Russia contending that it was intentional—killing at least 62 Syrian troops that were fighting ISIL militants. Shortly after, the ceasefire broke down, and on 19 September the Syrian Army declared to no longer observe the truce. Also on 19 September, an aid convoy in 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. The offensive succeeded on 14 December, when the final Rebel stronghold in Aleppo was recaptured by the Syrian government followed by a ceasefire agreement.
On 26 October 2016 US Defense Secretary Ash Carter said that an offensive to retake Raqqa from IS will begin within weeks. The SDF proceeded with this effort, in operation Wrath of Euphrates. This operation utilised 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. By January 2017, much of the land west of Raqqa had been seized, and the second phase of the operation was complete.
Russian/Iranian/Turkish backed ceasefire (December 2016 – April 2017)
In December 2016, Syrian government forces completely recaptured all of rebel-held parts of Aleppo, ending the 4-year battle in the city. 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." On December 29, 2016 Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a new ceasefire deal had been reached between the Syrian Government and opposition groups, with Russia and Turkey acting as guarantors, and Iran as a signatory to a trilateral agreement. The ceasefire came into effect at 00:00 Syrian time (02:00 UTC) on December 30. It does not include UN-designated terrorist groups, such as 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 January 15.
Early reports indicated that despite sporadic fighting incidents, the ceasefire appeared to be holding, with no civilian deaths. Also late on December 29, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported that four million people in Damascus and surrounding areas were without reliable access to water after major supply infrastructure was subject to deliberate targeting on December 22. 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.
On January 2, 2017, rebel groups said that they would disengage from planned talks after alleged ceasefire violations by Government forces in the Wadi 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. At the end of January, government forces managed to capture Wadi Barada and the water supply of Damascus was restored.
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. A new peace conference in Geneva was held on 23 February.
On 23 February, Turkish forces captured Al-Bab from ISIL north-east of Aleppo. Syrian government forces started an offensive east of Aleppo to conquer Dayr Hafir from ISIL and prevent further Turkish advances.
On March 17, 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.
The Syrian Arab Army entered Dayr Hafir, the last stronghold held by the Islamic State in East Aleppo, on March 23, and secured it by March 23. This opened up an opportunity to push south into the Ar-Raqqa governate where the Islamic State's de facto capital resides; however on March 23, a Syrian Democratic Forces contingent landed on a peninsula west of Raqqa via boats and helicopters, in an effort to cut off the Syrian Arab Army from entering the Islamic State's de facto capital, Raqqa. On 28 March, an agreement was reportedly brokered by Qatar and 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 Governorate besieged by rebel forces, in exchange for the evacuation of residents and rebels in Zabadani and Madaya, two towns under siege by government forces in the Rif Dimashq Governorate.
U.S. strikes over Khan Shaykhun chemical attack; and renewed fighting (April 2017 – June 2017)
On 7 April, in what was the U.S.' first deliberate direct attack on Syrian forces in the six years of the conflict, U.S. warships launched fifty-nine 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. As the U.S. strike was conducted without authorization from either the United States Congress or United Nations Security Council, it raised questions about its legality under the U.S. law as well as international law. An emergency meeting of the UN Security Council was held, having been requested by Bolivia and supported by Russia; the U.S. representative said that ″the moral stain of the Assad regime could no longer go unanswered.″ Russian president′s spokesman said 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″.
Meanwhile, intense fighting between government forces and rebel groups that began north of Hama on 21 March, continued, with the government forces making major advances in mid-April that included retaking the town of Halfaya.
On 12 April, the agreement to exchange the inhabitants of the rebel-held towns of Zabadani and Madaya with the inhabitants of the pro-government towns of Al-Fu'ah and Kafraya began to be implemented. On 15 April, a convoy of buses carrying evacuees from Al-Fu'ah and Kafriya was attacked by a suicide bomber in Aleppo, killing more than 126 people.
On 4 May 2017, Russia, Iran, and Turkey signed an agreement in Astana to create four "de-escalation zones" in Syria. The four zones include the Idlib Governorate, the northern rebel-controlled parts of the Homs Governorate, the rebel-controlled eastern Ghouta, and the Jordan–Syria border. The agreement was rejected by some rebel groups, and the Democratic Union Party also denounced the deal, saying that the ceasefire zones are "dividing Syria up on a sectarian basis". The ceasefire came into effect on 6 May.
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. Nevertheless, the Syrian government′s desert offensive continued and on 9 June the government forces set up positions around 70 kilometres (40 miles) northeast of al-Tanf, thus securing a part of Syrian-Iraqi border for the first time since 2015.
Ceasefire; CIA arms cutoff (July 2017 - present)
On 7 July 2017, the U.S., Russia, and Jordan agreed to a ceasefire in part of southwestern Syria. Russia gave assurances that Assad would abide by the agreement.
On 19 July 2017, it was reported that the Donald Trump administration had decided to halt the CIA program to equip and train anti-government rebel groups, a move sought by Russia.
Advanced weaponry and tactics
Sarin, mustard agent and chlorine gas have been used during the conflict. Numerous casualties led to an international reaction, especially the 2013 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. The initial reports did not accuse any party of using chemical weapons. In August 2016, a confidential report by the United Nations and the OPCW explicitly blamed the Syrian military of Bashar al-Assad for dropping chemical weapons (chlorine bombs) on the towns of Talmenes in April 2014 and Sarmin in March 2015 and ISIS for using sulfur mustard on the town of Marea in August 2015.
The United States and the European Union have accused the Syrian government of conducting several chemical attacks. Following the 2013 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". After the April 2017 Khan Shaykhun chemical attack, the United States launched its first attack against Syrian government forces.
Many nations including but not limited to Syria, the United States, Russia, China, Israel and 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 began using cluster bombs in September 2012. Steve Goose, director of the Arms Division at Human Rights Watch said "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."
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". 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 and also in Kafr Batna. A panel of United Nations human rights investigators reported that the Syrian government used thermobaric bombs against the strategic town of Qusayr in March 2013. In August 2013, the BBC reported on the use of napalm-like incendiary bombs on a school in northern Syria. On 2 December 2015, The National Interest reported that Russia was deploying the 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."
Several types of anti-tank missiles are in use in Syria. Russia has sent 9M133 Kornet, third-generation anti-tank guided missiles to the Syrian Government whose forces have used them extensively against armour and other ground targets to fight Jihadists and rebels. U.S.-made BGM-71 TOW missiles are one of the primary weapons of rebel groups and have been primarily provided by the United States and Saudi Arabia. The U.S. has also supplied many Eastern European sourced 9K111 Fagot launchers and warheads to Syrian rebel groups under its Timber Sycamore program.
In June 2017, Iran attacked ISIL targets in the Deir Ezzor area in eastern Syria with Zolfaghar ballistic missiles fired from western Iran, in the first use of mid-range missiles by Iran in 30 years. According to Jane's Defence Weekly, the missiles travelled 650-700 kilometres.
||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)|
Ba'athist Syria and allies
Syrian Armed Forces
Before the uprising and war broke out, the Syrian Armed Forces were estimated at 325,000 regular troops and 280,000–300,000 reservists. 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. According to a poll organised by British ORB International, up to 73% of the population in government-controlled areas support the government effort.
National Defense Force
The Syrian NDF was formed out of pro-government militias. They receive their salaries and military equipment from the government, and number around 100,000 troops. 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. 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.
The Shabiha are unofficial pro-government militias drawn largely from Syria's 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. 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 and the Syrian government and clashing with pro-opposition demonstrators. The opposition blames the shabiha for the many violent excesses committed against anti-government protesters and opposition sympathizers, as well as looting and destruction. In December 2012, the shabiha were designated a terrorist organization by the United States.
Bassel al-Assad is reported to have created the shabiha in the 1980s for government use in times of crisis. Shabiha have been described as "a notorious Alawite paramilitary, who are accused of acting as unofficial enforcers for Assad's government"; "gunmen loyal to Assad", and, according to the Qatar-based Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies, "semi-criminal gangs comprised of thugs close to the government". Despite the group's image as an Alawite militia, some shabiha operating in Aleppo have been reported to be Sunnis. In 2012, the Assad government created a more organized official militia known as the Jaysh al-Sha'bi, allegedly with help from Iran and Hezbollah. As with the shabiha, the vast majority of Jaysh al-Sha'bi members are Alawite and Shi'ite volunteers.
The Christian militias in Syria (and northern Iraq) are largely made up of ethnic Assyrians, Syriac-Arameans, and Armenians. Sensing that they depend on the largely secular government, the militias of Syrian Christians fight both on the Syrian government's side  and with Kurdish forces. According to the WorldTribune.com, "The sources said thousands of Christians were joining the Syrian Army as well as such government militias as National Defense Forces and the Popular Committees. They said NDF helped organize Christian units to protect communities, particularly in the Assyrian regions of north eastern Syria. A major unit has been called the Christian Resistance, said to operate in the Homs province."
The Eastern Aramaic speaking Assyrians in north eastern Syria and northern Iraq have formed various militias (including the Assyrian Defense Force, Dwekh Nawsha and Sootoro) in order to defend their ancient towns, villages and farmsteads from ISIS. They often but not always fight in conjunction with Kurdish and Armenian groups. Assyrian fighters from Sootoro have also clashed militarily with the Kurdish dominated YPG, accusing them of attempting to appropriate Assyrian lands for the Kurds. The Female Protection Forces of the Land Between the Two Rivers is an all-female force of Assyrian fighters in north east Syria and northern Iraq fighting ISIS alongside other Assyrian and Kurdish units.
In February 2013, former secretary general of Hezbollah, Sheikh Subhi al-Tufayli, confirmed that Hezbollah was fighting for the Syrian Army, which in October 2012, General Secretary Hassan Nasrallah had still denied was happening on a large scale, except to admit that Hezbollah fighters helped the Syrian government "retain control of some 23 strategically located villages [in Syria] inhabited by Shiites of Lebanese citizenship". Nasrallah said that Hezbollah fighters have died in Syria doing their "jihadist duties".
In 2012 and 2013, Hezbollah was active in gaining control of territory in the Al-Qusayr District of Syria, by May 2013 publicly collaborating with the Syrian Army and taking 60 percent of the city[which?] by the end of 14 May. In Lebanon, there have been "a recent increase in the funerals of Hezbollah fighters" and "Syrian rebels have shelled Hezbollah-controlled areas." As of 14 May 2013, Hezbollah fighters were reported to be fighting alongside the Syrian Army, particularly in the Homs Governorate. Hassan Nasrallah has called on Shiites and Hezbollah to protect the shrine of Sayida Zeinab. President Bashar al-Assad denied in May 2013 that there were foreign fighters, Arab or otherwise, fighting for the government in Syria.
On 25 May 2013, Nasrallah announced that Hezbollah was fighting in Syria against Islamic extremists and "pledged that his group will not allow Syrian militants to control areas that border Lebanon". In the televised address, he said, "If Syria falls in the hands of America, Israel and the takfiris, the people of our region will go into a dark period." According to independent analysts, by the beginning of 2014, approximately 500 Hezbollah fighters had died in the Syrian conflict. On 7 February 2016, 50 Hezbollah fighters were killed in a clash by the Jaysh al-Islam near Damascus. These fighters were embedded in the SAA formation called Army Division 39.
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. Since the civil uprising phase of the Syrian civil war, Iran has provided the Syrian government with financial, technical, and military support, including training and some combat troops. Iran and Syria are close strategic allies. Iran sees the survival of the Syrian government as being crucial to its regional interests. Iran's supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, was reported to be vocally in favor of the Syrian government.
By December 2013 Iran was thought to have approximately 10,000 operatives in Syria. But according to Jubin Goodarzi, assistant professor and researcher at Webster University, 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". Lebanese Hezbollah fighters backed by Tehran have taken direct combat roles since 2012. In the summer of 2013, Iran and Hezbollah provided important battlefield support for Syrian forces, allowing them to make advances on the opposition. In 2014, coinciding with the peace talks at Geneva II, Iran has stepped up support for Syrian President Assad. The Syrian Minister of Finance and Economy stated more than 15 billion dollars had come from the Iranian government. Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps Quds Force commander 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.
328 IRGC troops, including several commanders, have reportedly been killed in the Syrian civil war since it began.
Foreign Shia militias
Shia fighters from Afghanistan and Pakistan are "far more numerous" than Sunni non-Syrian fighters, though they have received "noticeably less attention" from the media. The number of Afghans fighting in Syria on behalf of the Syrian government has been estimated at "between 10,000 and 12,000", the number of Pakistanis is not known (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 Afghanistan—and the Pakistani liwa’ zaynabiyun (Zaynabiyun Brigade) formed in November 2015. Many or most of the fighters are refugees, and 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. The fighters are also paid a relatively high salary, and some have told journalists, that “the Islamic State is a common enemy of Iran and Afghanistan … this is a holy war,” and that they wish to protect the Shia pilgrimage site of Sayyida Zaynab, from Sunni jihadis.
On 30 September 2015, Russia's Federation Council unanimously granted the request by President of Russia Vladimir Putin to permit the use of the Russian Armed Forces in <Syria. On the same day, the Russian general Sergey Kuralenko, who represents Russia at the joint information center in Baghdad set up by Russia, Iran, Iraq and Syria to coordinate their operations against Islamic State, arrived at the US Embassy in Baghdad and requested that any U.S. forces in the targeted area leave immediately. An hour later, the Russian aircraft based in the government-held territory began conducting airstrikes against the rebel forces.
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 province on 18 June 2017, Russia announced that U.S.-led coalition warplanes flying west of the 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. Nevertheless, a few days later, the U.S. military stated that the deconfliction line remained open and that 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. 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.″
Syrian Opposition and allies
The armed opposition consists of various groups that were either formed during the course of the conflict or joined from abroad. According to Seymour Hersh, the opposition is financed by Saudi Arabia to the tune of $700 million a year (2014). In the north-west of the country, the main opposition faction is the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front allied with numerous other smaller Islamist groups, some of which operate under the umbrella of the Free Syrian Army (FSA). The designation of the FSA by the West as a moderate opposition faction has allowed it, under the CIA-run programmes, to receive sophisticated weaponry and other military support from the U.S., Turkey and some Gulf countries that effectively increases the total fighting capacity of the Islamist rebels.
In the east, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a jihadist militant group originating from Iraq, made rapid military gains in both Syria and Iraq. ISIL eventually came into conflict with other rebels, especially with al-Nusra, leaders of which did not want to pledge allegiance to ISIL. By July 2014, ISIL controlled a third of Syria's territory and most of its oil and gas production, thus establishing itself as the principal anti-government force. As of 2015[update], Qatar, Saudi Arabia and 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 Brotherhood-linked rebel groups. Jihadist groups became dominant within the armed opposition Also, in the north-east, local Kurdish militias such as the YPG have taken up arms and have fought with both rebel Islamist factions and government loyalists.
Free Syrian Army
The formation of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) was announced on 29 July 2011 by a group of defecting Syrian Army officers, encouraging others to defect in order to defend civilian protesters from violence by the state and effect government change. By December 2011, estimates of the number of defectors to the FSA ranged from 1,000 to over 25,000. The FSA, initially "headquartered" in Turkey, moved its headquarters to northern Syria in September 2012, and functions more as an umbrella organization than a traditional military chain of command.
In March 2012, two reporters of 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.
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, 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 group Ahrar ash-Sham but denied any cooperation with Islamist group al-Nusra Front.
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 military officers were actually joining IS, but by September 2014 the Free Syrian Army was joining an alliance and common front with Kurdish militias including the YPG to fight ISIS.
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, while Russia's foreign minister Sergey Lavrov called the FSA "an already phantom structure", but later proclaimed that Russia was ready to aid the FSA with airstrikes against ISIS.
The Islamic Front (Arabic: الجبهة الإسلامية, al-Jabhat al-Islāmiyyah) is a merger of seven rebel groups involved in the Syrian civil war that was announced on 22 November 2013. The group has between 40,000 and 60,000 fighters. An anonymous spokesman for the group has stated that it will not have ties with the Syrian National Coalition, though a member of the political bureau of the group, Ahmad Musa, has stated that he hopes for recognition from the Syrian National Council in cooperation for what he suggested "the Syrian people want. They want a revolution and not politics and foreign agendas." The group is widely seen as backed and armed by Saudi Arabia.
The U.S. warships′ launching of fifty-nine Tomahawk missiles on the Syrian government's Shayrat Air Base on 7 April 2017, heralded the U.S.' start of deliberate direct military action against the Syrian government′s and pro-government forces in the six years of the conflict. Thereafter, occasional U.S. attacks on government-aligned forces continued in what was billed as self-defence of the U.S.-led coalition-partnered forces. The U.S. move prompted Russia to announce on June 18 that it would henceforth track jets and drones of the U.S.-led coalition and halt an incident-prevention hotline with the U.S. military.
In September 2013, US Secretary of State John Kerry stated that extremist Salafi jihadist groups make up 15–25% of rebel forces. 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. These numbers contrast with a report by Jane's Information Group, a defense outlet, claiming almost half of all rebels being affiliated to Islamist groups. 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 extremists. 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.
The ICSR estimates that 2,000–5,500 foreign fighters have gone to 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. Another estimate puts the number of foreign jihadis at 15,000 by early 2014.
In October 2012, various Iraqi religious groups join the conflict in Syria on both sides. Radical Sunnis from Iraq have traveled to Syria to fight against President Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian government.
In September 2013, leaders of 13 powerful rebel brigades rejected the Syrian National Coalition and called 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 and Al-Tawheed.
The al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front, being the biggest jihadist group in Syria, is often considered to be the most aggressive and violent part of the opposition. Being responsible for over 50 suicide bombings, including several deadly explosions in Damascus in 2011 and 2012, it is recognized as a terrorist organization by the Syrian government and was designated as such by United States in December 2012. It has been supported by the Turkish government for years, according to US intelligence. 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. The leader of al-Nusra, Abu Mohammad al-Golani, said that the group would not merge with the Islamic State of Iraq but would still maintain allegiance to Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of al-Qaeda. The estimated manpower of al-Nusra Front is approximately 6,000–10,000 people, including many foreign fighters.
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. The Mujahideen's strict religious views and willingness to impose sharia law disturbed many Syrians. Some rebel commanders have accused foreign jihadists of "stealing the revolution", robbing Syrian factories and displaying religious intolerance. Al-Nusra Front has been accused of mistreating religious and ethnic minorities since their formation. 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".
Syrian Democratic Forces
The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are an alliance of Arab, Assyrians, Armenian, Kurdish, and Turkmen militias fighting for a democratic and federalist Syria. They are opposed to the Assad government, but have directed most of their efforts against Al-Nusra Front and ISIL.
The group formed in December 2015, led primarily by the predominantly Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG). Estimates of its size range from 55,000 to 80,000 fighters. While largely Kurdish, it's estimated that about 40% of the fighters are non-Kurdish. Kurds – mostly 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.: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. Despite this concession, most Kurds remain opposed to the government, hoping instead for a more decentralized Syria based on federalism. The Syriac Military Council, like many Christian militias, originally formed to defend Christian villages, but joined the Kurdish forces to retake Hasakah from ISIS in late 2015  Before the formation of the SDF, the YPG was the primary fighting force in Rojava, 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).
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)
Called Dā'ash or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (abbrv. ISIL or ISIS [Islamic State of Iraq and Syria]) made rapid military gains in Northern 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". It has imposed strict 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 and for not tolerating non-Islamist militia groups, foreign journalists or aid workers, whose members it has expelled, imprisoned, or executed. According to Michael Weiss, ISIL has not been targeted by the Syrian government "with quite the same gusto" as other rebel factions.
By summer 2014, 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.
The Syrian government did not begin to fight ISIL until June 2014 despite its having a presence in Syria since April 2013, according to Kurdish officials. According to IHS Markit, between April 2016 and April 2017, ISIL offensively fought the Syrian government 43% of times, Turkish-backed rebel groups 40% of times, and the Syrian Democratic Forces 17% of times.
ISIL was able to recruit more than 6,300 fighters in July 2014 alone. In September 2014, reportedly some Syrian rebels signed a "non-aggression" agreement with ISIL in a suburb of Damascus, citing inability to deal with both ISIL and the Syrian Army's attacks at once. Some Syrian rebels have, however, decried the news on the "non-aggression" pact. ISIL have also planted bombs in the ancient city area of Palmyra, a city with population of 50,000. 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. Having lost nearly half of their territory in Iraq since 2014, many more Islamic State leaders have begun to sell their property and sneak into Syria, further destabilizing the region.
U.S.-led coalition against ISIL
A number of countries, including some individual NATO members, have since September 2014 participated in air operations in 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 pursuant to their collectively undertaken commitments, including those of 3 December 2014. Those who have conducted airstrikes in Syria include the United States, Australia, Bahrain, Canada, France, Jordan, The Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom. Some members are involved in the conflict beyond combating ISIL; Turkey has been accused of fighting against Kurdish forces in Syria and Iraq, including intelligence collaborations with ISIL in some cases. The conclusion of a highly classified assessment carried out by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 2013 was that 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 and Islamic State.
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. The major parties supporting the Syrian Government are Russia, Iran and Hezbollah. They 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 and SIGINT support directly from GRU, in addition to significant political support from Russia.
The main Syrian opposition body – the Syrian coalition – receives political, logistic and military support from the United States, Britain and France. Some Syrian rebels get training from the CIA at bases in Qatar, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Under the aegis of operation Timber Sycamore and other clandestine activities, 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. The Syrian coalition also receives logistic and political support from Sunni states, most notably Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia; all the three major supporting states however have not contributed any troops for direct involvement in the war, though Turkey was involved in border incidents with the Syrian Army. The Financial Times and The Independent reported that Qatar had funded the Syrian rebellion by as much as $3 billion. It reported that Qatar was offering refugee packages of about $50,000 a year to defectors and family. Saudi Arabia has emerged as the main group to finance and arm the rebels.
French television France 24 reported that the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, with perhaps 3,000 foreign jihadists among its ranks, "receives private donations from the Gulf states." It is estimated 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. The Turkish government has been also accused of helping ISIL by turning a blind eye to illegal transfers of weapons, fighters, oil and pillaged antiquities across the southern border. As of 2015[update], Qatar, Saudi Arabia and 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 Brotherhood-linked rebel groups.
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 Operations forces had been made to rescue Americans and other foreigners held captive in 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 Powers Resolution remained unresolved.[needs update] On 12 September, US Secretary of State 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 to join talks on confronting ISIL.
The plans revealed in September also involve Iraq in targeting ISIL. US warplanes have launched 158 strikes in 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. 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 groups. These include ISIL and the Nusra Front, linked to al-Qaeda.
American and Turkish militaries announced a joint plan to remove Islamic State militants from a 100-kilometre (60 mi) strip along the Turkish border. In December 2015, the Soufan Group estimated a total of 27,000-31,000 foreign fighters from 86 countries had travelled to Syria and Iraq to join extremist groups.
Syrian National Coalition
On 11 November 2012 in Doha, the National Council and other opposition groups united as the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces. The following day, it was recognized as the legitimate government of 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. The main aims of the National Coalition are replacing the 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]".
Syrian National Council
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. In November 2012, the council agreed to unify with several other opposition groups to form the Syrian National Coalition. The SNC has 22 out of 60 seats of the Syrian National Coalition.
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". It has been defined by Reuters as the internal opposition's main umbrella group. 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. 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.
Relations with other Syrian political opposition groups are generally poor. The Syrian Revolution General Commission, the Local Coordination Committees of Syria or the Supreme Council of the Syrian Revolution oppose the NCC calls to dialogue with the Syrian government. In September 2012, the Syrian National Council (SNC) reaffirmed that despite broadening its membership, it would not join with "currents close to [the] NCC". Despite recognizing the Free Syrian Army on 23 September 2012, 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".
Syrian Democratic Council
The 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 Ahmad Jarba. In August 2016 the SDC opened a public office in al-Hasakah.
The Syrian Democratic Council was invited to participate in the international Geneva III peace talks on Syria in March 2016. However, it rejected the invitation.
Reporting, censoring and propaganda
The Arab League, European Union, the United Nations, 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. 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 League and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation suspended Syria's membership. Russia and China vetoed Western-drafted 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.
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. 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.
The international humanitarian response to the conflict in Syria is coordinated by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) in accordance with General Assembly Resolution 46/182. The primary framework for this coordination is the Syria Humanitarian Assistance Response Plan (SHARP) which appealed for USD $1.41 billion to meet the humanitarian needs of Syrians affected by the conflict. Official United Nations data on the humanitarian situation and response is available at an official website managed by UNOCHA Syria (Amman). UNICEF is also working alongside these organizations to provide vaccinations and care packages to those in need.
USAID and other government agencies in US delivered nearly $385 million of aid items to 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. Islamic Relief has stocked 30 hospitals and sent hundreds of thousands of medical and food parcels.
Other countries in the region have also contributed various levels of aid. Iran has been exporting between 500 and 800 tonnes of flour daily to Syria. 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. Syrian refugees make up one quarter of Lebanon's population, mostly consisting of women and children. In addition, Russia has said it created six humanitarian aid centers within Syria to support 3000 refugees in 2016.
The 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.
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 were United States, European Commission, United Kingdom, Kuwait, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Japan, UAE, and Norway.
On 2 January 2013, the United Nations stated that 60,000 had been killed since the civil war began, with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay saying "The number of casualties is much higher than we expected, and is truly shocking." Four months later, the UN's updated figure for the death toll had reached 80,000. On 13 June, 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. 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.
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. 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. In addition, UNICEF reported that over 500 children had been killed by early February 2012, and another 400 children have been reportedly arrested and tortured in Syrian prisons; 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. In mid-October 2012, the opposition activist group SOHR reported the number of children killed in the conflict had risen to 2,300, and in March 2013, opposition sources stated that over 5,000 children had been killed. In January 2014, a report was released detailing the systematic killing of more than 11,000 detainees of the Syrian government.
On 20 August 2014, a new U.N. study concluded that at least 191,369 people have died in the Syrian conflict. 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).
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".
The violence in Syria caused millions to flee their homes. As of March 2015, Al-Jazeera estimate 10.9 million Syrians, or almost half the population, have been displaced. 3.8 million have been made refugees. As of 2013[update], 1 in 3 of Syrian refugees (about 667,000 people) sought safety in Lebanon (normally 4.8 million population). Others have fled to Jordan, Turkey, and Iraq. 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 in July 2011, shortly after the towns of Deraa, Homs, and Hama were besieged. In September 2014, the UN stated that the number of Syrian refugees had exceeded 3 million. According to the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Sunnis are leaving for 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". Greek Catholic Patriarch Gregorios III Laham claims more than 450,000 Syrian Christians have been displaced by the conflict. As of September 2016, the European Union has reported that there are 13.5 million refugees in need of assistance in the country.
Human rights violations
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".
According to three international lawyers, 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. 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.
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 and Hama. In 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. 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.
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 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 and Raqqa governorates, amounting to crimes against humanity", said the report from 27 August 2014.
Enforced disappearances and arbitrary detentions have also been a feature since the Syrian uprising began. 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. 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.
In February 2017, 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." Three months later, the 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. 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. The Syrian government denied the allegations.
The successive governments of Hafez and Bashar al-Assad have been closely associated with the country's minority Alawite religious group, an offshoot of Shia, whereas the majority of the population, and most of the opposition, is Sunni. Alawites started to be threatened and attacked by dominantly 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 men of military age have been killed fighting in the Syrian civil war. In May 2013, SOHR stated that out of 94,000 killed during the war, at least 41,000 were Alawites.
Many Syrian Christians reported that they had fled after they were targeted by the anti-government rebels. (See: Sectarianism and minorities in the Syrian Civil War#Christians.)
Al Jazeera reported that "The Druze accuse rebels of committing atrocities against their community in Syria ... Syria's Druze minority has largely remained loyal to President Bashar al-Assad since the war began in 2011."
As militias and non-Syrian Shia—motivated by pro-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 community to achieve not just a territorial victory but a sectarian one as well”—allegedly occupying mosques and replacing Sunni icons with pictures of Shia leaders.
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".
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 where Syrian soldiers had been seen eating. By July 2012, the human rights group Women Under 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.
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 since the formation of the organization in 2013", as reported by the Institute for the Study of War.
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. 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.
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 have been damaged. Destruction of antiquities has been caused by shelling, army entrenchment, and looting at various tells, museums, and monuments. 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.
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 was heavily damaged during battles being fought within the district, while Palmyra and 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.
In 2014 and 2015, following the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, several sites in 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. The 13th-century Palmyra Castle was extensively damaged by retreating militants during the Palmyra offensive in March 2016. ISIL also destroyed ancient statues in Raqqa, and a number of churches, including the Armenian Genocide Memorial Church in Deir ez-Zor.
In June 2014, members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) crossed the border from 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 on several occasions. There were repeated incidents of sectarian violence in the North Governorate of Lebanon between supporters and opponents of the Syrian government, as well as armed clashes between Sunnis and Alawites in Tripoli.
During the course of the war, there have been several international peace initiatives, undertaken by the Arab League, the United Nations, and other actors. The Syrian government has refused efforts to negotiate with what it describes as armed terrorist groups. On 1 February 2016, the UN announced the formal start of the UN-mediated Geneva Syria peace talks that had been agreed on by the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) in Vienna. On 3 February 2016, the UN Syria peace mediator suspended the talks. 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 said he hoped peace talks in Geneva would lead to concrete results, and stressed the need for a political process in Syria.
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 and Turkey supporting the ceasefire agreement brokered in late December 2016. The Astana Process talks was billed by a Russian official as a complement to, rather than replacement, of the United Nations-led Geneva Process talks. On 4 May 2017, at the fourth round of the Astana talks, representatives of Russia, Iran, and Turkey signed a memorandum whereby four "de-escalation zones" in Syria would be established, effective of 6 May 2017.
- 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 on YouTube, official video documentary and the official text of the ).VGTRK
- Syrian diary. Sources: TV air footage (video documentary + English subtitles on YouTube), official video documentary of the .VGTRK
- Endgame: Syria (2012)
- Syrian Warfare (2017)
- Syrian Civil War Map
- Terrorism in Syria
- Islamist uprising in Syria from 1976 until 1982
- Iraqi Civil War (2014 to present)
- Yemeni Civil 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 ceasefires
- "Iraq conducts first airstrikes against ISIS in Syria". CNN. February 24, 2017.
- Bodeen, Christopher (8 August 2016). "Chinese Admiral Visits Syria in Show of Support". Associated Press. Retrieved 10 December 2016.
- "Trump ends CIA arms support for anti-Assad Syria rebels: U.S. officials". Reuters. 19 July 2017. Retrieved 19 July 2017.
- Ruth Sherlock (25 November 2011). "Libya’s new rulers offer weapons to Syrian rebels". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 8 April 2017.
C. J. Chivers; Eric Schmitt; Mark Mazzetti (21 June 2013). "In Turnabout, Syria Rebels Get Libyan Weapons". The New York Times. Retrieved 8 April 2017.
- "ISI Confirms That Jabhat Al-Nusra Is Its Extension in Syria, Declares 'Islamic State of Iraq And Al-Sham' As New Name of Merged Group". MEMRI. 8 April 2013. Retrieved 10 April 2013.
- "Key Free Syria Army rebel 'killed by Islamist group'". BBC News. 12 July 2013.
- "Al-Qaeda in Iraq confirms Syria's Nusra Front is part of its network". Al Arabiya. 9 April 2013. Retrieved 15 June 2014.
- Hozan Mamo; Ahmed Shiwesh (10 June 2016). "French special forces assisting Kurdish-led SDF in war on ISIS north Syria". ARA News. Retrieved 7 March 2017.
- "U.S.-backed fighters poised to cut key ISIS supply line". CBS News. 9 June 2016. Retrieved 7 March 2017.
- Irish, John (13 November 2013). "Syrian Kurdish leader claims military gains against Islamists". Reuters. Archived from the original on 14 November 2013. Retrieved 12 April 2017.
Muslim said the PYD had received aid, money and weapons from the Iraq-based Kurdistan Democratic Party and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan...
- Ranj Alaaldin (16 December 2014). "A Dangerous Rivalry for the Kurds". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 April 2017.
Once again, the P.U.K. saw a chance to seize the initiative, by suggesting that it, rather than the Kurdistan regional government or the K.D.P., was providing weapons and supplies to the Syrian Kurdish fighters, who belong to a party that has historically been at odds with the K.D.P.
- Jack Murphy (23 March 2017). "Did Kurdistan’s Counter-Terrorist Group assault the Tabqa Dam in Syria?". SOFREP. Retrieved 29 March 2017.
- "First unit of Peshmerga enters Kobane". ARA News. 30 October 2014. Retrieved 29 March 2017.
- "France Says Its Airstrikes Hit an ISIS Camp in Syria". The New York Times. 28 September 2015.
- "COALITION: SPECIAL OPS FORCES TRAIN, EQUIP TWO OPPOSITION GROUPS IN SOUTHERN SYRIA". NRT News. 22 May 2017. Retrieved 22 May 2017.
- Barton, Rosemary (26 November 2015). "Justin Trudeau to pull fighter jets, keep other military planes in ISIS fight". CBC News. Retrieved 12 September 2016.
- "Syrian War Statistics". Retrieved 13 August 2017.
- "Leading Syrian regime figures killed in Damascus bomb attack". The Guardian. July 2012.
- "Syria defence minister killed in Damascus bomb". The Daily Telegraph. 18 July 2012. Retrieved 18 July 2012.
- "Syria Remains Silent on Intelligence Official’s Death". The New York Times. 24 April 2015.
- "Assad cousin killed in Syria's Latakia". Al Jazeera. 8 October 2015. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
- "Iranian commander Brigadier General Hossein Hamedani killed by Isis while advising Syrian regime". The Independent. 8 October 2015. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
- "Iranian General Is Killed in Syria". The Wall Street Journal. 13 February 2013. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
- "Commander of Hezbollah Freed by Israel Is Killed in Syria". BBC. 20 December 2015. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
- "Obituary: Hezbollah military commander Mustafa Badreddine". BBC. 14 May 2016. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
- "Al-Nusra Front claims responsibility for Hezbollah fighters’ death". Middle East Monitor. 19 January 2015. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
- "Israeli strike on Syrian Golan Heights 'kills son of top military commander and five other fighters from Lebanese Shiite militant group'". Daily Mail. 19 January 2015. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
- "Analysis: Shiite Afghan casualties of the war in Syria". Long War Journal. 12 March 2015. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
- Turkish Special Forces: From stopping a coup to the frontline of the ISIL fight Hürriyet Daily News, 24 August 2016.
- "Russian raids kill prominent Syrian rebel commander". Al Jazeera.
- "Leading Syrian rebel groups form new Islamic Front". BBC. 22 November 2013. Retrieved 22 January 2014.
- "Top Syrian rebel commander dies from wounds". Reuters.
- "Suicide bombing kills head of Syrian rebel group". The Daily Star.
- "Al Qaeda’s chief representative in Syria killed in suicide attack". Long War Journal.
- Nic Robertson & Paul Cruickshank (5 March 2015). "Source: Syrian warplanes kill leaders of al-Nusra". CNN.
- "Senior Nusra Front commander killed in Syria air strike". Al Jazeera. 6 March 2015. Retrieved 3 June 2015.
- "Nusra Front spokesman killed by air strike in Syria". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 4 April 2016.
- "Syria's Qaeda spokesman, 20 jihadists dead in strikes: monitor". Yahoo!. Retrieved 4 April 2016.
- "Air strike kills top commander of former Nusra group in Syria". Reuters. 9 September 2016.
- "Leader of Qaeda Cell in Syria, Muhsin al-Fadhli, Is Killed in Airstrike, U.S. Says". The New York Times.
- "Isis leader incapacitated with suspected spinal injuries after air strike". The Guardian. 1 May 2015.
- "U.S. Condemns Terrorist Attacks in Iraq and Pledges to Help Combat al Qaeda". United States Department of State. 10 August 2013.
- "Isis: US-trained Tajik special forces chief Gulmurod Khalimov becomes Isis war minister". Yahoo News. 6 September 2016.
- "ISIS confirms death of senior leader in Syria". Long War Journal. February 2014. Retrieved 16 September 2016.
- Alessandria Masi (11 November 2014). "If ISIS Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Is Killed, Who Is Caliph Of The Islamic State Group?". International Business Times. Retrieved 11 June 2015.
- "A Top ISIS Leader Is Killed in an Airstrike, the Pentagon Says". The New York Times. 25 March 2016. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
- "U.S. confirms death of ISIS operative Omar al-Shishani". CNN. 14 March 2016. Retrieved 14 March 2016.
- "U.S. drone strike kills a senior Islamic State militant in Syria".". The Washington Post. 3 July 2015. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
- "U.S. names ISIS commander killed in raid". CNN. 19 May 2015. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
- "U.S.: ISIS No.2 killed in U.S. drone strike in Iraq". CNN. 22 August 2015. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
- "Inside the leadership of Islamic State: how the new 'caliphate' is run". The Daily Telegraph. 9 July 2014. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
- "Death of ‘ISIL commander’ in southern Syria a blow to the group". The National.
- "New Operation Inherent Resolve commander continues fight against ISIL".
- "Syria military strength". Global Fire Power. 17 October 2015.
- "Syria's diminished security forces". Agence France-Presse. 28 August 2013. Retrieved 14 May 2014.
- ISIS’ Iraq offensive could trigger Hezbollah to fill gap left in Syria The Daily Star, 16 June 2014
- "Iran ‘Foreign Legion’ Leads Battle in Syria’s North". The Wall Street Journal. 17 February 2016.
- Jonathan Landay, Phil Stewart, Mark Hosenball (4 November 2015). "Russia's Syria force has reportedly grown to 4,000 people". Business Insider. Retrieved 4 November 2015.
- Thomas Grove (18 December 2015). "Up to Nine Russian Contractors Die in Syria, Experts Say". The Wall Street Journal.
- "State-of-the-art technology is giving Assad’s army the edge in Syria". 26 February 2016.
- Cockburn, Patrick (11 December 2013). "West suspends aid for Islamist rebels in Syria, underlining their disillusionment with those forces opposed to President Bashar al-Assad". The Independent.
- "Front to Back". Foreign Policy.
- Who are these 70,000 Syrian fighters David Cameron is relying on?. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
- "Is Syria’s Idlib being groomed as Islamist killing ground?".
- "Al Qaeda Is Starting to Swallow the Syrian Opposition".
- Rida, Nazeer (30 January 2017). "Syria: Surfacing of ‘Hai’at Tahrir al-Sham’ Threatens Truce". Asharq Al-Awsat.
- "Isis ranks dwindle to 15,000 amid 'retreat on all fronts', claims Pentagon". The Guardian. 11 August 2016. Retrieved 13 August 2016.
- "US Assistant Secretary of Defense tells Turkey only ISIS is a target, not Kurds – ARA News". 16 January 2017.
- CNN, Tim Lister. "The race to retake Raqqa from ISIS". CNN.
- "Will the Islamic State last through 2015?". Today's Zaman. Retrieved 4 January 2015.
- "Kurdish Women Turning Kobani into a Living 'Hell' for Islamic State".
- "About 475 thousand persons were killed in 76 months of the Syrian revolution and more than 14 million were wounded and displaced". 16 July 2017.
- "Tantalizing promises of Bashar al- Assad kill more than 11000 fighters of his forces during 5 months.". SOHR. 17 December 2014. Retrieved 15 December 2016.
- "Israel's Army Chief: Hezbollah Struggling With 'Budgetary and Morale Crisis'". Haaretz. Retrieved 22 February 2017.
- 34 Russian soldiers killed-in-action across Syria since intervention began: Kremlin
- "Exclusive: Russian losses in Syria jump in 2017, Reuters estimates show". 2 August 2017. Retrieved 2 August 2017.
- "Iraqi Shia Fighters in Syria".
- "Syria: Opposition, almost 11,500 civilians killed". Ansamed.ansa.it. 19 March 2012. Retrieved 27 August 2013.
- "Fırat Kalkanı Harekâtı'ndan acı haber".
- 8,000 killed in fighting (29 June 2014–28 June 2015), 47 killed in fighting with rebels (27–29 May 2016), 1,026 killed in Manbij offensive, 283 killed in Palmyra offensive (2017), 735 killed in Battle of Raqqa (2017), 403 killed in Central Syria campaign (July 2017–present), 538 executed (29 June 2014–29 July 2017), 6,663 killed in U.S. air-strikes (22 September 2014–22 July 2017), 3,646 killed in Russian air-strikes (30 September 2015–30 July 2017), total of 21,341+ reported killed
- "YPG releases balance-sheet of 2014: Nearly 5,000 ISIS members killed".
"Balance of the War Against Hostile Groups in Rojava, Northern Syria: Year 2015".
YPG releases the 2016 balance sheet of war
- "Syrian Army Kills Nearly 5,000 IS Militants in Three Months: Source". sputniknews.com. 25 December 2014.
"The army takes full control of Palmyra city, hundreds of ISIS terrorists killed – Syrian Arab News Agency".
- Jonathan Steele. "The Syrian Kurds Are Winning!". The New York Review of Books. Retrieved 12 April 2016.
- "YPG releases the 2016 balance sheet of war – English". www.ypgrojava.org.
- "At least 82 Kurdish YPG fighters killed in recent clashes with ISIS, Turkish army – ARA News". 4 April 2017.
- "Marine is first US death in operations against Islamic State". The Times of India. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
- "Jordan pilot murder: Islamic State deploys asymmetry of fear". 4 February 2015 – via www.bbc.com.
- "American Is Killed in First Casualty for U.S. Forces in Syria Combat". The New York Times. 24 November 2016.
- News, A. B. C. (27 May 2017). "US service member killed in Syria identified as 22-year-old from Georgia". ABC News.
- "Violations Documenting Center". Violations Documenting Center. 8 February 2017. Retrieved 8 February 2017.
- editor, Ian Black Middle East (10 February 2016). "Report on Syria conflict finds 11.5% of population killed or injured" – via The Guardian.
- (UNHCR), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. "UNHCR Syria Regional Refugee Response".
- Thomas Gibbons-Neff (16 September 2016). "U.S. Special Operations forces begin new role alongside Turkish troops in Syria". The Washington Post. Retrieved 16 September 2016.
- Andrew Tilghman (16 November 2016). "U.S. halts military support for Turkey’s fight in key Islamic State town". MilitaryTimes. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
- Fadel, Leith (27 September 2016). "US Coalition knew they were bombing the Syrian Army in Deir Ezzor".
- "More than 215,000 killed in Syria since 2011". 3news.co.nz.
- "Syria's civil war explained from the beginning". www.aljazeera.com.
- "Syria: The story of the conflict". 11 March 2016 – via www.bbc.com.
- "Declaration of establishment by Syrian Democratic Forces". Kurdish Question. 15 October 2015. Retrieved 17 February 2017.
- Katz, Whitney (13 January 2015). "JECC assists in the establishment of Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve" (Press release). JECC Public Affairs. Retrieved 17 February 2017.
- Hubbard, Anne Barnard, Ben; Fisher, Ian (15 April 2017). "As Atrocities Mount in Syria, Justice Seems Out of Reach" – via NYTimes.com.
- Lundgren, Magnus (2016). "Mediation in Syria: Initiatives, strategies, and obstacles, 2011–2016". Contemporary Security Policy. 37: 283–298.
- Douglas Little (1990). "Cold War and Covert Action: The United States and Syria, 1945–1958". Middle East Journal. 44 (1). JSTOR 4328056.
- "1949–1958, Syria: Early Experiments in Cover Action, Douglas Little, Professor, Department of History, Clark University" (PDF).
- "Syria Profile". BBC. 13 September 2013. Retrieved 13 September 2013.
- Wilson, Scott (25 April 2011). "Syria escalates attacks against demonstrators". The Seattle Times. Archived from the original on 29 April 2011.
- "Assad says Syria 'able' to get out of crisis". Al Jazeera. 25 May 2012. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
- Alianak 2007, p. 55.
- Golovnina, Maria (19 March 2012). "Asma al Assad, a "desert rose" crushed by Syria's strife". Reuters. Retrieved 8 August 2013.
- "No Room to Breathe: State Repression of Human Rights Activism in Syria". 19 (6). Human Rights Watch. October 2007: 8–13.
- George, Alan (2003). Syria:Neither Bread nor Freedom. New York, NY: Zed Books. pp. 56–58. ISBN 1-84277-213-9.
- Liam Stack; J. David Goodman (1 April 2011). "Syrian Protesters Clash With Security Forces". New York Times. Retrieved 19 December 2013.
- "President Bashar al-Assad interview with Croatian newspaper Vecernji List". leakofnations.com. Retrieved 2017-04-12.
- "Syria". The World Factbook. 2007.
- Heneghan, Tom (3 December 2011). "Syria's Alawites is a secretive, unorthodox sect". Reuters. Retrieved 8 August 2013.
- Nir Rosen. "Assad's Alawites: The guardians of the throne".
- Syria's Alawites: The People Behind Assad The Wall Street Journal, 25 June 2015.
- "Syria". U.S. Department of State.
- "Syria Kurd leader vows to keep up democracy struggle". Reuters. 7 April 2011. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
- "US will not intervene in Syria as it has in Libya, says Hillary Clinton". The Guardian. London. 27 March 2011.
- "Syria's Assyrians threatened by extremists – Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East". Al-Monitor. Retrieved 24 July 2014.
- Phillips, David J. (1 January 2001). Peoples on the Move: Introducing the Nomads of the World. William Carey Library. p. 301. ISBN 978-0-87808-352-7. Retrieved 12 November 2012
- ^ "A Country Study: Syria". Library of Congress. Retrieved 30 January 2013.
- "Rebels in Syria's largest city of Aleppo mostly poor, pious and from rural backgrounds". Fox News Channel. Associated Press. 16 October 2012. Retrieved 28 January 2013.
- "Youth Exclusion in Syria: Social, Economic, and Institutional Dimensions". Journalist's Resource. Retrieved 11 August 2012.
- Kelley, C. P., Mohtadi, S., Cane, M. A., Seager, R., & Kushnir, Y. (2015). Syria had also received in the same period around 1.5 million refugees from Iraq. By 2011, Syria was facing steep rises in the prices of commodities and a clear deterioration in the national standard of living.
- Fountain, Henry (2015-03-02). "Researchers Link Syrian Conflict to a Drought Made Worse by Climate Change". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-05-01.
- "Syria: Climate Change, Drought and Social Unrest". The Center for Climate & Security. 2012-02-29. Retrieved 2017-05-01.
- "Aleppo water supply cut as Syria fighting rages". BBC News. 2012-09-08. Retrieved 2017-05-01.
- "World Report 2010 Human Rights Watch World Report 2010", p. 555.
- Human Rights Watch World Report 2005 Events of 2004, Human Rights Watch 2005. ISBN 1-56432-331-5.
- "Syria's Assad vows to lift emergency law by next week". Reuters. 16 April 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
- "Syria". Amnesty International. 2009. Archived from the original on 28 February 2012. Retrieved 1 February 2012.
- "Stateless Kurds in Syria granted citizenship". CNN. 7 April 2011. Archived from the original on 29 February 2012. Retrieved 13 November 2011.
- Brandon, James (21 February 2007). "The PKK and Syria's Kurds". Terrorism Monitor. Washington, DC: The Jamestown Foundation. 5 (3). Retrieved 1 February 2012.
- Isseroff, Ami (24 March 2004). "Kurdish agony – the forgotten massacre of Qamishlo". MideastWeb. Retrieved 16 February 2012.
- Black, Ian (16 July 2010). "Syrian human rights record unchanged under Assad, report says". The Guardian. London.
- Fahim, Kareem; Saad, Hwaida (8 February 2013). "A Faceless Teenage Refugee Who Helped Ignite Syria's War". New York Times. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
- "Mid-East unrest: Syrian protests in Damascus and Aleppo". BBC. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
- "Middle East unrest: Silence broken in Syria". BBC. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
- Flamand, Hugh Macleod and Annasofie. "Tortured and killed: Hamza al-Khateeb, age 13". www.aljazeera.com.
- "Syria: Seven Police Killed, Buildings Torched in Protests". Israel National News. Retrieved 18 August 2015.
- "The struggle for Syria in 2011" (PDF). Understanding War. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
- "Assad blames conspirators for Syrian protests". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
- "US policy on Syria 'depends on success in Libya'". BBC News. 24 May 2011. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
- "Armed residents put up resistance to Syrian army". Khaleej Times (Dubai). 31 May 2011. Retrieved 2 April 2014.
- "Syria protests: Rights group warns of 'Deraa massacre'". BBC News. 5 May 2011. Archived from the original on 6 May 2011. Retrieved 2 February 2014.
- Salloum, Raniah (10 October 2013). "From Jail to Jihad: Former Prisoners Fight in Syrian Insurgency". Spiegel. Retrieved 27 May 2014.
- Holliday, Joseph (December 2011). "The Struggle for Syria in 2011" (PDF). Institute for the Study of War. Retrieved 20 September 2013. (page 21)
- "UN: Syria now in a civil war". MSNBC. 1 December 2011. Retrieved 26 December 2011.
- "Deadly Reprisals: deliberate killings and other abuses by Syria's armed forces" (PDF). Amnesty International. June 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 June 2012. Retrieved 25 June 2012.
- "Deadly violence flares in Syria as EU-Russia seek solutions". Al Arabiya. 4 June 2012. Retrieved 6 July 2012.
- "Syria in civil war, says UN official Herve Ladsous". BBC News. 12 June 2012. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
- van Wilgenburg, Wladimir (17 January 2013). "Kurdish Forces Clash with Main Syrian Opposition in Syria, Reports Say". Rudaw. Archived from the original on 18 January 2013. Retrieved 4 February 2013.
- "Syrian forces Loyal to Asaad break Rebel Blockade in North Syria". Jafria News. 17 April 2013.
- "Syria army closes in on Qusayr near Lebanon". Al Arabiya Network. 21 April 2013. Retrieved 7 June 2015.
- Yacoub, Khaled (21 April 2013). "Syria fighting flares both sides of Lebanese border". Reuters.
- "Syrian army, backed by jets, launches assault on Homs". Haaretz. 29 June 2013.
- Sam Dagher; Farnaz Fassihi (22 August 2013). "Syria Presses Offensive, Shrugs Off Gas Attack Claims". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 5 September 2013.
- "Boosted by Foreign Shi'ite Militia, Assad's Forces Advance on Aleppo". Voice of America. Reuters.
- "Syria rebels urge Aleppo mobilisation to halt assault". BBC. 13 November 2013.
- "Al-Qaida militants captured town in northern Syria". Associated Press. 19 September 2013. Archived from the original on 13 July 2015. Retrieved 4 January 2014.
- "Syrian rebel factions tell al Qaeda groups to withdraw". 3 October 2013. Retrieved 4 January 2014.
- "ISIL captures Syrian town on border with Turkey". World Bulletin. 22 November 2013. Retrieved 4 January 2014.
- Bulos, Nabih (5 January 2014). "Al Qaeda-linked group routed in Syrian rebel infighting". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
- Chulov, Martin (6 January 2014). "Syrian rebels oust al-Qaida-affiliated jihadists from northern city of Raqqa". The Guardian.
- "Syria jihadist HQ in Aleppo falls to rebels". Retrieved 21 May 2014.
- Moukalled, Diana (7 January 2014). "Syria: ISIS besieged by opposition fighters in Raqqa « ASHARQ AL-AWSAT". Aawsat.net. Retrieved 20 March 2014.
- "Turkish army strikes ISIS convoy in Syria". Retrieved 21 May 2014.
- "Syria: Turkey Hits Islamic State of Iraq Convoy Near Border". EA WorldView. 29 January 2014. Retrieved 20 March 2014.
- Moukalled, Diana (27 January 2014). "Key Al-Qaeda militant reportedly killed in Syria " ASHARQ AL-AWSAT". Aawsat.net. Retrieved 20 March 2014.
- "Islamist rebels oust ISIS from Syria's Deir Ezzor". Retrieved 21 May 2014.
- "إدلب خالية من " داعش " بشكل كامل .. و الثوار يعلنون بدء معركة تحرير " خان شيخون " ( فيديو ) | عكس السير دوت كوم". Aksalser.com. Retrieved 20 March 2014.
- Syria Comment – Joshua Landis (21 February 2014). "Saudis And CIA Agree To Arm Syrian 'Moderates' With Advanced Weapons – OpEd Eurasia Review". Eurasiareview.com. Archived from the original on 26 June 2015. Retrieved 20 March 2014.
- Liz Sly for the Washington Post. "Renegade al-Qaida faction withdraws from Syrian border town of Azaz | World news | Guardian Weekly". Theguardian.com. Retrieved 20 March 2014.
- "Syria Army Advancing on Key Rebel Town, Supply Route". Theepochtimes.com. 4 March 2014. Archived from the original on 26 June 2015. Retrieved 20 March 2014.
- Bulos, Nabih; McDonnell, Patrick J. (8 March 2014). "Syria government forces seize strategic town near Lebanon border". LA Times.
- "Syrian army advances amid new wave of explosions". Turkish Weekly. 7 March 2014. Archived from the original on 10 March 2014. Retrieved 21 May 2014.
- "Syria conflict: Assad's forces fully control rebel stronghold of Yabroud, near Lebanon". 16 March 2014.
- "Israel bombs Syria's Golan after blast". Al Jazeera English. Retrieved 20 March 2014.
- Associated, The. "Syrian Troops Capture Village Near Lebanon Border". NPR. Archived from the original on 19 March 2014. Retrieved 20 March 2014.
- "Syria rebels seize prison near Jordan, free inmates | Arab News – Saudi Arabia News, Middle East News, Opinion, Economy and more". Arabnews.com. 14 March 2014. Retrieved 20 March 2014.
- "Le régime syrien reprend le Krak des Chevaliers et coupe la "route libanaise" des rebelles – L'Orient-Le Jour". Lorientlejour.com. 20 March 2014. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
- Albert Aji (29 March 2014). "Syrian army takes two villages near Lebanon". The Daily Star. Retrieved 30 March 2014.
- "Syria condemns Turkey 'aggression' after jet downed". Ndtv.com. Damascus. Agence France-Presse. 24 March 2014. Retrieved 7 June 2015.
- "Rebels battle for northern Syria town | Video | Reuters.com". Uk.reuters.com. 17 March 2014. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
- "Assad's cousin killed in fighting with Syrian rebels near Turkish border | JPost | Israel News". JPost. 23 March 2014. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
- "Assad cousin killed in Syria's Latakia – Middle East". Al Jazeera English. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
- "Rebels take northern Syrian town on main highway: activists". Reuters. 4 April 2014.
- "Syrian army regains full control of Rankous | News, Middle East". The Daily Star. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
- "Syria rebels advance in Aleppo city". Aljazeera.com. Retrieved 21 May 2014.
- "Syria rebels surrender in border town". Aljazeera.com. Retrieved 21 May 2014.
- "السيطرة على تل استراتيجي جديد على الحدود مع الجولان المحتل". Syriahr.com. 27 April 2014. Retrieved 21 May 2014.
- "Syria Daily, April 25: Insurgents Take Key Regime Position in the Southwest". EA WorldView. 25 April 2014. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
- "FSA strikes jihadist-held stronghold". The Times. 26 April 2014. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
- "Activists: regime forces captured Tal Buraq". Syriahr.com. 29 April 2014. Retrieved 21 May 2014.
- "Evacuation truce in key Syrian city of Homs goes into effect". CNN. 7 May 2014. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
- "BBC News – Syria war: Air defence chief Gen Hussein Ishaq killed". Bbc.co.uk. 1 January 1970. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
- Reuters – 14 hours ago (20 April 2011). "Syria air defence head killed, rebels take northern town – Yahoo News UK". Uk.news.yahoo.com. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
- "Syria election: Assad win expected amid civil war". BBC. 3 June 2014.
- Ian Black. "Syria presidential election: Assad's stage-managed show of democracy". the Guardian. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
- Sherlock, Ruth (2 June 2014). "Syria set to vote as the bloodshed goes on". Telegraph.co.uk. London. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
- "Supreme Constitutional Court: Number of participants in Presidential elections reached at 11.634.412 with 73.42%". SANA. Damascus. 4 June 2014. Archived from the original on 7 June 2014. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
- "Syrian President Bashar al-Assad wins third term". BBC. 4 June 2014.
- "Kerry calls Syrian presidential vote 'meaningless'". Aljazeera. 4 June 2014.
- "Foreign delegation in Syria slams West, endorses elections". The Times of India. Retrieved 8 June 2014.
- "Indian Delegation to monitor Syria election on June 3". KohraM. Archived from the original on 13 July 2015. Retrieved 8 June 2014.
- "International observers say Syrian elections were transparent". laInfo.es. 4 June 2014. Retrieved 8 June 2014.
- "Arab League criticizes Syrian election plan". Reuters. 22 April 2014. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
- GHAZANFAR ALI KHAN (4 June 2014). "GCC slams Syrian elections as 'farce'". Arab News. RIYADH. Retrieved 7 June 2015.
- "Syria election: Bashar al-Assad re-elected president in poll with 'no legitimacy'". ABC. 4 June 2014. Retrieved 8 June 2014.
- Sam Tarling (5 June 2014). "Inside Aleppo: the people refusing to leave Syria's shattered city". Telegraph. London. Retrieved 8 June 2014.
- "Syria calls in North Korea to monitor its presidential election". The Week. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
- Dagher, Sam (3 June 2014). "Syria Elections a Forum to Celebrate Assad". WSJ. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
- "Bashar Assad claims 88.7 per cent of vote in Syrian election". thestar.com. Toronto. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
- Sly, Liz (4 June 2014). "Kerry calls Syria election a 'great big zero'". Washington Post. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
- Bar'el, Zvi (31 May 2014). "An Assad election win will bolster Syria's status quo". Haaretz. Retrieved 31 May 2014.
- Saul, Heather (3 June 2014). "Syria elections 2014: Voters turn out for ballot denounced as a 'sham' by West". London: The Independent. Retrieved 5 June 2014.
- "Syrians vote as war rages". Gulf-Times. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
- "Assad wins vote branded illegitimate by opposition – Hindustan Times". hindustantimes.com. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
- "Syria pounds ISIS bases in coordination with Iraq". The Daily Star Newspaper – Lebanon. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
- "Syrian troops recapture key border town near Turkey". 15 June 2014.
- "KUNA : Battles in Syria claim 50 lives – SOHR". kuna.net.kw. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
- "UPDATE 2-Ninety killed by Islamist attack on Syrian gas field – monitor". Reuters. 17 July 2014. Retrieved 3 August 2014.
- "مقتل 65 من قوات النظام في شاعر". Syriahr.com. 20 July 2014. Retrieved 3 August 2014.
- "Jihadists storm Syrian army base in Raqqa". The Daily Star Newspaper – Lebanon. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
- "Jihadists capture key base from Syrian army". The Daily Star Newspaper – Lebanon. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
- "Syrian militant commander admits collaboration with Israel". 14 August 2014. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
- "Syria Daily, August 14: Are Insurgents Doomed in Aleppo?". EA WorldView. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
- "Syrian army takes town near Damascus in blow to rebels". Reuters UK. 14 August 2014. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
- "en/News/middle-east/2014/08/13/ISIS-militants-seize-more-territory-in-Syria-". english.alarabiya.net. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
- "Islamic militants crush tribal uprising in Syria". Indian Monitor. Washington Post. 11 August 2014. Archived from the original on 26 June 2015. Retrieved 7 June 2015.
- "Aleppo province: a man was killed with... – Syrian Observatory for Human Rights – Facebook". Retrieved 2 October 2014.
- "World – News – msn". MSN. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
- "IS Killed More than 700 Syria Tribe Members in 2 Weeks". Naharnet. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
- "Lebanon's Hezbollah kills top jihadist in Syria: NGO". Yahoo News. 19 August 2014. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
- "ISIL commander 'Abu Abdullah al-Iraqi' killed in Syrian army operation: report". 19 August 2014. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
- "Hezbollah kills suicide bombing plotter: activists". The Daily Star Newspaper – Lebanon. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
- Curt Nickisch (3 May 2013). "N.H. Family: Missing Journalist James Foley In Syrian Prison". WBUR. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
- Polly Mosendz. "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 remains in Syria". The Daily Star Newspaper – Lebanon. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
- "Syrian army repels Islamic State attack". Retrieved 2 October 2014.
- "Third ISIL Attempt to Seize Tabaqa Airport Fails". Retrieved 2 October 2014.
- AFP. "ISIS begins push to seize Syrian air base". Retrieved 2 October 2014.
- Toby Helm. "US 'set to launch air strikes' on senior Isis terror chiefs in Syria – World news – The Observer". the Guardian. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
- Cockburn, Patrick (20 February 2016). "Turkish threats of intervention after Ankara bombing taken seriously by Obama". independent.co.uk. Retrieved 21 February 2016.
- Butler, Daren (17 February 2016). "Kurds' advance in Syria divides U.S. and Turkey as Russia bombs". Reuters. Retrieved 21 February 2016.
- "Jihadists seize Syria's Tabqa airport after fierce battle". Channel NewsAsia. Archived from the original on 26 August 2014. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
- "More than 500 dead in battle for Syria's Tabqa airport: NGO". The Citizen. Archived from the original on 26 August 2014. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
- Saul, Heather (28 August 2014). "YouTube video posted by Isis militants shows 'execution of 250 Syrian soldiers'". Independent. London. Retrieved 29 August 2014.
- "Syria war planes hit jihadist sites in Deir Ezzor". Zee News. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
- "Syria Warplanes Strike ISIL Sites in Deir Ezour, Army Operates across Country". Retrieved 2 October 2014.
- "U.S. airstrikes hit ISIS targets inside Syria – CNN.com". CNN. 23 September 2014. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
- "US, Arab allies launch first wave of strikes in Syria". Fox News. 23 September 2014. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
- Abi-Habib, Maria (23 September 2014). "Syria Rebels Say They Were Told of Airstrikes Against Islamic State". WSJ. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
- "Syria Daily, Sept 23: US Airstrikes & Missiles Hit Islamic State". EA WorldView. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
- "Erdogan asks UN for no-fly zone over Syria". Retrieved 2 October 2014.
- "IDF shoots down Syrian fighter plane infiltrating Israeli territory". Haaretz.com. 23 September 2014. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
- "BBC News – Islamic State steps up attack on Syrian town of Kobane". BBC News. 4 October 2014. Retrieved 14 October 2014.
- "Syria destroys two warplanes used by ISIS to train fighter pilots". Mail Online. London. 22 October 2014. Retrieved 23 October 2014.
- "BBC News – Syria conflict: '200 air force strikes' in 36 hours". BBC News. 22 October 2014. Retrieved 23 October 2014.
- Oliver Holmes (22 October 2014). "Syria says shoots down two of three Islamic State jets". Reuters. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
- "Syrian Kurds 'drive Islamic State out of Kobane'". BBC News. 26 January 2015. Retrieved 26 January 2015.
- sohranas. "YPG retakes the entire city of Ayn al- Arab "Kobani" after 112 days of clashes with IS militants". Syrian Observatory For Human Rights. Archived from the original on 16 October 2015. Retrieved 27 January 2015.
- Zargham, Mohammad (31 January 2015). "U.S. general says Syrian town of Kobani taken from Islamic State". Reuters. Retrieved 31 January 2015.
- "ISIS admits Kobani defeat after U.S.-led airstrike campaign in Syria". CTV News. Associated Press. 31 January 2015. Retrieved 31 January 2015.
Members of the Islamic State group have acknowledged for the first time that they were defeated in the Syrian town of Kobani.
- "Syria opposition forces claim regime attack in Daraa futile". Al Monitor. Retrieved 20 February 2015.
- sohranas. "26 members of the regime forces and allied militiamen killed today". Syrian Observatory For Human Rights. Archived from the original on 15 September 2015. Retrieved 4 March 2015.
- "Elijah J. Magnier on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 4 March 2015.
- Perry, Tom; Al-Khalidi, Suleiman (2 April 2015). "As regional war rages, Syria's Assad faces setbacks". Reuters. Retrieved 14 April 2015.
But the offensive stalled after some early but limited gains
- The Christian Science Monitor. "Syrian rebels' march on Damascus becomes fight for their survival (+video)". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 15 April 2015.
- Solomon, Erika; Kerr, Simeon (13 April 2015). "Syria's rebels heartened by healing of Sunni Arab rifts". Financial Times. Retrieved 13 April 2015.
In the south, opposition forces foiled an offensive led by regime allies [...] for the first time since their revolution began, rebels note that advances in the north and south are coinciding, and their backers' two operating rooms – one in Turkey used by Ankara and Doha, and another in Jordan used more by Saudi Arabia and Western allies – appear to be co-ordinating
- Blanford, Nicholas (21 August 2015). "Can Syria's Assad withstand latest battlefield setbacks? (+video)". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 22 April 2015.
The regime's recent setbacks in Idlib and the south are due in part to Assad's regional enemies – including Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, and Jordan – agreeing on the need to unite rebel factions to oust Assad, according to analysts and regional diplomats.
- "US-backed forces in Syria suffer big setback". 1 November 2014. Archived from the original on 7 December 2014. Retrieved 3 November 2014.
- Sly, Liz (2 November 2014). "U.S.-backed Syria rebels routed by fighters linked to al-Qaeda". The Washington Post. Retrieved 3 November 2014.
- Gibbons-Neff, Thomas (15 December 2014). "Al-Qaeda faction in Syria claims to have U.S.-supplied anti-tank weapon". The Washington Post. Retrieved 3 June 2015.
The fielding of a TOW system would not necessarily provide al-Nusra with a capability it didn't already have. Similar weapons systems such as the Chinese HJ-8, French Milan and the Russian Spigot have all been seen in operation in Syria.
- "Southern Syria rebels set collision course with al Qaeda". Reuters. 14 April 2015.
- Lister, Charles (1 June 2015). "An Internal Struggle: Al Qaeda's Syrian Affiliate Is Grappling With Its Identity". Huffington Post. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
But not all saw it the same way, especially when it came to the fighting against the SRF and Harakat Hazm. One FSA commander exclaimed to this author that "Jamal Maarouf was a criminal and his group was unpopular," while another such leader told this author in February 2015 that "Hazm's destruction cannot come soon enough, they have done nothing but cause trouble in Aleppo." [...] Having spoken extensively with leading commanders from across the Syrian spectrum in recent weeks, it is clear this [Army of Conquest] cooperation has at least partly been motivated by a desire to ensure victories in Idlib do not become strategic gains for al Qaeda.
- al-Akla, Ahmad (8 May 2015). "After Syrian Army's Defeat, People Trickle Back to Idlib Towns". IWPR. Retrieved 29 May 2015.
- "The Nusra Front's Game-Changing Rise in Syria". Carnegie Middle East Center. Retrieved 21 September 2015.
- "Middle East – New Islamist alliance seizes Idlib from Syrian troops – France 24". France 24.
- Blasting News. "New Islamist alliance captures Syrian regional capital Idlib from government forces". Blasting News.
- "Thousands flee Syrian city Idlib after rebel capture". The Daily Telegraph. London. 29 March 2015. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
- "As regional war rages, Syria's Assad faces setbacks". Reuters. 2 April 2015.
- "Syria conflict: Islamists capture Jisr al-Shughur". BBC News.
- sohranas. "After al- Mastomi town and its military camp, Al- Fateh Army expels the regime forces from Nihlaya". Syrian Observatory For Human Rights. Archived from the original on 22 May 2015. Retrieved 22 May 2015.
- "Rebels take Ariha from Assad". The Daily Star Newspaper – Lebanon.
- Erin Banco (19 June 2015). "In Syria's North, Opposition Is Making A Major Comeback Thanks To One Rebel Group, And To Turkey". International Business Times.
- "Outside Powers Weigh Their Options in Syria". Stratfor. 6 June 2015. Retrieved 6 June 2015.
- "Hezbollah, Syrian army make big gains in border battle". Reuters. 13 May 2015. Retrieved 13 May 2015.
- "ISIS is 'everywhere' in Syria's ancient city of Palmyra". CNN. 21 May 2015.
- "IS overruns parts of Unesco-listed Syrian city". Retrieved 20 May 2015.
- sohranas. "Islamic State carries out its motto "lasting and explading" and seizes more than 50% of Syria". Syrian Observatory For Human Rights. Archived from the original on 22 May 2015. Retrieved 21 May 2015.
- "Syrian air force targets captured Palmyra city – monitor". Reuters. 25 May 2015.
- "ISIS purges Syria's Palmyra of Assad loyalists". The Times of India. AP. 23 May 2015. Retrieved 23 May 2015.
- "Syria regime launches 15 air raids around Palmyra".
- Spencer, Richard (9 June 2015). "Assad's forces defeated on roads north and south". London: The Telegraph. Retrieved 10 June 2015.
Meanwhile, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, attacked west from Palmyra, reached the town of Hassia on the main road north from Damascus to Homs and the coast.
- "Islamic State Launches Two Attacks in Syria". Stratfor. 25 June 2015. Retrieved 25 June 2015.
The Islamic State launched two attacks in northern Syria on June 25 [...] The second attack was directed against the parts of al-Hasaka city still occupied by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al Assad and Kurds in the northern part of town. The mainstream media has largely focused on the Kobanî attack, but the al-Hasaka operation in the northeast is more important by far.
- "Islamic State attack in northeast Syria reported to displace 60,000 – UN". The Star Online. Reuters. 26 June 2015. Retrieved 26 June 2015.
- Bertrand, Natasha (28 July 2015). "Senior Western official: Links between Turkey and ISIS are now 'undeniable'".
- "ISIS seize Qaryatain town in central Syria". 6 August 2015. Retrieved 9 September 2015.
- "Australia launches first air strikes inside Syria – BBC News". bbc.com. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
- "The US says it will defend Syria rebels with airpower — even from Assad".
- "First U.S.-trained Syria rebel believed killed in fighting: sources". 3 August 2017 – via Reuters.
- "The decision to use the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation abroad (Syria)" (in Russian). RIA Novosti. 30 September 2015.
- "Russian military advisers work in Syria, longtime military cooperation ‘no secret’ - Moscow — RT News". rt.com. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
- "US Confirms Russian Airstrikes in Syria", 30 September 2015.
- Manal. "Syria’s ambassador to Russia urges all countries to join Syria and Russia against terrorism". sana.sy.
- "Syria conflict: Russia launches fresh strikes – BBC News". bbc.com. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
- "Russians make air strikes on Islamic State, US-backed Syrian rebel targets | Stuff.co.nz". stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
- "Obama authorizes resupply of Syrian opposition – CNNPolitics.com". edition.cnn.com. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
- "Russian missiles 'hit IS in Syria from Caspian Sea'". BBC. 7 October 2015.
- "Russia has ground troop battalion, advanced tanks in Syria: U.S. NATO envoy". Reuters. 7 October 2015.
- "Syrian army, Russian jets drive back rebels in fiercest clashes for days: monitor". Reuters. 12 October 2015.
- "Obama Administration Ends Pentagon Program to Train Syrian Rebels". The New York Times. 9 October 2015. Retrieved 9 October 2015.
- "U.S. Weaponry Is Turning Syria Into Proxy War With Russia". The New York Times. 12 October 2015. Retrieved 14 October 2015.
- "US axes $500m scheme to train Syrian rebels, says NYT". The Guardian. 9 October 2015. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
- "Secret CIA effort in Syria faces large funding cut". The Washington Post. 10 June 2015. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
- Lizzie Dearden (9 October 2015). "Iranian commander Brigadier General Hossein Hamedani killed by Isis while advising Syrian regime". The Independent.
- "Iran's involvement in Syria carries growing costs – U.S. official: 'Psychological blow' in ISIS killing of Iranian general in Syria". edition.cnn.com. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
- "Two more Iranian commanders killed in Syria". Al Jazeera. 13 September 2015. Retrieved 14 October 2015.
- "Новости NEWSru.com :: Сирийская армия при поддержке российской авиации пошла в атаку на позиции повстанцев под Хомсом". newsru.com. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
- "Syria and allies Iran and Russia prepare for Aleppo offensive | euronews, world news". euronews.com. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
- "Syria's army, allies plan offensive against insurgents in Aleppo". Reuters. 14 October 2015. Retrieved 14 October 2015.
- "Syrian Army, Hezbollah, Russian Air Force Coordinating for Aleppo Liberation Operation, FARS News Agency, 14-10-15". english.farsnews.com. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
- "Syria conflict: Army launches new Aleppo offensive". BBC. 16 October 2015. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
- "US signals shift in Syria-Iraq campaign against Islamic State". BBC. 28 October 2015. Retrieved 29 October 2015.
- "Syria conflict: John Kerry seeks end to civil war 'hell'". BBC. 29 October 2015. Retrieved 29 October 2015.
- "Syrian army enters Aleppo air base after Islamic State siege – state TV". Reuters. 10 November 2015. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
- "TASS: Military & Defense – Russia involves strategic missile carriers in operation against Islamic State in Syria". TASS.
- "Long-range bombers to fly anti-ISIS missions from Russia, Putin orders Navy to work with France". RT English.
- "French jets bomb ISIS stronghold of Raqqa, Syria; few may have been killed". CNN. 16 November 2015. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
- Путин поручил ВМФ РФ установить контакт с военно-морской группой Франции Interfax, 17 November 2015.
- "Russia steps up attacks against IS with missile bombardment". BBC. 18 November 2015. Retrieved 19 November 2015.
- "France to deploy largest warship in mission against IS". BBC. 5 November 2015. Retrieved 18 November 2015.
- "France more active than rest of the west in tackling Syria". The Guardian. 18 November 2015. Retrieved 19 November 2015.
- МИД РФ: удары Парижа по инфраструктуре Сирии не оправданы самообороной RIA Novosti, 20 November 2015.
- «Если ничего не предпринимать, то террористическая угроза приобретет для нас еще более серьезные масштабы» Kommersant, 20 November 2015.
- President al-Assad to French delegation: Terrorist attacks on Paris can’t be separated from those of Beirut and events in Syria Sana, 14 November 2015.
- Hugh Naylor (14 November 2015). "Syria’s President Assad says Paris attacks result from France’s aiding of rebels". The Washington Post. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
- "Remarks by President Obama and Prime Minister Trudeau of Canada After Bilateral Meeting". The U.S. White House. 19 November 2015. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
- "Obama says Syria settlement needed to eliminate Islamic State". Reuters. 18 November 2015. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
- "Paris attacks: UN backs 'all necessary measures' against IS". BBC. 21 November 2015. Retrieved 21 November 2015.
- "Security Council ‘Unequivocally’ Condemns ISIL Terrorist Attacks, Unanimously Adopting Text that Determines Extremist Group Poses ‘Unprecedented’ Threat". un.org.
- "Cameron hails UN backing for action against Islamic State". BBC. 21 November 2015.
- "U.N. Security Council Unanimously Votes to Adopt France’s Counterterrorism Resolution". The Wall Street Journal. 20 November 2015. Retrieved 21 November 2015.
- "Security council unanimously calls on UN members to fight Isis". The Guardian. 21 November 2015. Retrieved 21 November 2015.
- "Syrian rebels fired on parachuting Russian pilots, killing at least one after Turkey shot down warplane: official". National Post. 25 November 2015. Retrieved 25 November 2015.
- "Deadly 'Russian airstrike' hits market in Syria's Idlib". Al Jazeera. 29 November 2015. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
- "Российская авиация в Сирии разбомбила овощной рынок: минимум 40 погибших". NEWSru. 29 November 2015. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
- "MPs approve motion on ISIL in Syria". UK Parliament. 2 December 2015. Retrieved 5 December 2015.
- "Syria air strikes: What you need to know". BBC. 3 December 2015. Retrieved 12 December 2015.
- "Syria air strikes: RAF Tornado jets carry out bombing". BBC. 3 December 2015. Retrieved 3 December 2015.
- "Syria conflict: Coalition denies air strike on army camp". BBC. 7 December 2015. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
- "Syria calls US-led coalition air strike on Assad regime forces an 'act of aggression'". The Independent. 7 December 2015. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
- "Pentagon says Russian — not American — warplanes hit a Syrian army base". The Washington Post. 7 December 2015. Retrieved 9 December 2015.
- "Washington denies U.S.-led coalition hit Syria army camp". Reuters. 8 December 2015. Retrieved 9 December 2015.
- "4 US-led coalition jets seen over Deir ez Zor in Syria day govt troops attacked – Russian MoD". RT. 7 December 2015. Retrieved 9 December 2015.
- Михаил Алаеддин (14 December 2015). "Источник: сирийская армия вернула контроль над авиабазой близ Дамаска". RIA Novosti. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
- "U.N. endorses Syria peace plan in rare show of unity among big powers". Reuters. 19 December 2015. Retrieved 19 December 2015.
- "Differences remain as key sides meet for Syria talks". Aljazeera. 18 December 2015. Retrieved 19 December 2015.
- Balanche, 2006, p. 88.
- "Syria army fully captures rebel redoubt in Latakia". Al arabia. 12 January 2016. Retrieved 14 January 2016.
- h.said. "Syrian Army establishes control over four villages near Salma in Lattakia and another in Aleppo".
- "Isis massacre: At least 300 killed, several held hostages in east Syria". International Business Times. 17 January 2016.
- "Dozens killed by Islamic State in 'massacre' in Syrian city of Deir ez-Zor". The Guardian. 17 January 2016.
- "Russians survey new airbase on Syria-Turkey border, US officials concerned". Fox News Channel. 21 January 2016. Retrieved 23 January 2016.
- "Россия и США синхронно создают новые авиабазы на севере Сирии". NEWSru. 23 January 2016. Retrieved 23 January 2016.
- "U.S. officials: Russia looking at Syria airfield near Turkey". CNN. 22 January 2016. Retrieved 23 January 2016.
- "US 'takes control' of Rmeilan airfield in Syria".
- "Syria conflict: Major rebel town 'seized' in boost for Assad". BBC. 24 January 2016. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
- Syria regime advances in northwest ahead of peace talks AFP, 24 December 2016.
- Barry Temmo. "Update 4-Army establishes full control over al-Sheikh Miskeen in Daraa and a village in Aleppo".
- Syrian army seizes strategic town in Deraa province: monitor Reuters, 25 January 2016.
- Tide turns in Syrian war with capture of key town Al Jazeera, 26 December 2016.
- "Temporary truce comes into effect". BBC News. 26 February 2016.
- "Joint Statement of the United States and the Russian Federation, as Co-Chairs of the ISSG, on Cessation of Hostilities in Syria". U.S. Department of State. 22 February 2016.
- "U.N. demands Syria parties halt fighting, peace talks set for March 7". Reuters. 26 February 2016.
- A Potential Cease-Fire in Syria. The Atlantic. Published 22 February 2016. Retrieved 3 March 2016.
- Landmark Syria ceasefire begins, with terrorist groups excluded. Scroll.in. Published 27 February 2016. Retrieved 3 March 2016.
- "Syria conflict: UN steps up aid deliveries as truce holds". BBC. 29 February 2016.
- "Syrian army, with Russian air support, advances inside Palmyra". Reuters. 26 March 2016.
- "Syrian army, rebels agree to 72-hour Eid truce, but fighting continues". 7 July 2016 – via Reuters.
- "Syrian Civil War Map / Live Map of the Syrian Civil War". Syrian Civil War Map. Retrieved 17 August 2016.
- "Syria: YPG launches assault to take all of Hasaka".
- Perry, Rodi Said and Tom. "Syria Kurds win battle with government, Turkey mobilises against them". Reuters India. Retrieved 8 January 2017.
- Ali, Idrees. "Coalition jets scrambled to defend U.S. forces from Syrian bombing". Reuters UK. Retrieved 8 January 2017.
- "Erdogan says Syria operation aimed at IS jihadists, Kurdish PYD". 24 August 2016. Archived from the original on 25 August 2016.
- Syria Jarablus: Turkish tanks roll into northern Syria BBC. 24 August 2016.
- Turkey sends tanks into Syria in operation aimed at Isis and Kurds The Guardian, 24 August 2016.
- Syria condemns Turkey’s breach of Syria’s sovereignty in Jarablos Sana, 24 August 2016.
- "MIDEAST – Erdoğan to PYD: Those issuing threats should think about what will happen".
- "Biden orders Syrian Kurds to pull back; Assad govt slams Turkish incursion". 24 August 2016.
- Байден назвал условия, при которых США будут поддерживать курдов RIA Novosti.
- Turkish forces deepen push into Syria, draw U.S. rebuke over their target Reuters, 29 August 2016.
- "Turkish-backed Syrian rebels advance towards Manbij".
- Babb, Carla. "Carter Calls on Turkey to 'Stay Focused' on Islamic State".
- "US' comments about Turkey's targets in Syria unacceptable, says Turkish MFA". Daily Sabah. 30 August 2016. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
- "Syria war: Turkey hits out at US over Kurds comments". BBC. 31 August 2016.
- "Turkey pushes west in Syrian offensive". News.com.au. 2 September 2016. Retrieved 8 January 2017.
- "Syrian Kurdish spokesman says Manbij reinforced, but not by YPG". 29 August 2016 – via Reuters.
- "Syrian Army uses ceasefire". BBC World News. 12 September 2016. Retrieved 12 September 2016.
- "UN security council to hold emergency meeting on US air strikes in Syria". The Guardian. 17 September 2016. Retrieved 8 October 2016.
- Julian Borger (20 September 2016). "US blames Russia after UN aid convoy in Syria targeted by air attack". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 October 2016.
- "Syria conflict: Army declares offensive in eastern Aleppo". BBC World News. 23 September 2016. Retrieved 12 September 2016.
- "Recapture of Aleppo: What next for Syria?". BBC World News. 15 December 2016. Retrieved 15 December 2016.
- "Russia: Syria establishes control over eastern Aleppo". CNN.com. 15 December 2016. Retrieved 15 December 2016.
- NICHOLS, HANS; BRUTON, F. BRINLEY (26 October 2016). "Raqqa Offensive Against ISIS to Begin Within Weeks: Ash Carter". NBC News. Retrieved 26 October 2016.
- "'Wrath on the Euphrates' as US-backed forces launch operation to seize Raqqa from Isil's grip". The Telegraph. Retrieved 8 January 2017.
- DuVall, Eric (3 December 2016). "Assad's forces retake half of rebel-held Aleppo". United Press International.
- Staff writer(s) (3 December 2016). "Aleppo siege: Syria rebels lose 50% of territory". BBC.
- Staff writer(s) (17 December 2016). "Evacuation agreement reached in Aleppo, rebel group says". Fox 6 Now. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
- "Syria conflict: Ceasefire agreed, backed by Russia and Turkey". BBC World News. 29 December 2016. Retrieved 29 December 2016.
- "Russia, Turkey broker 'nationwide' ceasefire deal". Al Jazeera English. 30 December 2016. Retrieved 30 December 2016.
- Zeina, Karam (3 January 2017). "Syria rebels suspend talks over alleged truce violations". AP. Retrieved 3 January 2017.
- "The Syrian flag is raised in Al-Feja Spring". SOHR. 28 January 2017. Retrieved 28 January 2017.
- "Syrian army captures Wadi Barada". Al-Jazeera. 29 January 2017. Retrieved 29 January 2017.
- "Cease-fire frays in Syria’s south as rebels launch new offensive".
- "Syria's warring sides brought together for Geneva talks". BBC. 23 February 2017.
- Loveluck, Louisa; Sly, Liz (2017-02-23). "Turkey-backed rebels seize Islamic State’s al-Bab stronghold in Syria". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2017-02-23.
- Srivastava, Mehul; Solomon, Erika (2017-02-23). "Turkey recaptures strategic Syrian town of al-Bab from Isis". Financial Times. Retrieved 2017-02-23.
- "Syria fires missiles at Israeli jets after airstrikes".
- "Syria conflict: 'Deal reached' for four besieged areas". BBC. 29 March 2017.
- "Syria war: Why was Shayrat airbase bombed?". BBC. 7 April 2017.
- "U.S. strikes Syria; Trump fires 59 missiles in 'vital national security interest'". United Press Int'l. 7 April 2017.
- "Syria war: US launches missile strikes following chemical 'attack'". BBC News. 7 April 2017.
- US strikes on Syrian base: what we know – AFP. Retrieved 8 April 2017.
- "Was Trump’s Syria Strike Illegal? Explaining Presidential War Powers". New York Times. 8 April 2017.
- "SC/12783 7 APRIL 2017". United Nations News. 7 April 2017.
- Putin calls US strikes against Syria 'aggression against sovereign country' TASS, 7 April 2017.
- "Government forces advance against rebels north of Hama". www.aljazeera.com.
- "Four towns, one agreement and the ‘same tragedy for all’: Buses arrive ahead of mass evacuations". Syria Direct. 13 April 2017.
- "Syria war: Huge bomb kills dozens of evacuees in Syria". BBC News. 15 April 2017. Retrieved 15 April 2017.
- Isabel Coles; John Davison (25 April 2017). "Turkish jets strike Kurdish fighters in Syria, Iraq's Sinjar". Reuters.
- ANNE BARNARD and RICK (4 May 2017). "Russia Reaches Deal for Syria Safe Zones, but Some Rebels Scoff". The New York Times.
- "Syrian Kurdish PYD denounces Syria deal for 'de-escalation zones'". Reuters. 5 May 2017.
- "Syria, Russia condemn US-led strike on pro-Assad forces". www.aljazeera.com.
- "Syria army reaches Iraq border after US tensions: monitor". 9 June 2017.
- Gardiner, Harris (July 7, 2017). "U.S., Russia and Jordan Reach Deal for Cease-Fire in Part of Syria". Retrieved 25 July 2017.
- Trump ends CIA arms support for anti-Assad Syria rebels: U.S. officials Reuters, 19 July 2017.
- Jaffe, Greg; Entous, Adam (20 July 2017). "Trump halts covert arming of Syria rebels, a move likely to please Russia". Washington Post. Retrieved 20 July 2017.
- "CDC | Facts About Sarin". www.bt.cdc.gov. Retrieved 7 October 2015.
- "Sarin in Syria: UN inspectors struggle to verify competing claims". Al-bab.com. Retrieved 20 March 2014.
- Syria Used Chlorine in Bombs Against Civilians, Report Says, New York Times, Rick Gladstone, August 24, 2016 retrieved August 25, 2016.
- Louisa Loveluck (9 May 2015). "UN inspectors find undeclared sarin-linked chemicals at Syrian military site". London: The Telegraph. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
- "Syria: Mounting Casualties from Cluster Munitions". Human Rights Watch. 16 March 2013.
- Dave Majumdar (2 December 2015). "Russia's Lethal Thermobaric Rocket Launchers: A Game Changer in Syria?". Retrieved 23 October 2016.
- Syria rebels say Assad using 'mass-killing weapons' in Aleppo – Israel News, Ynetnews. Ynetnews.com (20 June 1995).
- Cumming-Bruce, Nick (4 June 2013). "U.N. Panel Reports Increasing Brutality by Both Sides in Syria". The New York Times.
- "Syria crisis: Incendiary bomb victims 'like the walking dead'". BBC News. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
- "Russia's Lethal Thermobaric Rocket Launchers: A Game Changer in Syria?". The National Interest.
- "Russia Delivers Kornet Anti-Tank Guided Missiles To Syria". 20 August 2015. Retrieved 23 October 2016.
- "Saudi Arabia just replenished Syrian rebels with one of the most effective weapons against the Assad regime – Business Insider". Business Insider. Retrieved 12 February 2016.
- Jeremy Binnie, Neil Gibson (8 April 2016). "US arms shipment to Syrian rebels detailed". Jane's Defence Weekly. IHS. Retrieved 3 December 2016.
- "Iran says it hit targets in Syria with Zolfaghar ballistic missiles – Jane's 360". www.janes.com. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
- CNBC (18 June 2017). "Iran's Revolutionary Guard strikes Syria for Tehran attacks".
- Cohen, Gili; Reuters; Press, The Associated (18 June 2017). "Iran Fires at Militants in Syria in First Use of Mid-range Missiles in 30 Years" – via Haaretz.
- Dulmers, Robert; Voeten, Teun (22 February 2015). "Dateline Damascus: fighting on all fronts". Open Security.
In 12 days travelling some 1,200 km, except for special forces in Aleppo we hardly saw any anything of the regular army.
- Worth, Robert F. (2016). A Rage for Order: The Middle East in Turmoil, from Tahrir Square to ISIS. Pan Macmillan. p. 228. Retrieved 31 July 2016.
Assad was still in charge but he was utterly dependent on a diverse and toxic mix of volunteer warriors and `popular` militias, some of them manned by criminals. Not all of them were Syrian. A whole Shiite counter-jihad had formed -- with fighters coming from Lebanon, Bahrain, even Afghanistan -- under the supervision of Iran, Assad's patron.
- "Insight: Battered by war, Syrian army creates its own replacement". Reuters. 21 April 2013. Retrieved 29 May 2013.
- "Syria's civil war: The regime digs in". The Economist. 15 June 2013.
- Adam Heffez (28 November 2013). "Using Women to Win in Syria". Al-Monitor (Eylül). Retrieved 28 November 2013.
- Asher, Berman. "Criminalization of the Syrian Conflict". Institute for the Study of War. Retrieved 27 October 2012.
- Yassin al-Haj Salih (3 March 2014). "The Syrian Shabiha and Their State – Statehood & Participation". Heinrich Böll Stiftung. Retrieved 7 June 2015.
- Adorno, Esther (8 June 2011). "The Two Homs". Harper's Magazine. Retrieved 22 September 2012.
- "U.S. blacklists al-Nusra Front fighters in Syria". CNN. 12 December 2012. Retrieved 17 December 2012.
- "Bashar Al-Assad's transformation". Saudi Gazette. 15 May 2012. Archived from the original on 13 July 2015. Retrieved 6 July 2012.
- Holmes, Oliver (15 August 2011). "Assad's Devious, Cruel Plan to Stay in Power By Dividing Syria—And Why It's Working". TNR.
- "Analysis: Assad retrenches into Alawite power base". Reuters. 4 May 2011.
- Oweis, Khaled Yacoub (3 February 2012). "Uprising finally hits Syria's "Silk Road" city". Reuters. Retrieved 18 August 2012.
- "Iran and Hezbollah build militia networks in Syria, officials say". The Guardian. 12 February 2013. Retrieved 27 February 2013.
- "Loyalty to Assad runs deep on Syrian coast". The Christian Science Monitor. 22 January 2014.
- Christian militias lend muscle to Syrian regime in ongoing battle against rebels. The Irish Times. 9 June 2014.
- "Iraq's Assyrian Christians form militia to fight Islamic State". JNS.org. Retrieved 21 September 2015.
- "Christians in Syria side with Assad, form militias against Al Qaida rebels". World Tribune. 28 May 2014. Archived from the original on 26 August 2015. Retrieved 24 December 2015.
- Bishop, Rachel. "female-fighters-form-fierce-Christian Militia" The Mirror 13 December 2015 http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/female-fighters-form-fierce-christian-7004827
- George, Susannah (10 November 2014). "Lebanese Christians Gun Up Against ISIS". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 23 October 2016.
- "Hezbollah fighters killed in Syria will 'go to hell,' says former leader". Al Arabiya. 26 February 2013.
- "Drone flight over Israel: Nasrallah’s latest surprise". Arab-American News.
- Hirst, David (23 October 2012). "Hezbollah uses its military power in a contradictory manner". The Daily Star. Beirut.
- "Hezbollah fighters, Syrian rebels killed in border fighting". Al Arabiya, 17 February 2013. Retrieved 18 February 2013.
- Barnard, Anne; Saad, Hwaida (19 May 2013). "Hezbollah Aids Syrian Military in a Key Battle". The New York Times.
- Bassem Mroue (25 May 2013). "Hezbollah chief says group is fighting in Syria". Associated Press. Retrieved 25 May 2013.
- Anne Barnard; Hania Mourtada (30 April 2013). "Leader of Hezbollah Warns It Is Ready to Come to Syria's Aid". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 May 2013.
- "Syrian offensive on Qusayr deepens". Al Jazeera.
- Mroue, Bassem (25 May 2013). "Hezbollah chief says group is fighting in Syria". Associated Press. Retrieved 25 May 2013.
- Stay informed today & every day (4 January 2014). "Lebanon: Will it hold together?". Economist.com. Retrieved 21 May 2014.
- "Dozens of pro-Assad Hezbollah militants killed in attacks by Syrian rebels near Damascus". ARA News. Retrieved 9 February 2016.
- "Two more Iranian commanders killed in Syria". Al Jazeera. 14 October 2015. Retrieved 15 October 2015.
- "The long road to Damascus". The Economist. 11 February 2012. Retrieved 11 February 2012.
- "How Iran Keeps Assad in Power in Syria". Inside Iran. 5 September 2011. Archived from the original on 20 March 2012. Retrieved 6 February 2012.
- Iranian Strategy in Syria, Institute for the Study of War, Executive Summary + Full report, May 2013
- Iran boosts support to Syria, telegraph, 21 February 2014
- Goodarzi, Jubin (August 2013). "Iran and Syria at the Crossroads: The Fall of the Tehran-Damascus Axis?" (PDF). Viewpoints. Wilson Center.
- Iran boosts military support in Syria to bolster Assad, reuters, 21, Feb 2014
- The Interim Finance Minister: 15 Billion Dollars Iranian Support to Assad; syrianef; 24, January 2014
- Weiss, Michael (23 June 2014). "Trust Iran Only as Far as You Can Throw It". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 11 August 2014.
- Filkins, Dexter (30 September 2013). "The Shadow Commander". The New Yorker. Retrieved 11 August 2014.
- Sam Wilkin (13 June 2015). "Iran brings home body of top general killed in Syria". Reuters.
- Heistein, Ari; West, James (20 November 2015). "Syria's Other Foreign Fighters: Iran's Afghan and Pakistani Mercenaries". National Interest. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
- "Russian parliament unanimously approves use of military in Syria to fight ISIS". RT. 30 September 2015.
- "В Минобороны рассказали о контактах с США перед началом бомбардировок Сирии". interfax.ru. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
- "Генерал-лейтенант Сергей Кураленко представляет РФ в информцентре в Багдаде". russian.rt.com. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
- "Russia, Iran, Iraq & Syria setting up ‘joint information center’ to coordinate anti-ISIS operations — RT News". rt.com. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
- "Syria bombing: Russian three star general warned US officials 'we request your people leave' | Middle East | News | The Independent". independent.co.uk. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
- "Syria crisis: Russia begins air strikes against Assad foes". ВВС News. 30 September 2015.
- Syria conflict: Russia issues warning after US coalition downs jet BBC, 19 June 2017.
- "Russia Draws A Line Across Syria After U.S. Shoots Down Syrian Jet".
- Inside the Air War Over Syria: A High Altitude ‘Poker Game’ NYT, 23 may 2017.
- "U.S.: Russia Gave Heads-Up About Cruise Missile Strike".
- News Transcript: Media Availability with Secretary Mattis en route to Europe U.S. Department of Defense, June 27, 2017.
- Seymour Hersh, 'Military to Military,' London Review of Books, Vol. 38 No. 1,7 January 2016 pp.11-14.
- "FSA brigade 'joins al-Qaeda group' in Syria – Al Jazeera English". aljazeera.com. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
- Nabih Bulos (22 September 2015). "US-trained Division 30 rebels 'betray US and hand weapons over to al-Qaeda's affiliate in Syria'". The Telegraph. London.
- "Syria rebels and TOW missiles – Business Insider – Saudi Arabia just replenished Syrian rebels with one of the most effective weapons against the Assad regime". businessinsider.com. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
- Patrick Cockburn. Isis consolidates
- Kim Sengupta (12 May 2015). "Turkey and Saudi Arabia alarm the West by backing Islamist extremists the Americans had bombed in Syria". The Independent. London.
- "Gulf allies and ‘Army of Conquest’". Al-Ahram Weekly. 28 May 2015.
- "'Army of Conquest' rebel alliance pressures Syria regime". Yahoo News. 28 April 2015.
- Martin Chulov (12 July 2013). "Free Syrian Army threatens blood feud after senior officer killed by jihadists". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 31 August 2013.
- Dettmer, Jamie. "Syria's Rebels: Radicalization and Division". Middle East Institute. Retrieved 9 July 2016.
- "Syrie: les Kurdes chassent des jihadistes d'un village du nord-est". Lorientlejour.com. 18 September 2013.
- "PYD Kills Syrian Soldiers in Revenge Attack". Rudaw. 10 September 2012. Archived from the original on 22 November 2012. Retrieved 10 September 2012.
- "Defecting troops form 'Free Syrian Army', target Assad security forces". The World Tribune. Retrieved 13 November 2011.
- Blomfield, Adam (21 November 2011). "Syrian rebels strike heart of Damascus". The Telegraph. London.
- Bearing Witness in Syria: A Correspondent's Last Days (page 1), New York Times (3 March 2012); "Bearing Witness in Syria", page 2, NYTimes, 3March2012; "Bearing Witness in Syria", page 3, "Bearing Witness in Syria", page 4. Retrieved 20 September 2014.
- "Syrian rebel leader Salim Idriss admits difficulty of unifying fighters". McClatchyDC. 7 May 2013. Retrieved 19 September 2014.
- Mekhennet, Souad (18 August 2014). "The terrorists fighting us now? We just finished training them.". The Washington Post. Retrieved 19 September 2014.
- "Syrian Kurds Ally With Rebel Groups To Fight The Islamic State". VICE News. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
- Syria’s ‘moderates’ have disappeared... and there are no good guys The Independent, 4 October 2015.
- "Moscow ready for contact with Free Syrian Army – FM Lavrov — RT News". rt.com. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
- "Syria war: Russia 'is ready to assist FSA rebels'". BBC News.
- Solomon, Erika (22 November 2013). "Six Islamist factions unite in largest Syria rebel merger". Reuters. Retrieved 22 November 2013.
- Richard Hall (9 January 2014). "Factbox: Syria's rebel groups". Reuters.
- BARBARA SURK (22 November 2013). "Series of Syrian Muslim rebel brigades say they've unified under name of the 'Islamic Front'". Star Tribune. Associated Press. Retrieved 7 June 2015.
- Atassi, Basma (22 November 2013). "Major Syrian rebel groups join forces". Al Jazeera English. Retrieved 7 December 2013.
- Syrian FSA fades in shadow of Saudi-backed opposition front, Al-Monitor, 11 December 2013
- Exclusive: US deploys long-range artillery system to southern Syria for first time CNN, 13 June 2017.
- Russia vows to treat US and British jets in Syria as 'targets' after America shoots down first Assad warplane the Telegraph, 18 June 2017.
- Michaels, Jim (4 September 2013). "Kerry: Syrian rebels have not been hijacked by extremists". USA Today.
- Kelley, Michael (19 September 2013). "A full extremist-to-moderate spectrum of the 100,000 Syrian rebels". Business Insider. Retrieved 4 October 2013.
- Malas, Nour & Abushakra, Rima (25 September 2013). "Syrian rebel units reject pro-western opposition political leaders". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 4 October 2013.
- Farmer, Ben (15 September 2013). "Syria: nearly half rebel fighters are jihadists or hardline Islamists, says IHS Jane's report – The Telegraph". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
- "60 Percent Of Syrian Rebels Are Islamist Extremists, Think Tank Finds". NPR. 20 December 2015.
- MacFarquhar, Neil; Saad, Hwaida (29 July 2012). "As Syrian War Drags On, Jihadists Take Bigger Role". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 December 2012.
- "ICSR Insight: European Foreign Fighters in Syria". 2 April 2013.
- Friedman, Thomas L. (7 January 2014). "Not Just About Us". New York Times. Retrieved 9 January 2014.
- Ghazi, Yasir; Arango, Tim (28 October 2012). "Iraqi Sects Join Battle in Syria on Both Sides". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 November 2012.
- "Syrian rebels reject interim government, embrace Sharia". CNN. 25 September 2013.
- "With wary eye, Syrian rebels welcome Islamists into their ranks". The Times of Israel. 25 October 2012.
- "Russia launches media offensive on Syria bombing". BBC News. 1 October 2015.
- Sherlock, Ruth (2 December 2012). "Inside Jabhat al Nusra – the most extreme wing of Syria's struggle". The Daily Telegraph. London.
- "Al Nusrah Front claims 3 more suicide attacks in Daraa". 27 November 2012. Archived from the original on 2 December 2012.
- "Qaeda in Iraq confirms Syria's Nusra is part of network". Agence France-Presse. 9 April 2013. Archived from the original on 13 May 2013. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
- "Al-Nusra Commits to al-Qaida, Deny Iraq Branch 'Merger'". Agence France-Presse. 10 April 2013. Retrieved 10 April 2013.
- Abdul-Ahad, Ghaith (23 September 2012). "Syria: the foreign fighters joining the war against Bashar al-Assad". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 9 December 2012.
- "Free Syrian Army rebels defect to Islamist group Jabhat al-Nusra". The Guardian. London. 8 May 2013.
- "With wary eye, Syrian rebels welcome Islamists into their ranks". 25 October 2012. Retrieved 28 January 2013.
- Chulov, Martin (17 January 2013). "Syria crisis: al-Qaida fighters revealing their true colours, rebels say". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 26 January 2013.
- Catholic Priest Allegedly Beheaded in Syria by Al-Qaeda-Linked Rebels as Men and Children Take Pictures and Cheer. TheBlaze.com (30 June 2013).
- Agence France-Presse in Jdeitdet Yabus (10 March 2014). "Kidnapped nuns thank negotiators after being freed in Syria | World news". theguardian.com. Retrieved 20 March 2014.
- Perry, Tom (15 August 2015). "Syrian Kurds now say they now control territory the size of Qatar and Kuwait combined". Business Insider.
- "U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces emerges as force against ISIS". Associated Press. 2 December 2015. Retrieved 4 December 2015.
- "Syrian-Kurdish SDF successfully absorbing non-Kurdish groups, says US". Rudaw. 9 March 2016. Retrieved 19 March 2016.
- "Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic" (PDF). UN Human Rights Council. 15 September 2011. Retrieved 30 June 2012.
- Muscati, Samer (14 May 2012). "Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Iraqi Safe Haven". Human Rights Watch. Retrieved 30 June 2012.
- Blair, Edmund; Saleh, Yasmine (4 July 2012). "Syria opposition rifts give world excuse not to act". Reuters. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
- Allott, "Jordan Kurds and Christians Fight Back against ISIS in Syria" nationalreview http://www.nationalreview.com/article/427304/syria-christian-militia-takes-isis-jordan-allott 19 November 2015
- "Kurdish-Arab coalition fighting Islamic State in Syria creates political wing". Agence France-Presse. 10 December 2015. Retrieved 10 December 2015.
- Bulos, Nabih; McDonnell, Patrick J. (17 March 2016). "Kurdish-led group declares autonomous zone in northern Syria". LA Times. Retrieved 19 March 2016.
- Gul Tuysuz; Raja Razek; Nick Paton Walsh (6 November 2013). "Al Qaeda-linked group strengthens hold in northern Syria". CNN. Retrieved 3 December 2013.
- "Syria: Harrowing torture, summary killings in secret ISIS detention centres". 19 December 2013. Amnesty International. Retrieved 3 January 2014.
- Birke, Sarah (27 December 2013). "How al-Qaeda Changed the Syrian War". New York Review of Books.
- "ISIS Consolidates". 1 August 2014. Retrieved 11 August 2014.
- Martin Chulov, Middle East correspondent. "Isis fighters surround Syrian airbase in rapid drive to recapture lost territory | World news". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 August 2014.
- "Study Shows Islamic State’s Primary Opponent in Syria Is Government Forces, IHS Markit Says". IHS Markit. 19 April 2017.
- "Syrians adjust to life under ISIS rule". The Daily Star. 29 August 2014. Retrieved 29 August 2014.
- Masi, Alessandria (12 September 2014). "US-Backed Moderate Group in Syria Signs Truce With ISIS: Reports". International Business Times.
- Karouny, Mariam (21 June 2015). "Islamic State militants plant mines and bombs in Palmyra: monitoring group". Reuters. Retrieved 29 June 2015.
- "Many Islamic State leaders trying to flee to Syria: Iraqi minister". Reuters. 30 July 2016. Retrieved 5 August 2016.
- ‘Joint Statement Issued by Partners at the Counter-ISIL Coalition Ministerial Meeting’. United States Department of State, 3 December 2014.
- "Airstrikes Hit ISIL Terrorists in Syria, Iraq". U.S. Department of Defense. 30 September 2015. Retrieved 1 October 2015.
- Zaman, Amberin (10 June 2014). "Syrian Kurds continue to blame Turkey for backing ISIS militants". Al-Monitor.
- Wilgenburg, Wladimir van (6 August 2014). "Kurdish security chief: Turkey must end support for jihadists". Al-Monitor.
- Germany, SPIEGEL ONLINE, Hamburg (11 October 2016). "Battle for Aleppo: How Syria Became the New Global War". Spiegel Online.
Syria has become a proxy war between the US and Russia
- O'Connor, Tom (31 March 2017). "Iran's military leader tells U.S. to get out of Persian Gulf". Newsweek.
The Gulf Arab faction, especially Saudi Arabia, has been engaged in a proxy war of regional influence with Iran
- Pfeffer, Anshel (7 October 2014). "Russia commanded spy operation against Israeli forces and Syria rebels, footage shows". Haaretz. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
- Syria allies: Why Russia, Iran and China are standing by the regime, CNN, 30 August 2013
- Memmott, Mark (13 November 2013). "As Talks Continue, CIA Gets Some Weapons To Syrian Rebels". National Public Radio. Retrieved 10 December 2013.
- "U.S. Sees Russian Drive Against CIA-Backed Rebels in Syria – WSJ". wsj.com. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
- "U.S. has secretly provided arms training to Syria rebels since 2012". Los Angeles Times. 21 June 2013.
- Roula Khalaf & Abigail Fielding Smith (16 May 2013). "Qatar bankrolls Syrian revolt with cash and arms". Financial Times. Retrieved 3 June 2013. (subscription required)
- "Saudi edges Qatar to control Syrian rebel support". Reuters. 31 May 2013
- "Two Arab countries fall apart". The Economist. 14 June 2014.
- "Syria's top Islamist and jihadist groups". France 24.
- Turkey sends in jets as Syria's agony spills over every border, 26 July 2015, retrieved 7 September 2015
- "Turkey 'created a monster and doesn't know how to deal with it'". 19 February 2015. Retrieved 7 September 2015.
- Sherfinski, David. "Both sides of Congress have own red lines for Obama's action in Syria". Washington Times. Retrieved 11 September 2014.
- Reuters, Presidential press Office (13 September 2014). "Kerry opposes Iran role in anti-Islamic State coalition". Reuters. Retrieved 13 September 2014.
- Burns, Robert. "Strikes in Iraq, Syria expected under new war plan". Associated Press. Archived from the original on 15 September 2014. Retrieved 13 September 2014.
- Fanack. "Regional Opposition to US Policies in the Middle East". Fanack.com. Retrieved 13 July 2015.
- "Turkey Agrees to Assist U.S. With Airstrikes Against ISIS". The New York Times. 12 June 2014. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 7 October 2015.
- Foreign Fighters – An Updated Assessment of the Flow of Foreign Fighters into Syria and Iraq (PDF) (Report). Soufan Group. December 2015. Retrieved 12 December 2015.
- "Syrian opposition groups reach unity deal". USA Today. 11 November 2012. Retrieved 14 November 2012.
- Jim Muir (12 November 2012). "Syria crisis: Gulf states recognise Syria opposition". BBC. Retrieved 14 November 2012.
- "The National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces". Local Coordination Committees of Syria. 12 November 2012. Archived from the original on 20 November 2012. Retrieved 20 November 2012.
- "Syrian opposition groups reach unity deal". USA Today. 11 November 2012.
- "Guide to the Syrian opposition". BBC News. 25 July 2012. Retrieved 13 November 2011.
- "Damascus meeting calls for peaceful change in Syria". Reuters UK. 23 September 2012. Archived from the original on 3 October 2012. Retrieved 23 September 2012.
- "National Coordination Body for Democratic Change". Carnegie Middle East Center. Retrieved 2012-09-11.
- "Syria opposition groups fail to reach accord". Financial Times. 4 January 2012. Retrieved 16 August 2012.
- "Meet Syria's Opposition". Foreign Policy. 1 November 2011. Retrieved 13 November 2011.
- "Syria's opposition SNC to expand, reform". AFP. 2 September 2012. Archived from the original on 19 February 2014. Retrieved 2 September 2012.
- "Inauguration of the 1st MSD office". Hawar News Agency. 2016-08-01. Retrieved 2016-08-03.
- "Syria's war may be the most documented ever. And yet, we know so little.".
- "Five years in Syria: History's most documented war".
- "UN chief slams Syria's crackdown on protests". Al Jazeera. 18 March 2011.
- "Minister Cannon Condemns Ongoing Violence in Yemen, Bahrain and Syria". Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada. 21 March 2011. Retrieved 7 June 2015.
- "China and Russia veto UN resolution condemning Syria". BBC. 5 October 2011.
- "UN launches biggest humanitarian appeal, fearing deepening of Syrian crisis". ReliefWeb. 16 December 2013. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
- "Syria crisis 'worsening' amid humanitarian funding shortfall, warns top UN relief official". UN News Centre. 26 March 2015. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
- United Nations General Assembly Resolution 182 session 46 Strengthening of the coordination of humanitarian emergency assistance of the United Nations on 19 December 1991
- United Nations, Syria Humanitarian Assistance Response Plan (SHARP). Retrieved 18 September 2013.
- "Syrian Arab Republic". United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
- "USAID/SYRIA". Archived from the original on 2 May 2013.
- "SYRIAN HUMANITARIAN RELIEF".
- "Iran sending tonnes of flour daily to Syria: report". Agence France-Presse. 3 March 2013. Archived from the original on 6 March 2013.
- "Revealed: how Syrian rebels seek medical help from an unlikely source in Israel". 12 January 2014. Retrieved 17 January 2014.
- "Humanitarian aid convoy departs to help Syrian refugees". 27 April 2013.
- "Scores of families leave besieged Aleppo under Russia-Damascus plan". Reuters. 30 July 2016. Retrieved 4 August 2016.
- "WHO warns of Syria disease threat". BBC. 4 June 2013.
- UNOCHA. "Syrian Arab Republic – Civil Unrest 2013". Financial Tracking Service. Archived from the original on 21 January 2013. Retrieved 19 September 2015.
- "Syrian Martyrs شهداء سورية". Archived from the original on 4 April 2016.
- "U.N.'s Syria death toll jumps dramatically to 60,000-plus". CNN. 3 January 2013.
- "Syria death toll at least 93,000, says UN". BBC News. 13 June 2013.
- "More than 2,000 killed in Syria since Ramadan began". Times of Oman. 25 July 2013. Archived from the original on 4 September 2013. Retrieved 27 August 2013.
- McDonnell, Patrick J. (13 June 2013). "U.N. says Syria death toll has likely surpassed 100,000". Los Angeles Times.
- "Syria crisis: Solidarity amid suffering in Homs". BBC. 29 January 2013. Retrieved 29 January 2013.
- Enders, David (6 November 2012). "Deaths in Syria down from peak; army casualties outpacing rebels'". Retrieved 14 November 2012.
- "400 children killed in Syria unrest". Geneva: Arab News. 8 February 2012. Retrieved 28 January 2013.
- Peralta, Eyder (3 February 2012). "Rights Group Says Syrian Security Forces Detained, Tortured Children: The Two-Way". NPR.
- Fahim, Kareem (5 January 2012). "Hundreds Tortured in Syria, Human Rights Group Says". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 March 2013.
- "Fighting Continues in Syria". Arutz Sheva. 16 October 2012. Retrieved 25 October 2012.
- "Statistics for the number of martyrs". Violations Documenting Center. 3 June 2013.
- Ian Black, Middle East editor. "Syrian regime document trove shows evidence of 'industrial scale' killing of detainees". Theguardian.com. Retrieved 21 May 2014.
- Laura Smith-Spark, CNN (22 August 2014). "More than 191,000 dead in Syria conflict, U.N. finds – CNN.com". CNN. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
- Black, Ian (11 February 2016). "Report on Syria conflict finds 11.5% of population killed or injured". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 February 2016.
- Sparrow, Annie (20 February 2014). "Syria's Polio Epidemic: The Suppressed Truth". New York Review. Retrieved 23 January 2014.
Even before the uprising, in areas considered politically unsympathetic like Deir Ezzor, the government stopped maintaining sanitation and safe-water services, and began withholding routine immunizations for preventable childhood diseases. Once the war began, the government started ruthless attacks on civilians in opposition-held areas, forcing millions to seek refuge in filthy, crowded, and cold conditions.
- Al Rifai, Diana; Haddad, Mohammed (17 March 2015). "What's left of Syria?". Al-jazeera. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
- "Syrian Refugees in Lebanon," The New York Times, 5 September 2013
- "Syrian refugee camps in Turkish territory tracked by satellite". Astrium-geo.com.
- "Syrian refugees top 3 million, half of all Syrians displaced: U.N.". Reuters. 29 August 2014. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
- Inbari, Pinhas. "Demographic Upheaval: How the Syrian War is Reshaping the Region". Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. Retrieved 19 June 2014.
- "Syrian Civil War Causes One-Third of Country's Christians to Flee Their Homes". The Algemeiner Journal. 18 October 2013.
- "Syrian Refugees".
- "UN must refer 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 photos may prove torture by Assad regime". CNN. 21 January 2014. Retrieved 21 January 2014.
- "Report of the independent international commission of inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic". 12 February 2014. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
- "UN decries use of sieges, starvation in Syrian military strategy | The New Age Online". Thenewage.co.za. 5 March 2014. Archived from the original on 13 July 2015. Retrieved 20 March 2014.
- "Yarmouk update: Nusra's apparent return complicates UNRWA's hopes for food program". 3 March 2014. Retrieved 6 March 2014.
- Dyke, Joe (24 July 2015). "Yarmouk camp no longer besieged, UN rules". IRIN. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
- "Syria and Isis committing war crimes, says UN". 27 August 2014. Retrieved 29 August 2014.
- "syrias disappeared". BBC News. 11 November 2014. Retrieved 11 November 2014.
- Loveluck, Louisa (5 Nov 2015). "Amnesty accuses Syrian regime of 'disappearing' tens of thousands". telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 30 June 2016.
- Monitor: 60,000 dead in Syria government jails Al Jazeera
- "Syria: 13,000 secretly hanged in Saydnaya military prison – shocking new report".
- "US accuses Syria of killing thousands of prisoners and burning the dead bodies in large crematorium outside Damascus.". Washington Post. Retrieved 2017-05-15.
- Harris, Gardiner (2017-05-15). "Syria Prison Crematory Is Hiding Mass Executions, U.S. Says". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-05-15.
- Barnard, Gardiner Harris, Anne; Gladstone, Rick (15 May 2017). "Syrian Crematory Is Hiding Mass Killings of Prisoners, U.S. Says" – via NYTimes.com.
- 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 pay heavy price for loyalty to Bashar al-Assad". London: The Daily Telegraph.