The conflict in Syria between its Arab nationalist government and pro-democracy advocates began with demonstrations in January of 2011. The movement is considered to be a subsidiary of the “Arab Spring” movements founded in Tunisia and Egypt in which demonstrators demanded greater freedom from government control.
By March, the Syrian fight against autocracy had become violent. The government, headed by President Bashar al-Assad, turned the Syrian Army on its people. Those in the army who refused to fight were killed. Others defected and formed the Free Syrian Army, the largest militant force opposing the Syrian government. While the conflict is centered in Homs, Syria’s third largest city and the “Capital of the Revolution,” the government has suspended vital utilities and provisions from Syrian communities associated with rebel forces.
In the spring and summer of 2011, the government made several concessions to the protestors; however, Syrians are still fighting for complete political freedom. Despite the massive death tolls and influx of Syrian refugees into neighboring countries, the international community and the United Nations have yet to agree on any terms of intervention.
(Photo: Finbarr O'Reilly/Reuters)
Bashar al-Assad's Regime is Larger than Life
A picture of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad is seen on a central bank building in Damascus, the Syrian capital. Assad, whose father led Syria for 30 years, took office in 2000 under the Ba’ath Party, Syria’s Arab nationalist political party.
(Photo: Khaled Al Hariri/Reuters)
Fighting Words Face Brute Force
Activists shout slogans against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad during a gathering in a Turkish-Syrian border town. Demonstrations against the Syrian government began last January but quickly escalated into violent conflict by March.
(Photo: Umit Bektas/Reuters)
Violence Became an Everyday Reality
Supporters of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) block a street during a protest just north of Damascus, the Syrian capital. Protestors are subject to violent retaliation by the Syrian Army, whose use of tanks and snipers is enforced by President Bashar Al-Assad. In addition, the government has ordered that amenities such as water, electricity and food be withheld from Syrian communities that are aligned with the rebel forces.
Victims of Revolution
A demonstrator holds a picture of a missing relative during a protest against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad near Homs. Current estimates report that over 6,000 people have been killed in the conflict.
Unstoppable, For Now
Syria's President Bashar al-Assad addresses his supporters during a rally in Damascus. Last week, Russia and China vetoed a UN resolution seeking to intervene in the Syrian conflict and overthrow Assad’s regime.
Freedom at Any Cost
Women hold a picture of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad with a noose during an anti-government march. Despite government concessions to the protestors’ demands (including the eradication of its nearly 50-year-old “emergency law,” which grants the government unchallenged control over citizens’ constitutional rights), turmoil continues as demonstrators fight to establish complete democracy. The text under the picture reads: “Death.”
(Photo: Mohamed Al-Sayaghi/Reuters)
Conflict Seeding Conflict
The Syrian conflict has incited protests and much debate across the globe. Here, Syrians in Turkey are sprayed with tear gas while protesting against Bashar al-Assad outside the Syrian Consulate.
(Photo: Murad Sezer/Reuters)
Syrian children and women arrive in Dabbabieh, in northern Lebanon, near the Lebanese-Syrian border. Heightened military intervention in rural areas of Syria along the Lebanese border has forced thousands of civilians out of their homes and into the security of neighboring countries.
Two Syrian boys walk shoulder to shoulder in the rain at the Boynuyogun refugee camp on the Turkish-Syrian border. The Turkish Foreign Ministry estimates there are currently some 10,000 Syrian refugees living in six different camps in Turkey. Thousands more refugees have also settled in Lebanon and Jordan.