Civil War • Syrian forces vs. Rebels • President (Dictator) Bashir al-Assad • Military • Started out as protestors • Now call themselves the Free Syrian Army (FSA) • Includes defectors from the official Syrian military
Escalated over the past 17 months • Getting worse • Destruction • Planes & helicopters • Killed: 18,000-20,000 • 500 children • 600 detainees and political prisoners have died under torture • Fled: 170,000-200,000 • Refugees are now living in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq • UN is sending humanitarian aid to 2.5 million people (both refugees and people in Syria) • Average day: 8 dead/dozen wounded
The UN is concerned about the situation • United Nations – an international peace organization led by Ban Ki-Moon • Currently observing the situation and hoping to negotiate a diplomatic solution (diplomatic efforts were led by Kofi Annan the former leader of the UN, but a new negotiator, LakhdarBerhimi, is now leading diplomatic efforts) • The UN has not yet imposed sanctions (economic penalties) against Syria • The US supports the rebels, Russia and China support the Syrian government and have vetoed UN action in Syria
•Cities controlled by pro-Assad forces •Cities controlled by anti-Assad forces •Ongoing fighting/unclear situation
Iranian support of Syria • Iranian President Ahmadinejad is a strong supporter of Assad. He said, “you want a new Middle East? We do too, but in the new Middle East there will be no trace of the American presence and the Zionists.”
Religious Trouble • Sunni Muslims vs. Shia Muslims • Assad is Shia, as is most of Iran. Surprisingly the Shias are a minority in Syria.
GoodNews • Some towns are going to try and open up for the new school year.
High Level Syrian Defectors • Syrian General & astronaut Muhammed Ahmed Faris • Prime Minister Riyad Hijab