The Syrian civil war is an ongoing armed conflict in Syria between forces loyal to the Syrian Ba’ath Party government and those seeking to oust it. The conflict began on 15 March 2011, with popular demonstrations that grew nationwide by April 2011. These demonstrations were part of the wider Middle Eastern protest movement known as the Arab Spring. Protesters demanded the resignation of President Bashar al-Assad, whose family has held the presidency in Syria since 1971, as well as the end of Ba’ath Party rule.
In April 2011, the Syrian Army was deployed to quell the uprising, and soldiers fired on demonstrators across the country.After months of military sieges,the protests evolved into an armed rebellion. Opposition forces, mainly composed of defected soldiers and civilian volunteers, remain without central leadership.The conflict has no clear fronts, with clashes taking place in many towns and cities across the country.The Arab League, United States, European Union, and other countries condemned the use of violence against the protesters. The Arab League suspended Syria’s membership because of the government’s response to the crisis, but granted the Syrian National Coalition Syria’s seat on 6 March 2013.
Until middle 2012 the armed conflict had not reached the biggest cities of Damascus and Aleppo. Late 2011 marked growing influence of the Islamist group Jabhat al-Nusra within the opposition forces, and in 2012 Hezbollah entered the war in support of the Syrian army. The regime is further upheld by support from Russia and Iran, while Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Jordan transfer weapons to the rebels.
In June 2013, the death toll was updated to 92,900–100,000 by the United Nations.According to various opposition activist groups, between 75,365 and 100,195 people have been killed,of which about half were civilians, but also including 61,000 armed combatants consisting of both the Syrian Army and rebel forces, up to 1,000 opposition protestersand 1,000 government officials. By October 2012, up to 28,000 people had been reported missing, including civilians forcibly abducted by government troops or security forces. According to the UN, about 4 million Syrians have been displaced within the country and 1.5 million have fled to other countries.In addition, tens of thousands of protesters have been imprisoned and there are reports of widespread torture and terror in state prisons.international organizations have accused both government and opposition forces of severe human rights violations.UN investigations have concluded that the government’s abuses are the greatest in gravity, frequency and scale.