The Syrian civil war...is an ongoing armed conflict in Syria
between forces loyal to the Ba'ath
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 the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party
rule since 1964.
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 is asymmetrical
, with clashes taking place in many towns and cities across the country.
Late 2011 marked growing influence of the Islamist group Jabhat al-Nusra
within the opposition forces, and in 2013 Hezbollah
entered the war in support of the Syrian army. The regime is further upheld by support from Russia
, while Qatar
, Saudi Arabia
transfer weapons to the rebels. By summer 2013 the government's offensive had slowed in the country's north, while gained in the south. By July 2013, the Syrian government controls approximately 30–40 percent of the country's territory and 60 percent of the Syrian population. The insurgency controls large swaths of territory in the country's north and east.
In June 2013, the death toll surpassed 100,000 according to the United Nations.