The Syrian crisis has been ravaging since 2011, so here is a breakdown of exactly has been happening.


In March of 2011, the Syrian people staged a protest, later called the “day of rage”, calling for democratic reforms in Damascus and Aleppo. These reforms called for greater civil liberties and freedom of political prisoners under the rule of Assad family. A couple days later, the first deaths occurred as security forces open fired in Daraa, killing four. This only caused demonstrations to spread. But as the protests spread, so did the security forces and deaths. By the end of 2011 president Barack Obama ordered for Assad to resign and Syrian government assets seized.


2012 marked the beginning of the all-out war we see now. In July a bombing hit the national security building in Damascus, killing four top officials. One happened to be Assad’s brother in law who was also the defense minister. Later that summer the fighting spread to Aleppo, Syria’s largest city and former commercial capital. Rebels seized half the city but the Aleppo you see in the news today is what is still occurring from four years ago. By November of 2012 the Syrian National Coalition was founded as a coalition of opposition groups.


2013 brought the floods of fleeing people and refugees, along with chemical warfare. By March of 2013, the number of refugees topped 1 million, hoping to escape death. By August more than 1400 people were killed, some by chemical weapons. By September about a dozen of the rebel groups associated with the coalition abandoned it and formed the Islamic Front. The group was intended to create a state governed by Islamic law. By October Syria destroyed its chemical weapons production, but the number of refugees reached 2 million.


Three years later, and things have changed drastically. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant form as infighting amongst the rebels spread. In February it seemed peace might be close, as peace talks were held by UN-Arab League mediator Lakhdar Brahimi in Geneva without interruption. By May rebels withdrew from Homs, putting the area in government hands. By June, Assad wins presidential victory. That same month the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant seize large parts of northern and western Iraq. In control of around a third of Syria and Iraq, they declare a self-styled Islamic caliphate. They do not stop there and seize Syria’s largest oil field al-Omar. By August it seems the Islamic State has lost its values and releases video of the beheading of American journalist James Foley. Later that month the last government-held outpost in Raqqa province was eliminated. In September, US forces step in and begins airstrikes against Islamic State group targets in Syria.


The total of deaths has reached and estimated 220,000. In February IS takes another American life, a Jordanian airstrike kills American hostage Kayla Jean Mueller, but as her death is confirmed it is not by airstrike. Assad still denies claims of being linked with any of the killings. The US and Turkey then sign a deal to train Syrian rebels fighting IS. In March, IS suffers defeats in Syria and Iraq. Aleppo is still the center of deaths as rebels detonate explosive under the Air Force Intelligence Headquarters. The war raged on as many other cities were hit with air strikes, bombs and guns, causing more deaths. Russia has begun involvement and brought over deaths as well.

By 2016, the crisis seems to have focused on Aleppo, as multiple videos surface of the damage the city and people have endured. Outside forces seem to be useless in this time of rising death tolls and cities turning into rubble. 

Published by Chelsea Hinkofer