It has been 10 years because the begin of the Syrian uprisings and also the nation is still mired in a battle that has displaced millions and also killed thousands of thousands.

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Syria’s economy has deteriorated, pushing practically 80 percent the the country listed below the poor line, according to the Red Cross.

The last fatality toll estimate by the UN in 2016 was an ext than 400,000 people. The Syrian Observatory of human being Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, put the toll end 593,000 as of December 2020.

Approximately 11 million people need humanitarian assistance, about 6 million room internally displaced and 5.5 million Syrian refugees live in neighbouring nations according to the UNHCR.

Shifting alliances and quick changes due to the fact that 2011 have made for a facility conflict the is tho raging, an especially in the northwest.

Here we break down how the battle unfolded, exactly how territorial regulate has changed, and also who the different players are.

How that started

On in march 15, 2011, significant unrest erupted across the streets of Deraa, Damascus and Aleppo, with protesters demanding autonomous reforms and the relax of political prisoners.

Protests were motivated by the arrest and also torture of a team of teenaged boys a few days earlier in the city the Deraa end graffiti denouncing longtime chairman Bashar al-Assad.

A violent crackdown and repression by the federal government followed. In July 2011, defectors from the armed forces announced the formation of the free Syrian Army, a rebel group aiming to fall the government, transforming the revolt right into a polite war.

Protests ongoing into 2012, and also by 2013 miscellaneous rebels teams emerged across the country. Later that year, ISIL (ISIS) arised in northern and eastern Syria after overrunning big portions the Iraq.

Groups involved

A selection of actors are locked in a power battle in Syria.


The Syrian government

Bashar al-Assad inherited his dominion of Syria in 2000, taking over native his father Hafez al-Assad, who had been in power because 1970.

He has actually ruled the country with an stole fist and has a background of crackdowns ~ above dissidents, using chemical weapons versus his people and also imprisoning and torturing thousands.

Free Syrian army (FSA)/Syrian national Army

the FSA is a loosened conglomeration of armed brigades created in 2011 through defectors from the Syrian army and civilians donate by Turkey and several Gulf countries.

Since the battle of Aleppo in December 2016, the FSA has remained in control of minimal areas that Idlib in northwestern Syria.

Hay’et Tahrir al-Sham (HTS)

HTS was formerly Jabhat Fatah al-Sham and Jabhat al-Nusra.

Jabhat al-Nusra developed in Syria in 2011 as an al-Qaeda affiliate within the opposition come the Assad government.

By January 2017, Jabhat Fatah al-Sham rebranded as soon as it an unified with number of other teams to hold together under the banner the Hay’et Tahrir-al Sham.

Currently, HTS maintains the it is “an independent entity that complies with no organisation or party”.


Hezbollah is a Shia armed group and also a political pressure based out of Lebanon, backed by Iran. They moved into Syria to assistance al-Assad’s forces and they right now control no are in Syria.

The Syrian democratic Forces (SDF)

This alliance the Kurdish and also Arab militias was founded in 2015.

Its makeup largely consists of YPG fighters and also smaller teams of Arab, Turkmen and also Armenian fighters.

Turkey considers the YPG, which forms the bulk of the SDF forces, an extension of PKK, which has actually waged an equipped campaign because that independence against the Turkish federal government that has actually killed more than 40,000 people since 1984.

Main urban under Kurdish regulate are Raqqa, Qamishli, Hasakah.


Predominantly well-known for the brutality that its foreign fighters, organised government systems, and strong social media presence, ISIL climbed to strength in the vacuum in Syria after ~ 2012 as polite unrest grew. By 2014, it had captured far-reaching land by force and also declared the production of a “caliphate”.

ISIL’s “caliphate” was destroyed in in march 2019 but their reemergence looms in the region. In 2014, in its top of power, that controlled around one-third that Iraq and Syria.

The loss of war



Aleppo to be an industrial and also economic hub in northwest Syria with almost 3 million residents at the peak.

In December 2016, the Syrian military scored its biggest victory versus the rebels as soon as it recaptured the strategic city. The city had been divided and under rebel control due to the fact that the start of the unrest in 2012.

A sandstorm adds come the gloomy look at of the devastation in the as soon as rebel-held karm al-Jabal neighbourhood in the north city of Aleppo on march 10, 2017

Eastern Ghouta

Eastern Ghouta lies 10km (six miles) east of the capital, Damascus.

In 2018, after a fierce seven-week attack that left much of the city in ruins, the Syrian army regained manage of areas that had actually been organized by the contrary fighters due to the fact that 2012.

A member the the Assad pressures stands safety in prior of destroyed structures in Jobar, east Ghouta, April 2, 2018


Raqqa, located on the Euphrates flow in Syria’s north, to be the first governorate capital to loss under opposition manage after the start of the Syrian uprising in 2011. In 2014, the city was caught by ISIL (ISIS), who declared it their capital.

Raqqa and also many villages and also towns in the district were ruined by US-led coalition wait raids during the anti-ISIL operation in between 2016 and also 2017. Follow to part estimates, in between 70 and 80 percent of the city to be destroyed, and its facilities almost totally wiped out.

The remains of structures line a street damaged during fighting between US-backed SDF fighters and also ISIL, in Raqqa


A UNESCO people Heritage website in main Syria, Palmyra was recorded twice by ISIL – an initial in may 2015 and then again in December the following year.

The group ruined several old wonders including the holy place of Bel, the temple of Baal Shamin, the Arch the Triumph, and columns in the valley of the Tombs.

In in march 2017, the Syrian army, backed by ally forces and also Russian warplanes, recaptured the city.

Ruins in the historical city that Palmyra, Syria, right here pictured on march 4, 2017

Deir az Zor 

In 2014, ISIL recorded Deir az Zor, one oil-rich governorate situated in the eastern of the country bordering Iraq. The main city was taken by Syrian government forces with aid from the SDF in November 2017. It was ISIL’s last metropolitan stronghold in the war-torn country.

March 24, 2019, photograph shows smoke increasing behind damaged vehicles and also damaged structures in the town of Baghouz in Deir az Zor, a job after ISIL’s ‘caliphate’ was claimed defeated through the SDF


The district of Idlib ~ above Syria’s western border through Turkey is currently home to much more than three million people, the majority of whom are internally displaced. The FSA has controlled the area because the start of the civil unrest.

Slowly, rebel forces have lost manage to Assad’s forces. Because December 2019, the Syrian federal government has renewed its military operations come take over the last opposition stronghold, shelling Idlib’s countryside through the backing of Russian wait raids.


The human cost of war

With colossal damages to homes, schools, hospitals and also infrastructure, huge parts of Syria have actually been wrong by the fighting. US government sanctions and also a surging of COVID infections has actually made life even more challenging for war-weary families.

There is minimal shelter, fuel is scarce, and food prices are soaring.

According come the UN, Syria is “the worst synthetic disaster because World battle II”.

9.3 million Syrians space food-insecure, and also approximately 4.5 million kids are walking hungry in the country.

Syrians make up one-third of every the refugees roughly the world. According to the UNHCR, 80 percent that Syrian refugees live listed below the poverty line, with restricted access to an easy services, education or project opportunities.

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At the very least 5.5 million refugees space living in neighbouring countries Iraq, Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, and Egypt – and within Syria, 6 million people are within displaced.