The Syrian civil war,also commonly known as the Syrian uprising, 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 to over four decades of Ba'ath Party rule

In April 2011, the Syrian Army was deployed to quell the uprising, and soldiers were ordered to open fire on demonstrators. After months of military sieges,the protests evolved into an armed rebellion. Opposition forces, mainly composed of defected soldiers and civilian volunteers, became increasingly armed and organized as they unified into larger groups. However, the rebels remained fractured, without organized leadership. The Syrian government characterizes the insurgency as an uprising of "armed terrorist groups and foreign mercenaries".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, Arab States of the Persian Gulf, 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. The Arab League also sent an observer mission in December 2011, as part of its proposal for peaceful resolution of the crisis. A further attempt to resolve the crisis was made through the appointment of Kofi Annan as a special envoy. On 15 July 2012, the International Committee of the Red Cross assessed the Syrian conflict as a "non-international armed conflict" (the ICRC's legal term for civil war), thus applying international humanitarian law under the Geneva Conventions to Syria.

On 2 January 2013, the United Nations stated that the war's death toll had exceeded 60,000; on 12 February, this figure was updated to 70,000. According to various opposition activist groups, between 50,130 and 72,305 people have been killed,of which about half were civilians, but also including 31,170–32,960 armed combatants consisting of both the Syrian Army and rebel forces,up to 2,690 opposition protesters and 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 1.2 million Syrians have been displaced within the country.To escape the violence, as many as 1 million Syrian refugees have fled to neighboring countries.In addition, tens of thousands of protesters have been imprisoned and there were reports of widespread torture and psychological terror in state prisons.International organizations have accused both government and opposition forces of severe human rights violations.However, human rights groups report that the majority of abuses have been committed by the Syrian government's forces, and UN investigations have concluded that the government's abuses are the greatest in both gravity and scale.


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